The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burke's General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. This surname of WHISTLER is an English occupational name for a player on a pipe or flute, derived from the Old English word HWISTLE. It may also have been applied as a nickname for someone noted for his habit of whistling cheerfully. It is also spelt WISSLER and WISLER. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was John Rex WHISTLER (1905-44) the British artist. He studied at London and excelled in the rendering of 18th century life, ornament and architecture, particularly in book illustration, mural and designs for the theatre and ballet. Fine examples of his work, including a large mural, are preserved at Plas Newdd, Anglesey, Gwynedd. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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