Recorded in over one hundred spelling forms from Isaac, Eisik, Aizic, and Yitshak, to Ishaki, Istcovitz, Kissack, Izygson, Yiatrou and Yitzkovic, this is an ancient surname. Although of Hebrew origins, when created in the 12th century, this was not a Jewish surname, and was always Christian. This did not change until the16th century, although even then most Jewish examples were given a distinctive form. However spelt all the surnames do derive from the Hebrew male given name "Yitschak", a derivative of the word tsachak, meaning to laugh. This name was given to the son of Abraham and Sarah, and popular etymology connects the meaning with Sarah's laughter, and her joy at bearing a son in her old age. The Greek translators of the Old Testament changed Yitschak to Isaak; and later it was Romanised as Isaac. The European form of the personal name and the subsequent surname, was most associated with the famous Christian Crusades to the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was the practice for returning warriors from the Holy Land to call their children by biblical or hebrew names, and this is a good example. Early recordings of the name include in Germany, Isaak, the priest of Weibenstein in 1181, and later in England, Henry Isaac, of the city of Worcester, in the year 1275. A coat of arms was granted to the Isaac family of Devonshire in the reign of Henry 111 (1216 - 1272). It has the blazon of a blue field charged per pale azure and purple, with a gold cross flory. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Conrad Ysak. This was dated 1170, in the charters of Koln, Germany. Over the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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