The Isenberg family history and genealogy dated 1991, was researched and compiled by Lillian Isenberg Bahney of Meyerstown, Pa. It is a 1,000 page book that includes information gathered by my great-grandfather and her father, plus more than 30 years of her own research. I currently maintain and update an Isenberg database that includes nearly 3500 names. Excerpts of the book are published here with the permission of her family.
“An Updated History and Genealogical Record of the Isenberg Family”
by Lillian Isenberg Bahney
A coat of arms originally was a garment of light weight material worn over the armor to identify the knight, as the man covered with armor was unidentifiable. The heraldic bearings of the wearer were composed of the shield, the crest, and silken mantling. The crest was a small ornament, usually fashioned of metal, wood, or leather, which hung down the back to keep the heat of the sun off the back of the armor. This was kept in place by a wreath of twisted silk. The oldest son inherited his father’s coat of arms with his father’s sword and armor bearing.
The charge or symbol on the coat of arms has various meanings and origins. The lion, for example, is the most used of all armorial beasts. lion rampart on a coat of arms may mean descent from royalty, service to a king, or just plain bravery. A tower or castle might mean someone took one, defended one, or maybe just lived in one. The saltire or cross is a symbol of allegiance that may appear in different ways.
An Isenberg family in Archfeld, which is close to Markershausen where we believe our ancestors came from had a coat of arms. Their coat of arms goes back to Peter Eisenbart (in the church the names are also Eysenhart and Eisenbartt). Peter came from Markershausen, He married Gedruta in Archfeld and lived there until his death on August 18, 1616. He had a brother Jacob who stayed in Markershausen. Their father was Hans Eysenbardt. Jacob was the grandfather of Johannes Nicholas (Hans Claus), father of Enoch and Gabriel of Markershausen.
The Name Isenberg
(first paragraph taken from the 1900 book)
More than a generation ago the German language gave place to the English among the Isenbergs. Although such was the case, there is scarcely one who does not know that the family is of German origin. However, many of the present generation are doubtless unaware of the significance of the name they bear. Isenberg means mountain (berg) of iron (isen-eisen). As is the case of all names of German origin, it was given to or assumed by the family at or near the division of Germany at the time of the great migrations, A.D. 500. The name referred either to their character or to their place of abode. The Isenberg family either dwelt in the vicinity of a “mountain of iron” or were in character like a “mountain of iron”. “Isen”, iron, in German is now spelled “eisen”.
The first recorded records at that we have of the family in our country spell the name Eisenberg, and sometimes with an “er” added, Eisenberger. In tax records and census records the name, written mostly by Englishmen, has been found to be spelled in many different ways. The first name such as Gabriel or Enoch has been our way of knowing just who the individual was! The following ways of spelling the name have been found- Eisenberg, Eisenman, Isenman, Eisenberck, and Egbird.
By 1810 the family in Tennessee and Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania was using the spelling Isenberg. However, some branches of the family have continued to use the old spelling and some in our century have changed the name to Isenbarg and Ironman.