Surname Saturday: Isham

IshamCrestSome 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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22 Comments

  1. Hi I’m so intrigued buy this because my last name is Isham I was adopted by another family but years later fond my birth father and my brothers,and cousins yet still know nothing about my family except that we are English and also have some Blackfoot Indian in Us I want to learn all I can about my family and to see which of the two I’m related to thank you for posting this it’s a lot of help and I finally know a little more about my family’s history.

    Thank you,
    Albert Wayne Isham jr.

    Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the article and found it informative …thanks for stopping by. If you need help researching your family, see the Services link on the blog for more information.

      Reply
  2. Hi Sharon, Is this the actual family crest?
    Margaret

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  3. I am a Isham descendant, through Anne Isham that married William Smith in 1726 or 1734. Anne you mention here could also be an ancestor, but I’ve yet to make the connection. What are your sources for Anne Isham Epps? Thanks in advance!

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    • I am unable to locate the original source. However, this book may be helpful — see pages 90-92 for information on Ann and Colonel Francis Eppes:
      “A survey of the Ishams in England and America; eight hundred and fifty years of history and genealogy” (https://archive.org/details/surveyofishamsin00brai). Thanks for stopping by!

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    • I am a descendant of the Anne Isham mentioned and she was married to Francis Eppes.

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  4. Thomas Jefferson was married to my 2nd cousin 17x removed Martha Wayles ,it is an interesting note that she suffered from Diabetes , almost every member of my family, cousins , Aunts , Uncles , Parents , and myself suffer from diabetes too ,I never realized how young she passed until this article and how grief stricken her husband was , this puts a very personal touch on such a public figure .
    Sincerely ,
    Celette Rae Waddell (My name is unusual but it is a area in France ,now I understand the meaning behind the name I have always hated)

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    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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    • Waddell is a name sometimes heard in the Richmond, VA area.

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  5. Thank you for the article! I’m doing some genealogical digging and seem to be stuck at John, my 9x great grandfather. I like the story though!

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  6. I’m wondering if you have any information about Henry Isham being the father of Elijah Isham (both of Roane County, TN). Our local historian found a court case over a lumber dispute that links Elijah Isham as the brother of Preston Isham.http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/isham/829/ But I’m still seeking the actual sources that link Henry to Elijah. It seems that most Ishams in the U.S. originate from the Barnstable, Mass John Isham. It seems the family moved to Colchester, Conn pre-Revolutionary War and were a part of the Connecticut minutemen.

    How fascinating would it be to link John Isham somehow to Capt. Henry Isham of Virginia. Finding that historical jewel would be priceless for Isham history. Where was John Isham from Virginia? We may never know until we get to heaven and hopefully see him and ask 🙂

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    • Does anyone have any information about Paul Benton Isham? Father of Russell A. Isham, Father of Paul J. Isham.

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      • I don’t know anything currently but you could sign up for a one month free trial with sites such as ancestry.com, fold3, and others. Your local court house historian might be able to help you as well.

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  7. John Smith was my third great grandfather. I believe his father was Moses Smith, who I believe was a son of William Isham Smith and Hannah Jackson. Do you by chance have any information that would confirm or debunk that working theory? Thank you.

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    • I don’t have any information on the Smith family but it’s quite likely they are somehow connected to the Isham family given William’s middle name.

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  8. I am a Descendant to Laura Virginia Isham 1863/1947 (2 great grandmother) married Henry Paul Gray1862/1930.. Any and all info would be great .. who is John Isham 1654/1713 father ? (m) Jane Parker.

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  9. I am a descendant of Wilbur Isham and Lydia (Jones) Isham. They were my great grandparents. Lydia was born on February 5, 1874 and died in 1972 at age 98.

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  10. Hi Sharon,
    I’m a descendant of John Isham. My father, Allan Burbeck Isham, grew up in Pembroke, Mass. My grandmother was a great genealogy buff, and passed on much of her research to my Father and my Uncle John. I remember the family crest that hung with family pictures: three silver wavy rays over a swan.

    Reply

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