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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Swiney is Mac Suibhne, which is derived from the word "suibhne," which means "pleasant."

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The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Swiney were encountered in the archives: MacSweeney, MacSweeny, MacSwine, MacSwiney, MacSwyne, MacSwyny, MacWhinney, MacWhinny, MacWhinnie, MacSwiny, McSweeney, Swiney, Swinney and many more.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swiney research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1299 and 1310 are included under the topic Early Swiney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 133 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swiney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Swiney name:

Swiney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Briant Swiney, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • Mary Swiney, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Swiney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Mrs. Swiney, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1769

Swiney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • George Swiney, aged 28, landed in Maine in 1812
  • Honora Swiney, aged 10, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Andrew Swiney, aged 14, landed in New York, NY in 1855
  • D. Swiney, aged 60, who settled in America from Londonderry, in 1892
  • Mrs. Swiney, aged 50, who settled in America from Londonderry, in 1892


Swiney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Michael Swiney, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Castleconaell, Ireland, in 1908
  • James Swiney, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States from Mallow, Ireland, in 1908
  • John Swiney, aged 31, who landed in America from Cork, Ireland, in 1909
  • Daniel Swiney, aged 84, who emigrated to the United States, in 1910
  • Edward Swiney, aged 16, who emigrated to America from Fermoy, Ireland, in 1911


Swiney Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • John Swiney, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Morgan Swiney, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1750

Swiney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Harriett Swiney, aged 22, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wairoa" in 1877

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  • Christopher Casey "C.C." Swiney (b. 1981), American writer, actor, and comedian
  • Erwin Swiney (b. 1978), American former cornerback in the National Football League
  • Rosa Frances Emily Swiney (1847-1922), lady of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, also a member of the British Raj in India
  • Thomas James Swiney (1875-1945), Australian politician


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Swiney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Swiney 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 18 December 2014 at 16:22.

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