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

Where did the English Whisenant family come from? What is the English Whisenant family crest and coat of arms? When did the Whisenant family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Whisenant family history?

The origins of the Anglo-Saxon name Whisenant come from its first bearer, who was a wise or learned person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word wis, meaning wise or knowledgable.

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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Whisenant has been spelled many different ways, including 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.


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

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

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Some of the Whisenant 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.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Whisenants to arrive in North America: Humphrey Wise settled in Massachusetts in 1620; Hanna Wise settled in Virginia in 1655; Christopher Wise settled in Barbados in 1680; Will Wise settled in Georgia in 1755.

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  • Matthew Michael Whisenant (b. 1971), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Thomas Peter "Pete" Whisenant (1929-1996), American Major League Baseball outfielder and coach
  • Edgar C. Whisenant (1932-2001), American NASA engineer and Biblical author who predicted the Christian Rapture would occur in 1988


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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.

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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. 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.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Whisenant Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Whisenant 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 6 May 2013 at 16:22.

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