Swen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the name Swen begins among the Viking settlers who arrived in Scotland in the medieval era. The name Swen 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. 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)." [1]

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. " [2]

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. " [2]

Early Origins of the Swen family

The surname Swen 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. [3]

"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. " [4]

Early History of the Swen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swen 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 Swen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swen Spelling Variations

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. Swen has been spelled Swan, Swann, Swanner, Swani, Swayne, Swein, Sweing, Sweyn and many more.

Early Notables of the Swen 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. Robert Some...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Swen family to Ireland

Some of the Swen 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.

Migration of the Swen family

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 Swen or a variant listed above, including: Edgar Swan, who landed in Virginia in 1635; Frances Swan, who landed in Barbados in 1670; John Swan, who landed in New Jersey in 1685; another John Swan, who landed in Virginia in 1635.


Contemporary Notables of the name Swen (post 1700) +

  • Saylee Swen (b. 1984), Liberian football goalkeeper
  • Swen Swenson (1836-1905), American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 17th District, 1887
  • Swen Swenson (1932-1993), American Broadway dancer and singer
  • Swen Sorensen, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 1948 [5]


The Swen 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: Fidelitas
Motto Translation: Fidelity.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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