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

Where did the Irish Swaney family come from? What is the Irish Swaney family crest and coat of arms? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Swaney family history?

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Swaney is Mac Suibhne, which is derived from the word "suibhne," which means "pleasant."

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Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Swaney dating from that time include MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

First found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel. The name is derived from Suibhne O'Neill, who was a chieftain in Argyll, Scotland. His descendants migrated to Ireland as gallowglasses (mercenaries) prior to 1267. The three great septs of this name finally established themselves in Tirconnell in 14th century; they were known as MacSweeney Fanad, MacSweeney Banagh, and MacSweeney na dTuath, who were commonly referred to as 'MacSweeney of the Battleaxes.' They later became attached to the MacCarthys in the south and acquired their own territories and castles in Muskerry in County Cork.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swaney research. Another 386 words(28 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swaney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Swaney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Swaney or a variant listed above:

Swaney Settlers in the 17th Century


  • Eliz Swaney, who landed in Virginia in 1657

Swaney Settlers in the 18th Century


  • Edmond Swaney, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766

Swaney Settlers in the 19th Century


  • James Swaney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839
  • J F Swaney, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872

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  • Mark Swaney, American politician, Green Party of Arkansas State Coordinator
  • Marianne Swaney -Stueve, American Research Assistant Professor, Sensory and Consumer Research Center Manager at Kansas State University
  • Julianna Swaney, American artist and illustrator in Portland Oregon


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  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  11. ...

The Swaney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Swaney 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 11 December 2013 at 17:47.

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