Iman family notes

(A great deal of information needs to be incorporated into the web site at this juncture to share the rich story of Ulrich Eyman and with wife, Maria Agatha Essig and their descendants.)


Conestoga Eymans

The descendants of Ulrich Eyman and his second wife, Maria Agatha Essig.

Paxtang Eymans

Jacob and other Eymans of Upper Paxtang

Eymans in PA taxes and census - an attempt at an inclusive list of early Eyman sitings.

Pennsylvania Timeline - factoids from 1749 to 1800

Pennsylvania Dutch

Like so many German immigrants, the Eyman settled in Philadelphia for a period and then sought out their futures in other parts of Pennsylvania. The earliest Eyman immigrants included two. A Jakob Eiman <1725> arrived first to Philadelphia in 1749 on the St. Andrews and was noted in Philadelphia township and county tax rolls of that year. He was a young man at the time of his arrival. Though some believe he brought a wife with him, others believe that he married after having arrived. We believe he probably lived in what was then called Chester County for a while, but he seems to have migrated to Upper Paxtang -- and outlying area up the Susquehanna River. His descendants seem to have migrated to Hampshire/Hardy County of Virginia.

Nearly fifteen years later, in 1764, Jacob's uncle Ulrich Eyman and his family arrived in Pennsylvania on the Hero, and was soon followed by his son Chrisitian. Though we have no specific information as yet about how or when Christian arrive in America, we do know that Ulrich had died within a year or so, and that in the settlement of the estate, the eldest son Christian played a role. Several other Eymans migrated to America later in the 1780's, but these two "founding" Eymans are the focus of much Eyman genealogy. Ulrich's descendants either stayed in the Conestoga area or migrated to Rockingham Virginia, though almost all Eymans from both places subsequently headed to Ohio.

In trying to learn more about our ancestors we run into many problems. Imans are lucky to have a name which is used rather infrequently. Imagine going through thousands of deed entries or unordered tax listings for a Smith'-) On the other hand, Eyman names have varied dramatically and one often isn't sure when records are "ours". At least parts of our family was Mennonite -- these were people who distrusted institutional churches and kept records in books at home. Furthermore, as anabaptists they didn't believe in baptizing children as passive and uninformed objects -- only adult believers took part in ceremonies. In fact Mennonites tended to avoid entanglements with the state of any kind, including staying out of politics, the military, and away from courts. So records can be hard to find! Some parts of our family were not strict Mennonites, but participated in the First Reformed Church, where congregations often teamed with Lutheran groups to share meeting places.

There are several areas of serious confusion in Eyman genealogy for the colonial period. We are not sure who else might have arrived with Jacob and Ulrich, and accounts vary. In almost every Eyman family there was a Christian and a Jacob, and so some figures in family history become quite shadowy and indistinct. We believe that people often mix up the descendants of Ulrich Eyman of Conestoga and his earlier arriving newphew Jacob of Upper Paxtang.

One of the most confusing Eymans to "place" in the history of the family is one of our most colorful ancestors, Abraham Eyman of Illinois. A blacksmith and carpenter, Abraham was a frontiersman of multiple skills and was elected by his neighbors to represent their interest in territorial discussions about statehood, serving again as an elected Whig representative in Illinois state government. A number of questions could be resolved if we could find data to clarify the many confusing versions of his parentage and origin.

One of the most distinguished genealogists who have studied the family, Emmert Bittinger, a professor of sociology and the history of the Brethren Church believes that a third Eyman arrived in America in 1750 mistakenly described in the ship manifest as Christian Eyerman. So far we're tending to discount this theory for lack of confirming evidence, though one can find supportive particulars.

For now, it seems best to organize this site to tell stories about the two main early branches of the family as we see it.. the "Conestoga Eymans" and the "Paxtang Eymans".

The Eymans settled in Pennsylvania before the birth of our nation. We don't know yet all of the lands they visited as they moved around to find a better life, and we're currently exploring Cumberland as a region where there were at least some very early land holdings and sales. Some early Eymans were Mennonites, like many of the Eyman immigrants after 1800. Some Eymans, on the other hand were more church-oriented and "Reformed". The Paxtang branch may have leaned toward more "German Baptist" beliefs; their descendants down the line are often described as "dunkers".

Eymans were busy people.Some were farmers, some were patriots. There were blacksmiths and carpenters, gun-makers and mill operators (saw mills and grist mills for corn and wheat).

As the 1800s were rolling around, Imans and Eymans were on the paths of migration into the new territories of Illinois and Ohio, and from there on to Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, the Pacific Northwest and California. Though a pacifist people, Imans seem to have helped to fight in the wars of their times. Some were compatriots of Danniel Boone, one was shot by Jesse James.

We hope to learn more about these Imans and would love your help in filling these pages with links and information.