Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > ISAAC

Origin and popularity of the name ISAAC

Origin

Isaac : Jewish English Welsh and French: from the Biblical Hebrew personal name Yishaq ‘he laughs’. This was the name of the son of Abraham (Genesis 21:3) by his wife Sarah. The traditional explanation of the name is that Abraham and Sarah laughed with joy at the birth of a son to them in their old age but a more plausible explanation is that the name originally meant ‘may God laugh’ i.e. ‘smile on him’. Like Abraham this name has always been immensely popular among Jews but was also widely used in medieval Europe among Christians. Hence it is the surname of many gentile families as well as Jews. In England and Wales it was one of the Old Testament names that were particularly popular among Nonconformists in the 17th–19th centuries which accounts for its frequency as a Welsh surname. (Welsh surnames were generally formed much later than English ones.) In eastern Europe the personal name in its various vernacular forms was popular in Orthodox (Russian Ukrainian and Bulgarian) Catholic (Polish) and Protestant (Czech) Churches. It was borne by a 5th-century father of the Armenian Church and by a Spanish martyr executed by the Moorish rulers of Cordoba in AD 851 on account of his tireless polemics against Islam. In North America the English form of the surname has absorbed cognates from other languages e.g. Assyrian/Chaldean Iskhaq or Ishak Hungarian Izsák and Slovenian Izak and also their patronymics e.g. Serbian Isakov. The name Isaac is also found among Christians in southern India but since South Indians traditionally do not have hereditary surnames the southern Indian name was in most cases registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. Compare Issac.

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Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 102,425 individuals with the name ISAAC on Geneanet.

 

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    This last name in the family trees

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    nougatine
    (1,153 individuals)
    ighislaine
    (943 individuals)
    rolandlavisse
    (900 individuals)
    famillesdu76
    (704 individuals)

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