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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 surname Swiney 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.

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.


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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 and printed products wherever possible.

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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 Swiney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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 Ameri ca. 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
  • John Swiney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Morgan Swiney, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1750

Swiney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Swiney, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1832

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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Citations



    Other References

    1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    2. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
    3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    5. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
    6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    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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