John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509, in Noyon, Picardy, France. His father, Gérard Cauvin, was the apostolic secretary to the Bishop of Noyon and also the proctor in the Chapter of the diocese and the fiscal procurator of the county. His mother, Jeanne Le Franc, was noted for her beauty and piety. John was their second surviving son.
His elder brother was Charles and younger, Antoine. His father wanted all of them to join the church and brought them up accordingly. Calvin’s mother died four or five years after his birth. Shortly after that, his father remarried and he was sent to live with the Montmors, an influential family in the neighborhood. Calvin had two half-sisters through his father's second marriage.
The family name was spelled several ways, but John showed preference while still a young man for "Calvin." An ecclesiastical career was chosen for him, and at the age of 12, through his father's influence, he received a small benefice, a chaplaincy in the Cathedral of Noyon.