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

Early Origins of the McSweeney family

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.

Early History of the McSweeney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McSweeney research. Another 69 words (5 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.

McSweeney Spelling Variations

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.

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


United States McSweeney 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 McSweeney:

McSweeney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph McSweeney, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906 [1]
  • Dennis McSweeney, who arrived in New York in 1862 [1]
  • David McSweeney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [1]
  • Anastatia, Catherine, Daniel, Edward, and John McSweeney, who all, who 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 immigrated to the United States from Dunmanway, in 1903
  • Bridgit McSweeney, aged 28, who immigrated 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
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McSweeney migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McSweeney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward McSweeney who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Rose" departing 19th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 1st July 1847 but he died on board [2]

Australia McSweeney migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McSweeney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ellen McSweeney, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"
  • Ellen McSweeney, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • Hannah McSweeney, aged 20, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"

New Zealand McSweeney 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:

McSweeney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Mcsweeney, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th April 1863 [3]
  • Miss McSweeney, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Hydaspes" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 28th October 1868 [3]
  • Denis McSweeney, aged 40, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Margaret McSweeney, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name McSweeney (post 1700) +

  • 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 [4]
  • John Morgan McSweeney (1916-1979), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, 1967-70 [4]
  • 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 [4]
  • Edward F. McSweeney, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1924 [4]
  • Catherine McSweeney, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1924, 1928 [4]
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 89)
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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