Whisenant History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The origins of the Anglo-Saxon name Whisenant come from its first bearer, who was a wise or learned person  , having derived from the Old English word wis, meaning wise or knowledgeable. 
Early Origins of the Whisenant family
The surname Whisenant 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." 
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." 
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. 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Elias le Wyse, Oxfordshire; and Henry le Wyse, Huntingdonshire. 
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." 
Early History of the Whisenant family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whisenant 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 Whisenant History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Whisenant Spelling Variations
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.
Early Notables of the Whisenant 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.'...
In the United States, the name Whisenant is the 7,864th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 
Migration of the Whisenant family to Ireland
Some of the Whisenant family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
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:
Whisenant Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
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.