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Eisenhart DNA Project

Analysis of Eisenhart & Related Surname DNA Project Results

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The recent results from FamilyTree DNA for members of our DNA project has significantly enhanced our understanding of the group of descendants within the “Eisenhart” surname who have roots that lie in and around the village of Dachtel, Württemberg, Germany. Based on these new results, we have again reformatted the spreadsheet to more clearly show the relationships between the various twigs of the “Dachtel” Eisenhart, Isenhart, and Eisenhardt families. On the spreadsheet, these project members are delineated as Group 1a, which includes project members #1—#12.

The genealogical background of Group 1a points to a common ancestor, Matthyss Ysenhart, born in Dachtel about 1500. He had three sons, Gall born in 1532, Hans born in 1533, and Jakob born in 1534. We now have project members who are direct descendants of all three of these sons. Project member #1 is the descendant of a “later immigrant” (1866) and is a descendant of Gall Ysenhart. Project member #2, who lives in Dachtel today, is a descendant of Hans Ysenhart. Group 1a members #3—#8, representing descendants of Immigrant Andreas Eisenhart II of the Lehigh Valley who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751, are descendants of Jakob Ysenhart.

We recently obtained 37 marker results for project member #12, who is a descendant of Immigrant Conrad Eisenhart who also arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751, but who settled in York Co. Project member #12 is a descendant of Conrad’s oldest son George. We were interested to learn that he also strongly shows Dachtel Eisenhart ancestry as evidenced by the exact match at 25 markers with other Group 1a project members. What was very surprising to us was that project member #12 was also a virtual exact match at all 37 markers with project members #9—#11 who are descendants of Immigrant George Eisenhart/Isenhart, the immigrant who joined Conrad Eisenhart in York Co. in 1759. Because of their closeness during Conrad’s lifetime, early researchers speculated that Conrad and George were brothers or half brothers. However, entries in the Dachtel church records showed no sign of Conrad, while there was evidence that “George” was Johann Georg Eisenhardt, born in Dachtel in 1736. This would mean that Immigrant George of York Co. and Immigrant Andreas II of “Lehigh” were 1st cousins. When analyzed, the recent DNA findings now refute that assumption, and in fact indicate that Immigrant George and Immigrant Conrad had a common ancestor born 300 years ago or less, making it most likely that they were brothers. The key to this conclusion lies in the linked mutations at CDYb and 442. The mutations are highlighted in yellow. While single mutations may occur randomly every 3-4 generations giving information about more recent generations of the family, they are not useful in connecting older generation family twigs. However, linked mutations connecting two different family twigs, especially when taken in conjunction with a common surname and proof of a close personal relationship during the lifetimes of the men in question, are highly significant.

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The current speculation is that Conrad and George may have been brothers in an “Eisenhart” family group that left Dachtel very early, probably before 1600. While there is absolutely no question that all the Group 1a project members had a common ancestor who lived about 500 years ago, at this time we cannot directly link #9—#12 to Matthyss Ysenhart. He may well have been their direct ancestor, but it could also have been a brother or an uncle to Matthyss. Further historical research in early German records is underway, as well as a total reexamination of the available information about immigrants Conrad and George.

The next thing to look at is the Haplogroup, shown in red and green on the spreadsheet. Group 1a men are all Haplogroup R1b1b2 (as are the project members in Groups 1b and 1c). The haplogroup represents the most remote “Stone Age” ancestry, probably dating back to survivors of the last Ice Age, and the R1b subgroup is associated with remote ancestry statistically traced to an area that is now located in southwestern Germany and northern France. We did SNP testing on project member #5 which further refines the haplogroup to R1b1b2a1a. It can most likely be inferred that if SNP testing were done on all the Group 1a members, they would all be R1b1b2a1a. This “refinement” is mainly of interest to anthropologists rather than to family genealogists, however, but it may indicate very remote ancestry in the area around Dachtel. We also did 67 marker upgrades on three of the Group 1a project members who are from different twigs of the family tree, and one can see that markers 38 through 67 are identical in all three men. This confirms that project members #1—#12 had a single common ancestor within the last 500-600 years; that is, that there are no “random” DNA matches included in this group.

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It should be noted that by document research project members #17 and #18 are descendants of Immigrant Conrad through his son Conrad Jr. Each man is the descendant of a different wife of Conrad Jr. These men do not match the Group 1a pattern either in haplogroup or marker pattern, and in fact they do not match each other. This strongly suggests that Conrad Jr. adopted both his sons, possibly to insure that he had a male heir.

As mentioned previously, project members #3—#8 are descendants of Andreas Eisenhart II who immigrated in 1751 and settled his family in the Lehigh Valley. Like all of the men in this group, new project member #3 shows a mutation at GATA H4, a mutation that Immigrant Andreas II brought with him to America and passed on to all his sons. The DNA evidence also shows that a mutation occurred at 570 in his oldest son Andreas III. This mutation is seen in all the project members who are descendants of Andreas III, but is not seen in project members #7 and #8 who are descendants of Andreas II’s youngest son George Simon AKA “Samuel.” Once again, the single mutations seen in various project members that occur in only one member of a family group tell us that these mutations occurred later in the descendant chain.

I would also like to point out that these mutations are beneficial for genealogy purposes and mean absolutely nothing in relation to hair color, build, medical issues, etc. The term “mutation” tends to have a negative connotation in general usage, but we have learned to value these Y chromosome mutations as a crucial research tool. Most of the alleles on the Y chromosome have no real role in heredity and are thus “silent” or “junk” DNA. Family Tree DNA has done an outstanding job of selecting markers to test (a small percentage of the thousands available on the Y chromosome), some of which are mutation prone. The combination of these “slow and fast movers” allows us to identify the remote ancestral links between family groups while also showing us how twigs on the family tree developed in more recent history. Without DNA, many family groups would never be able to understand how they fit into the overall clan structure since there are always questions that cannot be answered by document research alone.

Finally, we are still working to identify the origins of project members outside Group 1a. We do not as yet have enough comparison data for these other DNA project members to identify mutation patterns, which is why no yellow highlighting is seen in these groups. Project member #19 is the son of a female Eisenhart and is included as part of the family group for that reason. Anyone having information about Eisenharts Eisenhards, Eisenhardts, Isanharts or Isenharts unrelated to the “Dachtel Eisenharts”, or thought to be unrelated to them, or others of any surname spelling who have information to share or who might be interested in participating in the DNA project should let us know. Please see the Family Groups section on the website for more information about the history and kinship of the various families in the surname group. Thanks again to our project members and supporters without whom none of this would have been possible!

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Last Updated June 4, 2016