The origins of the Wishart family tree database began with a chance encounter in 1974, when the late Jack Wishart (WIS0001) – an officer in the Royal Army Educational Corps, was posted to the Ministry of Defence in London and attended a diplomatic reception in Lancaster House. While chatting to a colleague, Major David Boobbyer, he inquired about his unusual name. Major Boobbyer replied that it was Cornish and there were few of them about. Jack said something similar about Wishart, and how the English can neither spell nor pronounce it properly – they say Wise Heart or WishART, whereas the Scots say WISHart. Major Boobbyer demurred, explaining that a neighbour of his was a Wishart and they both knew how to pronounce it correctly.
This chance remark by Major Boobbyer inspired Jack to write to the neighbour expressing an interest in where he came from and whether they were related. The neighbour turned out to be Scott Wishart (WIS0042), a retired pharmacist from Montrose in Scotland. He gave Jack his family tree, which had been compiled by a relative, and his brother’s address in Perth. So, on his next return to Scotland, Jack visited Scott’s brother David Wishart who readily volunteered more Wishart data.
Jack also quizzed his father about their forebears and began visiting New Register House, Edinburgh to search the statutory records of births, marriages and deaths for Scotland. Gradually he sketched out the details of his family. However, one name eluded him – his grandfather’s twin brother (and it took him until 2005 to find him)! Jack trawled wider and wider, collecting all the Wisharts he could find, and so the family database was started.
In 1976, Jack joined the Society of Genealogists in London and spent his lunch hours there, garnering more data on Wisharts (Jack asserts that working in the Empress State Building in Lillie Road was reason enough to lunch elsewhere). Initially he collated his data by drawing little trees and hanging names from branches, but this method quickly became impractical. As he had recently worked in in Army Intelligence at that time, he decided to employ hush-hush Intelligence procedures – he transferred his data to record cards, one card for every Wishart, and he now has over 21,000 cards. Therefore, if your name is Wishart, chances are you’ve a card in his file!
Each time he created a tree, Jack had to extract the cards relevant to the branch, lay them out in the right order, and then laboriously transcribe them to paper. This might seem clumsy and time-consuming in the computer age, but it was simple and allowed for missing branches to be slotted in easily as new data were submitted.
Postings to Cyprus, Edinburgh and the USA followed, and at every opportunity Jack garnered more Wishart data. When he had assembled a few thousand names he was able to exchange his data with others who had collected several generations. This added to his base, and Jack was soon corresponding with fellow Wishart enthusiasts throughout the world, amassing more cards with each new contact. Those who corresponded with Jack will doubtless recall his thorough, questioning approach, and many will be grateful for the extra details he has been able to add to their own family trees.
In 1995 Jack bought the Family Tree Maker program, and over the next two-decades produced more than 130 trees in electronic format. Sending a family tree to a fellow Wishart became so much simpler and more informative than it was when he used only record cards. After Jack’s sudden passing in 2015 the baton was passed over to another Scott Wishart (WIS006o) who had worked alongside Jack for many years on the family trees and had helped him create the popular Wishart Newsletters. The database now contains somewhere in the region of 26,000 Wisharts and following a major consolidation and restructuring of the trees in early 2019 there are currently 130 different genealogies.
Some variations on the name of Wishart are as follows:
UK, Rep. Ireland, Commonwealth, USA: Wishart, Wisheart, Wishert, Wishard, Wiseheart, Wisehart, Wiscard, Wissard, Wysard, Wysart, Wyscard, Wyschard, Wischeard, Wischert, Whichard, Wycharde, Wyscharde, Whisker, Wichard, Vicharde, Vizard
France: Guiscard, Guichard, Giscard
Benelux: Vis card
Italy: Guishard, Guiscardo
We believe the name is descended from Tancred de Hauteville La Guiscard of St. Lo (near Coutances in Normandy, France). See Wishart History for some more information. If Guiscard is written in script, it can easily be mistaken for Wiscard.
If you would like us to check your Wishart ancestry, download the Wishart Family Tree form, complete it offline and submit it by email. To download the form, click DOWNLOAD now.