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

Early Origins of the Swaney family

The surname Swaney 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 Swaney family

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

Swaney Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Swaney dating from that time include MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

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

Swaney Ranking

In the United States, the name Swaney is the 8,159th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]


United States Swaney migration to the United States +

A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Swaney or a variant listed above:

Swaney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Eliz Swaney, who landed in Virginia in 1657 [2]
Swaney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edmond Swaney, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [2]
Swaney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Swaney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839 [2]
  • J F Swaney, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [2]

New Zealand Swaney 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:

Swaney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Swaney, (b. 1846), aged 24, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merope' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 27th October 1870 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Swaney (post 1700) +

  • Julianna Swaney, American artist and illustrator in Portland Oregon
  • Marianne Swaney -Stueve, American Research Assistant Professor, Sensory and Consumer Research Center Manager at Kansas State University
  • Mark Swaney, American politician, Green Party of Arkansas State Coordinator
  • W. B. Swaney, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1956 [4]
  • Rose Marie Swaney, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Hawaii, 1980 [4]
  • Daniel B. Swaney, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944 (alternate), 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1956 [4]
  • Alexander G. Swaney, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Edinburgh, 1922; Tsinan, 1926 [4]


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  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 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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