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

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The surname McSweeney was 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.

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the McSweeney family name include MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McSweeney research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1299 and 1310 are included under the topic Early McSweeney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Prominent amongst the family at this time was John MacSween, a 13th-14th century nobleman who lost his lands in Scotland after the defeat of the forces and death of Alexander Og MacDonald, Lord of Islay in 1299. In...

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McSweeney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North Ameri ca. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name McSweeney:

McSweeney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph McSweeney, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906
  • Dennis McSweeney, who arrived in New York in 1862
  • David McSweeney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876
  • Anastatia, Catherine, Daniel, Edward, and John McSweeney, who all arrived in Boston between 1840 and 1880
  • Bdgt McSweeney, aged 27, who settled in America from Carrick on Shannon, in 1899

McSweeney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • And. J. McSweeney, aged 11, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1901
  • Barth McSweeney, aged 36, who emigrated to the United States from Dunmanway, in 1903
  • Bridgit McSweeney, aged 28, who emigrated to America from Cork, in 1906
  • Abina McSweeney, aged 24, who landed in America from Kilgowan, in 1906
  • Annie McSweeney, aged 19, who settled in America from Midleton, Ireland, in 1909
  • ...

McSweeney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Ellen McSweeney, aged 18, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"
  • Ellen McSweeney, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • Hannah McSweeney, aged 20, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"

McSweeney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Denis McSweeney, aged 40, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Margaret McSweeney, aged 19, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878
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  • Leah McSweeney (b. 1982), American founder and CEO of the female "Married to the MOB" (MTTM) clothing line
  • Paul A. McSweeney (1867-1951), American professional baseball player
  • Joyelle McSweeney (b. 1976), American poet, critic, and professor
  • Miles Benjamin McSweeney (1855-1909), American politician, 87th Governor of South Carolina
  • John McSweeney (1890-1969), U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Margaret McSweeney, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 2008
  • John Morgan McSweeney (1916-1979), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, 1967-70
  • John McSweeney (1890-1969), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Ohio, 1923-29, 1937-39, 1949-51; Defeated, 1920, 1938, 1950; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio, 1940
  • Edward F. McSweeney, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1924
  • Catherine McSweeney, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1924, 1928
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
    2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    4. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
    5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
    9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    10. 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).
    11. ...

    The McSweeney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McSweeney 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 14 January 2016 at 09:08.

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