Swain History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The story of the Swain family stretches back through time to the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The name Swain was derived from the Old English personal name Swein, which was originally derived from the Old Norse name Sveinn. This was one of the most common Scandinavian names in medieval Britain. Another source claims the name was an occupational name for someone "who acted as a servant or attendant; one who tended swine; descendant of Swain (young man, or boy servant)." 
Sweyn or Svein (d. 1014), was "King of England and Denmark, called Forkbeard, son of Harold Blaatand, King of Denmark, probably by his Queen Gunhild, though it was said that his mother was a Slav, a servant in the house of Palna-Toki, or Tokko, in Funen. " 
Earl Sweyn or Swegen (d. 1052), "the eldest son of Earl Godwin or Godwine and his wife Gytha, was early in 1043, when Edward or Eadward, called the Confessor, had become king, appointed to an earldom that was partly Mercian and partly West-Saxon, for it included Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Somerset. " 
Early Origins of the Swain family
The surname Swain was first found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, from very early times.
Further south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed early spelling of the family: John le Swein and Robert le Swein in Oxfordshire; and Geoffrey le Sueyn in Norfolk. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists: Robertus Swaynne. 
"The ancient name of Swain, which is now best represented in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Devonshire, was established in the form of Sweyn, rarely of Swayn, during the 13th century in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Oxfordshire, being most numerous in the last two counties. " 
Early History of the Swain family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swain research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1100, 1214, 1250, 1499, 1521, 1585, 1690, 1680, 1542, 1609, 1540, 1550, 1510 and are included under the topic Early Swain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Swain Spelling Variations
Spelling variations are extremely common among Scottish names dating from this era because the arts of spelling and translation were not yet standardized. Spelling was done by sound, and translation from Gaelic to English was generally quite careless. In different records, Swain has been spelled Swan, Swann, Swanner, Swani, Swayne, Swein, Sweing, Sweyn and many more.
Early Notables of the Swain family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Charles Swan (killed 1690), who was forced into piracy by his crew in the 1680s. He was killed when he attempted to escape back to England on a Dutch ship with five thousand pounds.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Swain World Ranking
In the United States, the name Swain is the 1,029th most popular surname with an estimated 29,844 people with that name.  However, in New Zealand, the name Swain is ranked the 973rd most popular surname with an estimated 769 people with that name.  And in the United Kingdom, the name Swain is the 782nd popular surname with an estimated 8,674 people with that name. 
Migration of the Swain family to Ireland
Some of the Swain family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Swain migration to the United States +
Those who made the voyage were greeted with ample opportunity to acquire land and a political climate far away from the oppressive monarchy of the old country. They settled along the east coast of what would become Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence, those who remained loyal to England traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In this century, many Scots living in North America have begun to recover their rich heritage through festivals, highland games, and Clan societies. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Swain:
Swain Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Jeremy Swain, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1638 
- Richard Swain, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 
- Francis Swain, who landed in New England in 1645 
- Robert Swain, who landed in New England in 1684 
Swain Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- John Swain, who landed in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1703 
- Eleanor Swain, who arrived in Virginia in 1715 
- William Swain, who landed in America in 1760-1763 
Swain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- John, Swain, who landed in Mississippi in 1842 
- Charles Swain, who landed in Mississippi in 1842 
- James H Swain, who landed in Mississippi in 1842 
- Isaac Swain, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1850 
- J M Swain, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Swain migration to Canada +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Swain Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- John Swain, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
- Mary Swain, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
- Thomas Swain, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Swain migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Swain Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Miss Alice Swain, (b. 1766), aged 47, Irish servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 
- John Swain, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia 
- Levi Swain, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846 
- W.R. Swain, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846 
- William Swain, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nabob"
Swain 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:
Swain Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- James Swain, aged 39, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
- Lusy Swain, aged 34, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
- Amy Swain, aged 16, a domestic servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
- Henry Swain, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
- Frederick Swain, aged 25, a butcher, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Swain 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. 
Swain Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
- James Swain, aged 21, who arrived in Jamaica in 1684 
Contemporary Notables of the name Swain (post 1700) +
- James Swain (b. 1956), American crime fiction author
- Bennie S. Swain (1933-2008), American professional NBA basketball player
- Mack Swain (1876-1935), American actor and vaudevillian
- David Lowry Swain (1801-1868), American politician, 26th Governor of North Carolina (1832 to 1835)
- Brett Andrew Swain (b. 1985), American NFL football wide receiver
- Louisa Ann Swain (1801-1880), the first woman to vote in a general election in the United States
- Dominique Ariane Swain (b. 1980), American film actress
- Charles L. Swain, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Ohio State House of Representatives from Hamilton County; Elected 1897 
- Bruce Swain, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 36th District, 1931-32 
- Albert N. Swain (b. 1828), American Republican politician, Member of Vermont State House of Representatives from Rockingham, 1872, 1876; Member of Vermont State Senate from Windham County, 1886 
- ... (Another 33 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Historic Events for the Swain family +
- Mr. Ronald W Swain (b. 1917), English Ordinary Telegraphist serving for the Royal Navy from Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking 
- Mr. James F Swain (b. 1919), Welsh Leading Writer serving for the Royal Navy from Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking 
Related Stories +
The Swain Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto Translation: Fidelity.
Suggested Readings for the name Swain +
- John Quigg, Jr. (1779-1814), Immigrant 1802, His Ancestors and Descendants by Sylvia Cecilia Fuson Ferguson.
- Old European Progenitors and Mayflower Ancestors of the A.T.F. and Mary Swain Fuller Family by Jean Fuller Butler.
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
- ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
- ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
- ^ 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)
- ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
- ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
- ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Hooghly.htm
- ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ISABELLA WATSON 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846IsabellaWatson.htm
- ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
- ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
- ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html