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Ancestral History

One of the earliest known recorded references to an individual with the Eisenhart surname was Eisenhard, authorized agent for Count Gerold of Nagold, the brother-in-law of Charlemagne (Karl der Große). Eisenhard was listed in the medieval Lorsch Monasterymanuscripts as having made donations to the Lorsch monastery in Waldoch in 775 AD. Geographically, it is possible that there was a link between this man and the Ysenhart family that appeared in Dachtel records in the 1400s. However, there are also other sources that suggest that a family with this name lived in Bavaria in the 600s and were considered to be members of the nobility. Over several generations they apparently made so many donations to the Church that they eventually found themselves in financial ruin and lost their estate. Whether the family dispersed or died out is not yet known. As noted in the Surname Issues section, fixed familial surnames did not typically appear in German areas before the 1400s, so it is impossible to know if these individuals were the forebears of later Ysenhart, Eisenhart, and Eisenhardt families. In addition, because surviving records from before 1400 are so scarce, proving the ancestry of the “ancient” Eisenharts with document research is an extremely challenging undertaking.

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In the 2nd Millennium, Ysenhart males first appeared in theOld Dachtel, Germany Dachtel area in the last half of the 1400s. A Matthyss Ysenhart and a Conrad Ysenhart appeared on a list of property owners in 1471, and a Veit Ysenhart baptized children in Dachtel in the early 1500s. It can be presumed that these men were somehow related, but we do not have proof of their exact genetic relationship. The first Ysenhart/Eisenhart man whose descendants can be traced to the present time was Matthyss Ysenhart, who was born in Dachtel about 1500. He Karl Eisenhardtand his wife, a Miss Bock, baptized three sons, Gall in 1532, Hans in 1533, and Jakob in 1534. Document research and Y chromosome DNA testing has proved that the majority of the Eisenharts, Eisenhards, Eisenhardts, and Isenharts living in North America today, as well as German Eisenhardts currently living in the region, are descendants of Matthyss Ysenhart and his three sons. One goal of the DNA project and current research is to discover whether Eisenhardt families living outside the Dachtel/Deckenpfronn area, but still within Baden-Württemberg, show a similar genetic link.

There were, however, other Eisenhardt and Eisenhart families living in German states other thaEisenhart Crestn Württemberg. A family of Prussian von Eisenharts, who were members of the Prussian nobility and military hierarchy, had an estate outside of Berlin. One source claims that this family had their roots in Bohemia, and it is not clear what if any connection they had to the Eisenhardts of Dachtel. In addition, there were Eisenhardt and Eisenhart families living in Thuringia, Hesse, and other states as well.


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Last Updated June 4, 2016