Perhaps not surprisingly, there are a number of alternative spellings of this unusual name, including the Scottish "Wishart". However spelt, the name has nothing to do with "Whiskers" it is not in anyway a nickname, but is of Norse-Viking habitational origins, a now "lost" place of Wiscar (also spelt Wisgar) being recorded in Suffolk in the 1086 Domesday Book. The origination of the placename is an early compound personal name, comprised of the elements "Wiskr" meaning "Wise" and "hard" - Brave. The name recordings include Wyschardus Ledet of Kent (c. 1270), John Wyskarde who married at Christchurch, London (1571), Mary Wiskard (1639, Southwark, London) and William Whisker (1691, St. Botolphs, London). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Wiscard, which was dated 1273, The County Pipe Rolls of Shropshire, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1306. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.