This very unusual surname, recorded in English Church Registers from the late 16th Century under the variant spellings Wishdish and Wisdize, is believed to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place thought to have been in the English Midlands because of the predominance of surname recordings from that region. The initial element of the placename is either the Olde English pre 7th Century "wisc", damp meadow, or "wice", wych elm, with "dic", ditch, moat, dike, wall of earth, embankment; hence, "moat in a damp meadow", or "embankment by wych elms". An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain mainly due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which over an eighth of the population perished, and as a result of the forced clearing of rural settlements to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade from the 15th Century onwards. On November 24th 1630, Thomas Wishdish and Isabel Smyth were married at Little Addington, Northamptonshire, and on April 6th 1645, John, son of Thomas Wisdish, was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Wisdishe, which was dated September 8th 1598, witness at the christening of his daughter, Ellen, at Morton, Derbyshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.