Some of the earliest records of this surname (pronounced EYE-sham) occurred in eleventh century England. There are two Isham families that settled in the Colonies, one in Massachusetts and one in Virginia. The families migrated from Northamptonshire in England, where there was a village called Isham, near the Ise River, which is possibly where the family name was derived. Adding the suffix “ham” which means “home” to “Ise” would result in the family name of Isham.
Both of the American Isham families have interesting histories. One married into a well-known Virginia political family, the Randolphs, whose descendants include Thomas Jefferson and Edith Bolling Wilson (Woodrow’s second wife), Chief Justice John Marshall and General Robert E. Lee.
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