I have often been asked where the name of Isard comes from, the straight answer is I do not Know. Sarah Louise Carberry my grandmother always said it came from France and she may be right. There are a lot of Isard in France particularly near the Italian border. It is possible that they were persecuted as Huguenot . They then fled France and came to England.

In the Pyrneese there is goat type of animal called an IZARD and it could also come from this. One of the possible meanings of Isard could therefore mean sure-footed. Possible living in the lower area of the Alps they were good climbers. But all this is conjecture

There was a Bavarian Saint in the 7th century called Isnard and also an Italian monk in the 13th century with the same name.


There are three possible derivations of this name.

  1. English and French form of Germanic female personal name composed of Ts - Ice,
  2. Hild - battle or strife. This was introduced into England by the Normans in the form Iseult or Isolve. The popularity of the various version of the Ice Legend of Tristan & Isolde led to widespread use of Ice names during the middle ages
  3. French form Ishard - a Germanic male personnel name from Ts, as above - Ice and
  4. hard - hardy , strong
  5. Provenal nicknames for an agile and sure footed climber from old Provenal  Izar mountain goat ( apparently of pre Roman origin )


The main variants of the name are IZARD, IZZARD, ISARD. Other variants that have been found are ISEARD, ISNARD, ISSARD, ISZARD but these are very few and think some of these have only come about because of the way the name was spelt by vicars and in census returns.

Another possible variant i checked out was EZARD but decided this was a completely different name, if you are interested in this name then check Jill Cooke website out EZARD

It is certain that the name Isard only exist after about 1750, and before that was probably spelt with one Z or two. You must remember that the only people who could read and write around this time were the wealthy and the clergy, so when someone went to baptise a child the Vicar or assistant would ask the names and then enter it in the register and spell it the way he thought was right, hence the differences that occurred, it was quite often, for families to have all their entries in the registers spelt differently every time one was made

The most common spelling of the name is IZARD or IZZARD and this is still the case to day. If you check out the 1881 British Census you will find  895 IZZARD, 251 IZARD and only 119 ISARD.

Prior to 1750 those of my ancestors with this name spelt it in many different ways. After this date they seem to have settled on the ISARD version of the name. Although there are a few instances of where the IZARD version has been used.