Was History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Was is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was name for a wise or learned person [1] [2], having derived from the Old English word wis, meaning wise or knowledgeable. [3]

Early Origins of the Was family

The surname Was 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. "The ancient knightly family of Wise of Mount Wise in Stoke Damerel (Devonport) was one of the oldest families in the west of England: one of this family was High Sheriff of Devonshire in 1612." [4]

Another source confirms this history but in more detail. Sir Thomas Wise (c. 1576-1630), "signalized his ownership by building a stately mansion on the craggy headland opposite the domain of the Edgcumbes, and calling it, with that imitation which is the sincerest flattery, ' Mount Wise.' All but the name has long passed into oblivion, and cannon frown and soldiers dwell where the manor-house once stood." [5]

Johann se Wisa was listed as an 11th century Old English Byname and Ædwin Wise was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1176. Later Roger le Wis was found in the Pipe Rolls for Sussex in 1203. [6]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Elias le Wyse, Oxfordshire; and Henry le Wyse, Huntingdonshire. [3]

Up north in Scotland, "William Wys was a canon of Moray in 1358, Thomas Wyse, canon of Caithness, 1381, and Robertas Wys was canon of the church of Aberdeen in 1386, 1391. Johannes Wyss on inquest in Stravelyn, 1411." [7]

Early History of the Was family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Was research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1645, 1511, 1522, 1603, 1648, 1687, 1668, 1676, 1695, 1767, 1719, 1729, 1653, 1738, 1646, 1687 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Was History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Was Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Was have been found, including Wise, Wyse and others.

Early Notables of the Was family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Michael Wise (1648-1687), an English organist and composer, Organist and Choirmaster at Salisbury Cathedral (1668), Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (1676.) Francis Wise (1695-1767), was an English archaeologist, born in the parish of All Saints, Oxford, son of Francis Wise, mercer, of Oxford. "In December 1719 he was appointed under-keeper of the Bodleian Library, and about this time he collated a manuscript in the Laud collection for the 1729 edition of Plutarch's 'Lives.'...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Was Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Was family to Ireland

Some of the Was family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Was migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become powerful new nations. Among early immigrants of the Was surname to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were:

Was Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Was, who landed in Virginia in 1633 [8]
Was Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johannes Was, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1752 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Was (post 1700) +

  • Bibi Ballandi was (1946-2018), Italian television producer from Baricella, Italy

The Was Motto +

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. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)

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