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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German


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.

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The surname Wise was 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.

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.


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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.

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

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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.

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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 United States 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 United States 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 United States 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
  • David Wise, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1837
  • Sebastian Wise, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • William Wise, who landed in Mississippi in 1840


Wise Settlers in United States 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
  • Agnes Wise, aged 30, who arrived in America from Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1907


Wise Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Bridget Flood Wise, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1842

Wise Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Henry Wise, English convict from Buckinghamshire, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • 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
  • William Wise arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1837


Wise Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Richard Wise landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Alfred Wise arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Emily Wise arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Henry Wise arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Julia Wise arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856


Wise Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century


  • Catherine Wise, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

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  • Richard Charles "Rick" Wise (b. 1945), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Raymond Herbert "Ray" Wise (b. 1947), American Screen Actors Guild Award nominated actor, probably best known for his role as the villan Leon C. Nash in RoboCop
  • Matthew John "Matt" Wise (b. 1975), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Josh Wise (b. 1983), American stock car driver
  • John Sergeant Wise (1846-1913), American author and politician in Virginia
  • John Wise (1808-1879), American balloonist who made over 400 flights during his lifetime, his balloon The Jupiter made the first official airmail delivery run for the US Post Office in 1859
  • Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876), United States Congressman, 33rd Governor of Virginia (1856-1860), general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, US minister to Brazil (18431847)
  • Glenn Miller Wise (1896-1991), American secretary, statistician, and politician, Wisconsin's first female Secretary of State (1955 to 1957)
  • George Douglas Wise (1816-1881), American Union brevet brigadier general during the period of the American Civil War
  • George Douglas Wise (1831-1908), U.S. Representative from Virginia, delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1901

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  • 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.
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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. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. 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 30 March 2016 at 04:56.

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