Sowards History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Sowards is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin and came 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. 
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. " 
Siward (died 1075) was Bishop of Rochester, Abbot of Chertsey in Surrey, and was consecrated Bshop of Rochester by Archbishop Stigand in 1058. 
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." 
Early Origins of the Sowards family
The surname Sowards 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.  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. 
"Two Siwards were of considerable note at the Conquest, one in Shropshire, the other in Cheshire." 
"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." 
"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." 
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." 
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." 
Early History of the Sowards family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sowards 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 Sowards History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Sowards Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Sowards have been found, including Seward, Sewerd, Saward and others.
Early Notables of the Sowards family (pre 1700)
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sowards Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
In the United States, the name Sowards is the 10,416th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 
Migration of the Sowards family to Ireland
Some of the Sowards 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.
| Sowards migration to the United States ||+|
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Sowards, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :
Sowards Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- John W. Sowards, aged 23, arrived in New York City, New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Wheaton" from London, England 
- John W Sowards, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1921 aboard the ship "Deerfield" from Montevideo, Uraguay 
|Contemporary Notables of the name Sowards (post 1700) ||+|
- Robert Sowards (b. 1968), American professional golfer with nine professional wins
- Robert Sowards (b. 1968), American professional PGA golfer
- Jack B. Sowards (1929-2007), American Hugo Award nominated screenwriter, best known for writing the story and screenplay for the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- James R. Sowards (1892-1980), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1948 
- George C. Sowards, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Hurricane, West Virginia, 1935-53 
- A. H. Sowards, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1888 
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ 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
- ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
- ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J664-H3F : 6 December 2014), John W. Sowards, 06 Aug 1920; citing departure port LONDON, ENGLAND, arrival port New York City, New York, New York, ship name Wheaton, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
- ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6NJ-13B : 6 December 2014), John W Sowards, 30 Apr 1921; citing departure port Montevideo, Uraguay, arrival port New York, ship name Deerfield, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html