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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Wise family come from? What is the English Wise family crest and coat of arms? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Wise family history?

The name Wise is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Wise was a name used for a wise or learned person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word wis, meaning wise or knowledgable.


Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Wise include Wise, Wyse and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat anciently as Lords of the manor of Greston, at the time of the Conquest in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wise research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1648, 1687, 1668 and 1676 are included under the topic Early Wise History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 53 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wise Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Wise family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 115 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Wise were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Wise Settlers in the 17th Century

  • Humphrey Wise settled in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Thomas Wise, who arrived in Virginia in 1634
  • Nicholas Wise, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Joseph Wise, who arrived in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1643
  • John Wise, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1652

Wise Settlers in the 18th Century

  • Charles Wise, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Peter Wise, who arrived in Virginia in 1718
  • Jacob Wise arrived in Philadelphia in 1729
  • Andreas Wise, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Andrews Wise, aged 22, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732

Wise Settlers in the 19th Century

  • Johan F Wise, aged 36, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Christian Wise, aged 28, arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823
  • John Wise, a tanner, arrived in New South Wales sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • William Wise arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • William Wise, aged 21, a locksmith, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836

Wise Settlers in the 20th Century

  • Dorris S. Wise, who arrived in America, in 1903
  • Adele S. Wise, aged 9, who arrived in America, in 1905
  • David Wise, aged 27, who arrived in America from Johannesburg, in 1906
  • Czer Wise, aged 25, who arrived in America from Kobrin, Russia, in 1907
  • Charles Wise, aged 42, who arrived in America from Burningham, England, in 1907


  • Thoams James Wise (1859-1937), English bibliophile and literary forger
  • Dennis Frank Wise (b. 1966), English former football manager and player, former Executive Director at Newcastle United
  • Professor Michael John Wise CBE, MC (b. 1918), English Emeritus Professor of Geography, University of London
  • Audrey Wise (1935-2000), British Labour Party politician
  • Ernie Wise OBE (1925-1999), British comedian, best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise
  • Mark Brian Wise (b. 1953), Canadian-born, American theoretical physicist, science consultant for the film Iron Man 2
  • Robert Earl Wise (1914-2005), American four-time Academy Award winning sound effects editor, film editor, film producer and director, president of the Directors Guild of America from 1971 to 1975
  • Staff Sergeant Homer L Wise (1917-1974), American soldier, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Robert Ellsworth "Bob" Wise Jr. (1948-2001), American politician, 33rd Governor of West Virginia (2001 to 2005)
  • Brownie Wise (1913-1992), American saleswoman who was instrumental in the success of Tupperware through her development of the "party plan" marketing system



  • History of the Wise and Wyse Families of South Carolina by Sybil Harmon.
  • Looking Back: A Family History and Genealogy of and by Hazel Wise Huffman by Hazel Wise Huffman.
  • The Wise Family Chronicles by Ronnie W. Wise.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sapere aude
Motto Translation: Dare to be wise.



  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Wise Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wise Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 24 August 2014 at 20:33.

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