McSwan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the McSwan family

The surname McSwan 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.

Important Dates for the McSwan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McSwan research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1299 and 1310 are included under the topic Early McSwan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McSwan Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name McSwan include MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

Early Notables of the McSwan family (pre 1700)

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 McSwan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McSwan migration to the United States

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 America. 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 McSwan:

McSwan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary McSwan, aged 20, who arrived in America, in 1893
  • Grace McSwan, aged 21, who arrived in America, in 1897
McSwan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John McSwan, aged 60, who arrived in America from Glasgow, in 1905
  • Norman McSwan, aged 4, who arrived in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1906
  • Kenneth McSwan, aged 50, who arrived in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1906
  • John McSwan, aged 30, who arrived in America from Hamilton, Scotland, in 1910
  • Peter McSwan, aged 29, who arrived in America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

McSwan migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McSwan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. A. McSwan, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 9th February 1858 [1]
  • Mrs. McSwan, Scottish settler with 2 children travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 9th February 1858 [1]
  • Mr. William McSwan, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1859 [1]
  • Mr McSwan, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1859 [1]

Citations

  1. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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