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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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 Curtis Swann (b. 1952), American former NFL professional football player
  • John Swann (1760-1793), American politician, Delegate to Continental Congress from North Carolina, 1788
  • Jack Karnes Swann, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 2008
  • J. J. Swann, American politician, Member of Texas State Senate 11th District, 1901-02
  • Howard J. Swann, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1952
  • Howard G. Swann, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Texas, 1956
  • Edward Swann (1862-1945), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from New York 10th District, 1902-03; New York County District Attorney, 1916-21; Candidate for Justice of New York Supreme Court 1st District, 1920
  • Douglas Swann, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Howell, Michigan, 1987
  • Claude V. Swann (b. 1887), American Democrat politician, Plumber; Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Cabell County, 1937-40, 1945-46; Mayor of Huntington, West Virginia, 1940-42
  • Claude E. Swann, American Democrat politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Mason County, 1964

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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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  3. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  4. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  7. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  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 8 December 2015 at 10:17.

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