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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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 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 United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliza Swann, who arrived in Virginia in 1719

Swann Settlers in 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

Swann Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Swann, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia
  • Thomas Swann, aged 52, a shepherd, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"
  • Frederick Swann, aged 26, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"
  • James Swann, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"
  • John Swann, aged 14, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"


Swann Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Frances Swann, aged 18, a sempstress, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" in 1841
  • Elizabeth Swann arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875

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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. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  2. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  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 15 December 2014 at 21:34.

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