Show ContentsSwyers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Swyers family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived at Swyre in Dorset. The surname Swyers was originally derived from the Old English word "swoera" which means a "neck of land" or in other words, one who lives at the neck of land. [1]

Today Swyre is a coastal parish in Dorset, 6 miles south-east from Bridport [2] and dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Suere. [3]

Interestingly, the Index of the Calendar of the Patent Rolls (1446-1452) Henry VI v.5. notes that Swyer was a variant of Squyer and further notes in the May 22 entry for Westminster 'gentilman' alias 'squyer,' so one could presume that the name was as many believe an early from the word 'squire' or 'gentleman.'

Furthermore, the same source notes that on November 13th in 1449, John Squyer of Notyngham (Nottingham) appeared before the court "and his fellows by the name John Swyer to answer..." questions about his debt to Alexander Galyard. The same source notes at least four more entries for the Squyer spelling.

Early Origins of the Swyers family

The surname Swyers was first found in Dorset at Swyre where they were descended from William d'Eu, Count of Eu, who was undertenant in Wiltshire and held the lands of Swyre (Latin: Tempore Regis Edwardi, English: during the reign of King Edward the Confessor) before the Norman Conquest in 1066. William of Swyre held those lands in 1086 at the taking of the Domesday Survey. [3]

Other early records include Geoffrey le Swyer who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1275 and John Swyer who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297. [4]

Years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax records of 1379 listed: Ricardus Sqwyer; Thomas Swyer and Willelmus Swyer. [5]

Early History of the Swyers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swyers research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1523, 1533, 1706 and 1825 are included under the topic Early Swyers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swyers Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Swyre, Svere, Swyer, Swyre, Swire, Squyer and others.

Early Notables of the Swyers family

Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swyers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swyers Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Swyers is the 708th most popular surname with an estimated 61 people with that name. [6]

United States Swyers migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Swyers or a variant listed above were:

Swyers Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Reynolds F. Swyers, aged 23, who settled in Yeagertown, Pennsylvania, in 1915
  • William Swyers, aged 51, who immigrated to Bellerose, N.Y., in 1924
  • Katherine Swyers, aged 47, who immigrated to Bellerose, N.Y., in 1924

Australia Swyers migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Swyers Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Swyers (post 1700) +

  • Rett Swyers (b. 1997), born Everett Daniel Swyers, American actor, known for his role in Antique Humans (2006)
  • Kegan Swyers, American film editor
  • Caleb Swyers, American actor and editor, best known for his role as an Apple Engineer in iSteve, a 2013 parody film
  • Tom Swyers, American novelist, known for his novel Saving Babe Ruth in June 2014
  • George Swyers, American AAU Men's Basketball All-American (1955-1956)
  • Lieutenant Commander Harry Merton Swyers, U.S. Navy officer at McMurdo Station in U.S. Navy Operation Deepfreeze 1976 and 1977, eponym of Swyers Point, Antarctica
  • Joseph Thomas Swyers (1876-1965), Newfoundland merchant who opened his first store in Red Point, Bonavista at the age of 16 which grew to become a founding member of the Newfoundland Associated Fish Exporters Limited; his first store in Bonavista has been renovated and declared a Heritage Structure in March 1996

The Swyers 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: Esse quam videri
Motto Translation: To be, rather than to seem.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook