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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Scottish, Swedish

The saga of the name Swayne begins among the Viking settlers who arrived in Scotland in the medieval era. The name Swayne is 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.


The surname Swayne 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.

Contemporary spellings of ancient Scottish names often bear little resemblance to the original recorded versions. These spelling variations result from the fact that medieval scribes spelled words and names alike according to their sounds. Swayne has been spelled Swan, Swann, Swanner, Swani, Swayne, Swein, Sweing, Sweyn and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swayne research. Another 405 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1100, 1214, 1250, 1499, 1521, 1585, 1690 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Swayne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swayne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Swayne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


The colonies on the fertile east coast of North America soon had many farms run by Scots. These hardy settlers provided a backbone for the great nations of the United States and Canada that would emerge in the next centuries. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Scottish name Swayne or a variant listed above, including:

Swayne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Ann Swayne, aged 22, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Elizabeth Swayne, aged 15, arrived in New England in 1635
  • Francis Swayne, aged 14, landed in New England in 1635
  • Richard Swayne, aged 34, arrived in America in 1635
  • Tho Swayne, aged 23, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • ...

Swayne Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Patrick Swayne, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

  • Harry Swayne, American professional offensive tackle
  • Charles H. Swayne (1842-1907), United States federal judge
  • Kevin Swayne (b. 1975), American football wide receiver
  • Wager Swayne (1834-1902), American Union Army general
  • Noah Haynes Swayne (1804-1884), American jurist and politician
  • Harry Walter Swayne (1869-1911), English first-class cricketer
  • Sir Eric John Eagles Swayne (1863-1929), British army officer and colonial administrator
  • Geraldine Swayne, British painter, musician, and filmmaker
  • The Rt Rev William Shuckburgh Swayne (1862-1941), English eminent Anglican priest and author
  • Lieutenant General Sir John George des Reaux Swayne (1890-1964), British General Officer Commanding South-East Command
  • ...

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: Fidelitas
Motto Translation: Fidelity.


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    Other References

    1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    6. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
    7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
    8. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
    9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
    11. ...

    The Swayne Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Swayne Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 21 June 2013 at 14:14.

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