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W.I.S.E. Family History Society

Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England

If you or any of your ancestors came from the British Isles, you'll find many others with the same background among our membership. We love the genealogy as well as the culture of those four small but significant countries that have made a mighty contribution to America.

Our W.I.S.E. Family History Society Logo

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Welcome Message From Our President

Barb Price JPEGWelcome to the W.I.S.E. Family History Society Website. We are dedicated to understanding the history and culture of the British Isles – Wales, Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Scotland and England – combined with a heavy dollop of genealogy. We value the significant contributions those comparatively small countries have made to America, and take special pleasure in seeing how our ancestors were involved in the relentless tide of history in both the British Isles and America.

We are based in Denver, Colorado, and our membership extends over several states as well as to the British Isles. We conduct at least eight monthly program meetings each year, mixing education with presentations about our ancestral customs. Our other major events are our annual seminar on some phase of British Isles genealogy and a research trip each year to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Many more activities are listed on these pages.

We are friendly and high-spirited, and welcome everyone with an interest in family history and ancestry in the British Isles.

Allan Turner, president

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Mission Statement

The mission of the W.I.S.E. Family History Society is to promote interest and education in genealogy and family history as they pertain to the British Isles.

News Items

Updated: 01/08/2017

This section provides information on important changes and/or additions to the website or its content. Please ensure that you check it each time you visit.

  • The 2017 Annual WISE-FHS Research Trip to the Family History library in Salt Lake City, has been scheduled for the week of October 8-15, 2017. The Registration Form and additional details about the trip, are available now on our Activities page.
  • EXCITING NEWS: We are pleased to announce that we have now added a W.I.S.E. Words Newsletter Index for 2016, in addition to the previous index covering the years 1999 thru 2015, on our Membership page. The index is fully searchable using the Search option in your PDF document viewer.
  • Our WISE Words Newsletter for the fourth quarter of 2016 is now posted on our Membership page. To download the PDF version just click on the image of the cover. The WISE Words Newsletter for the first quarter of 2017, which is displayed on the page as a cover image, will be available for download in early April 2017.
  • A PDF version Members' Surnames of Interest (MSI) spreadsheet, which was updated on 02/08/2016, is posted on the Membership page. Also, an updated MSI Contact List, which you will need to contact members who have submitted surnames for inclusion in the spreadsheet, is posted on the Members Only page.
  • The most recent version of our Membership Roster, updated on 09/14/2016, is posted on the Members Only page and is available in both PDF and MS Excel format.

Our Society

W.I.S.E. was established in 1983 to motivate and assist family history researchers with ancestors who came from the British Isles, and to illuminate their culture and history.

W.I.S.E. is a not-for-profit society. Its members are interested in genealogy and family history and benefit from a social environment that encourages an atmosphere of shared knowledge.  Among its scheduled activities, it sponsors research seminars and trips, culturally based social events and outings, as well as providing volunteers to support activities at annual festivals.

Our membership includes many knowledgeable people who are enthusiastic about British and Irish research and history. They are willing to offer guidance to others in their pursuit of locating ancestors. We maintain a Members Interest database, where members can connect with others working on the same surnames. You might meet a cousin, or other relative.

W.I.S.E. does not maintain a store to sell merchandise, nor does it have office space. And, it does not offer professional genealogy lookup or research services.

W.I.S.E. officers and board members are all volunteers, whose compensation and motivation is derived from the knowledge that their efforts are contributing to the preservation of our family histories and heritage.

The Denver Public Library (DPL) Western History and Genealogy Department has supported W.I.S.E. since our founding. DPL provides our meeting space, specialized research materials and some professional research guidance. In turn, W.I.S.E. maintains a DPL resource fund to purchase books and periodicals for the library's genealogical collection.


Updated: 01/28/2017

The attached W.I.S.E. Family History Society Bylaws were ratified by a majority vote of our members present at our annual general meeting, on January 28, 2017. The bylaws can be downloaded as a PDF document by selecting the following link:

W.I.S.E. Family History Society Bylaws

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Our Heritage and Identity

Author: Allan Turner

Mary Jane Bootherstone with twins Alan and JoanA person's family, both past and present, provides the foundation on which that person's identity is built. Without that foundation, it's conceivable that a person's entire identity will never be truly revealed. In a modern family, one's identity is defined more by individual achievement, than by the genetic and societal influence of his or her ancestors.

In the 19th century family history research, of which genealogy is a component, was almost exclusively of interest to persons who had obtained their wealth or high social status by inheritance. Whereas, the less fortunate were more likely to suppress their family history as a result of embarrassment or shame.

Modern families, through changes in social values and beliefs, and economic necessity, bear little resemblance to families in the early to mid-19th century. No longer, do we maintain the strong family ties of old. No longer, do we enter every birth, marriage or death in the family Bible.  We are so busy being consumed by the pace of our daily lives that we rarely take a moment to look into the shadows of our past. Take the time to ask yourself,  “Who are those people in the faded brown photographs in that dusty old box in the attic, and how are they related to me?”

This is your opportunity to take a step towards capturing your family history before it fades into oblivion. You're invited to join us at one of our scheduled meetings or activities, to see what we have to offer as a family research society.  Together, we can help you discover your heritage and to recognize the contribution your ancestors made towards your identity and to the identity of our nation as a whole. (Posted: 01/27/2012)

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Flags of the British Isles and Ireland

The primary flags of the British Isles are represented in the left sidebar, with the exception of Northern Ireland. The fact is, Northern Ireland has not had its own unique flag since 1973. That flag had stirred up a lot of controversy, because it contained an image of the "Red Hand of Ulster." Thus, it was abolished when the government of Northern Ireland was suspended under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act of 1973.

The flag of the United Kingdom, the Union Jack, is currently the only official flag representing Northern Ireland. It is made from an amalgamation of the crosses of St. George (England), St. Andrew (Scotland) and St. Patrick (Ireland).

Link to Wikipedia's "List of British Flags."


W.I.S.E. Family History Society, Denver, Colorado Since 1983
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