Seward History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Seward name is an important part of the history of the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Seward is derived from the baptismal name Siward, which was an Old English personal name. Accordingly, there are numerous early listings of the name as a personal name. [1]

Siward (died 1048), was Bishop and Coadjutor-Archbishop, a monk of Glastonbury, and succeeded Aehelwine as Abott of Abingdon probably in 1030.

Siward, Earl of Northumberland (d. 1055), called Digera or 'The Strong', was a Dane, and "is said to have been the son of a Danish Jarl (chief) named Biorn. According to legend he was descended from a white bear and a lady. Fitting out a ship, he is said to have sailed to Orkney, where he overcame a dragon, went thence to Northumbria, and, in obedience to a supernatural command, to London, where he entered the service of King Edward the Confessor. " [2]

Siward (died 1075) was Bishop of Rochester, Abbot of Chertsey in Surrey, and was consecrated Bshop of Rochester by Archbishop Stigand in 1058. [2]

Another source claims the name was an occupational name as in "high admiral, who kept the sea against pirates, from sea, and ward, a keeper." [3]

Early Origins of the Seward family

The surname Seward was first found in Essex where the family probably originated in Sewardstone, a hamlet, in the parish of Waltham-Abbey, union of Edmonton, hundred of Waltham. [4] Alternatively, the name could have originated in Sewardesley, in Northamptonshire. Little remains of this latter location other than Sewardsley Priory, which was a Priory occupied by Cistercian nuns and was located in Showsley near Towcester. [1]

"Two Siwards were of considerable note at the Conquest, one in Shropshire, the other in Cheshire." [5]

"Siward, surnamed Grossus, is more than once mentioned in Domesday, and was 'a great assistant to Earl Roger in the foundation of Salop Abbey.' According to Ordericus, he was a kinsman of the Earl's, and probably of Danish blood : " the name Siward is Danish rather than Saxon, and Earl Roger's great-grandmother was a Dane." He was consequently suffered to retain the manors in Shropshire that he had held under the Confessor, and bequeathed them to his son Aldred." [5]

"The other Siward was one of the 'Barones et Homines' enumerated by Hugh Lupus in his charter to Chester Abbey, and the ancestor of the Lancelyns, seated at Poulton-Lancelyn in that county till the reign of Henry VIII. A Seward was among the twelve knights who, under William Rufus, went with Robert Fitz-Hamon to the conquest of Glamorgan, and formed the " Douze Peres" between whom he divided his newly-won territory. The Devonshire family of Seward of Stokeinteignhead probably derived from him: and Banks believes him to have been also the progenitor of the Sywards of Winterborn-Clinston, in Dorsetshire." [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had some of the first listings of the name. There was a mixture of both personal names and surnames there including: "Sygwat Kat'bode in Norfolk; Syward and Sywardus (without surnames) in Oxfordshire; Thomas Swyat in Suffolk; and Richard Swyard in Buckinghamshire." [1]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Hugo Syward and Johanna Swyard.

And further north in Scotland, Richard Suwart (Siward) "was a Scottish knight, [who was] married to a sister of Simon Fresel, who, having more than once shifted his allegiance, was at that time serving in the English army. Edward II. appointed him Constable of Dumfries in 1309, and he is supposed to have died in the following year." [5]

Early History of the Seward family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Seward research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1053, 1236, 1248, 1641, 1658, 1701, 1657 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Seward History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seward Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Seward were recorded, including Seward, Sewerd, Saward and others.

Early Notables of the Seward family (pre 1700)

Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seward Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seward Ranking

In the United States, the name Seward is the 2,708th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Seward family to Ireland

Some of the Seward family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Seward migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Seward family emigrate to North America:

Seward Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Seward, who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Edward Seward, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1637 [7]
  • Robert Seward, who arrived in Portsmouth, NH in 1649 [7]
  • James Seward, who settled in Virginia in1655
  • Cha Seward, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Seward Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Seward, who arrived in New England in 1704 [7]
  • William Seward, who landed in Georgia in 1740 [7]
Seward Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Seward, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • P Seward, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • Richard Seward, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1866 [7]

Canada Seward migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Seward Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Seward, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
Seward Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Seward, who landed in Canada in 1828

Australia Seward migration to Australia +

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

Seward Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Seward, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Florentia" [8]
  • Charles Seward, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849 [8]
  • William Seward, aged 24, a shepherd, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "China" [9]
  • George Seward, aged 18, a shepherd, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "China" [9]
  • Mary A. Seward, aged 17, a laundress, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" [10]

West Indies Seward migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Seward Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Willm Seward, (b. 1608), aged 26, British settler travelling from London, UK arriving in St Christopher (St. Kitts) on 5th January 1634 [7]
  • William Seward, who settled in Barbados in 1654 and later moved to the mainland
  • Martin Seward, who arrived in Barbados in 1690

Contemporary Notables of the name Seward (post 1700) +

  • William H Seward Sr. (1801-1872), American politician, Governor of New York and United States Secretary of State
  • Alec Seward (1902-1972), American country blues singer, guitarist and songwriter
  • Edward William Seward (1867-1947), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • William Seward (1747-1799), English man of letters, the only son of William Seward, partner in the firm of Calvert & Seward, then the chief brewers of beer in London
  • Thomas Seward (1708-1790), English divine, Canon of Lichfield and of Salisbury, son of John Seward of Badsey, Worcestershire
  • Anna Seward (1747-1809), English authoress, known as the ‘Swan of Lichfield,’ born at Eyam, Derbyshire, the elder daughter of Thomas Seward
  • Gary Seward (b. 1961), English former professional footballer
  • William Wenman Seward (b. 1800), Irish writer on Irish politics and topography, published at Dublin
  • Albert Charles Seward (1863-1941), British botanist and geologist, winner of the 1934 Darwin Medal
  • Clarence Seward Darrow (1857-1938), American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Frederic Kimber Seward, aged 34, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 7 [12]
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. Frank Seward (b. 1885), Newfoundlander from Heart's Ease, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he survived
  • Mr. Peter Seward (1867-1914), Newfoundlander from New Perlican, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he died during this time


Suggested Readings for the name Seward +

  • Seward and Related Families by George C. Seward.
  • We Remember Carroll.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FLORENTIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Florentia.htm
  9. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CHINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/china1852.shtml
  10. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord of the Isles 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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