McSweane 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 McSweane is Mac Suibhne, which is derived from the word "suibhne," which means "pleasant."

Early Origins of the McSweane family

The surname McSweane 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 McSweane family

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

McSweane Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of the surname McSweane can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

Early Notables of the McSweane 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 McSweane Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McSweane family

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 McSweane name: Adam Sweeney, who settled in New York, NY in 1805; Alexander Sweeney, who came to Boston in 1768; Biddy Sweeney, who arrived in St. John, N.B. aboard the Brig Ambassador in 1834.

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