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

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

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

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The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Swiney were encountered in the archives: 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 Swiney research. Another 386 words(28 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swiney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Swiney name:

Swiney Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Briant Swiney, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • Mary Swiney, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Swiney Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Mrs. Swiney, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1769

Swiney Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • George Swiney, aged 28, landed in Maine in 1812
  • Honora Swiney, aged 10, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Andrew Swiney, aged 14, landed in New York, NY in 1855
  • D. Swiney, aged 60, who settled in America from Londonderry, in 1892
  • Mrs. Swiney, aged 50, who settled in America from Londonderry, in 1892


Swiney Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Michael Swiney, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Castleconaell, Ireland, in 1908
  • James Swiney, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States from Mallow, Ireland, in 1908
  • John Swiney, aged 31, who landed in America from Cork, Ireland, in 1909
  • Daniel Swiney, aged 84, who emigrated to the United States, in 1910
  • Edward Swiney, aged 16, who emigrated to America from Fermoy, Ireland, in 1911


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  • Erwin Swiney (b. 1978), American former cornerback in the National Football League
  • Christopher Casey "C.C." Swiney (b. 1981), American writer, actor, and comedian
  • Thomas James Swiney (1875-1945), Australian politician
  • Rosa Frances Emily Swiney (1847-1922), lady of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, also a member of the British Raj in India


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  3. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  4. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  11. ...

The Swiney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Swiney 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 3 April 2014 at 19:23.

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