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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: German, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Swann family come from? What is the Scottish Swann family crest and coat of arms? When did the Swann family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Swann family history?

The story of the Swann family stretches back through time to the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The name Swann was derived from the Old English personal name Swein, which was originally derived from the Old Norse name Sveinn. This was one of the most common Scandinavian names in medieval Britain.

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Spelling variations are extremely common among Scottish names dating from this era because the arts of spelling and translation were not yet standardized. Spelling was done by sound, and translation from Gaelic to English was generally quite careless. In different records, Swann has been spelled Swan, Swann, Swanner, Swani, Swayne, Swein, Sweing, Sweyn and many more.

First found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swann research. Another 405 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1100, 1214, 1250, 1499, 1521, 1585, 1690 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Swann History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 73 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swann Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Swann family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Those who made the voyage were greeted with ample opportunity to acquire land and a political climate far away from the oppressive monarchy of the old country. They settled along the east coast of what would become Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence, those who remained loyal to England traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In this century, many Scots living in North America have begun to recover their rich heritage through festivals, highland games, and Clan societies. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Swann:

Swann Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Jo Swann, aged 18, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Martha Swann, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Swann, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Ann Swann, who landed in Virginia in 1649
  • George Swann, who arrived in Virginia in 1652


Swann Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliza Swann, who arrived in Virginia in 1719

Swann Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William Swann, who arrived in New York, NY in 1813
  • Esther Swann, aged 20, landed in America in 1822
  • T F Swann, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1888

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  • Lynn Swann (b. 1952), former professional NFL football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Lynn Curtis Swann (b. 1952), American former NFL professional football player
  • Sir Anthony Swann, Minister for Defense and Security, Kenya
  • Sir Michael Swann, Chairman, BBC
  • Rev. Canon Sidney Swann, Canon of Bristol Cathedral
  • Donald Swann (1923-1994), British composer, musician and entertainer
  • Graeme Peter Swann (b. 1979), English international cricketer
  • Logan Swann (b. 1975), New Zealand former professional rugby league footballer
  • Willie Swann (b. 1977), Samoan-New Zealand rugby league footballer


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  • Richard Swann and Some of His Descendants by Frank H. Swan.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fidelitas
Motto Translation: Fidelity.

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  1. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Swann Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Swann Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 10 January 2014 at 21:37.

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