Last name: Swain

This surname is not only one of the oldest of all recorded surnames, pre-dating the 1086 Domesday Book (see below), it is one of the earliest settler names in America. It derives from the pre 8th Century "Viking" (Scandinavian) personal name Sven, Suen or Sveinn, a form of endearment translating literally as "boy". The name in several variant forms was enthusiastically adopted by the English, and also by the 1066 Norman invaders who were themselves of Viking origins. By the 16th Century the term "swain" had developed the senses of "young rustic", and hence "rustic lover, wooer". The modern surname from this source can be found as Swain, Swaine, Swayn and Swayne, while the patronymic forms are Swains, Sweynson, Swenson and Swainson. The early recordings include Robert Suein in the 1166 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, whilst Walter Swayn is found in the Court Rolls of Suffolk in 1295. Later recordings include Samuel Swaine of Sewardstone, Essex, in 1612, a descendant of William Swayne, also of Essex, granted arms on June 29th 1444, whilst on June 1st 1681, the rare form of Swains (a development of Swaynes) is found at Thame, Oxford, when John Swains married Marrian Powell. The first American recording is of Peter Swaine, who was a passenger on the sloop "Batchelor" bound for the Leeward Isles and Virginia from London on May 3rd 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osgot Sveyn, which was dated 1045, in the "Anglo-Saxon Wills List of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward, known as "The Confessor", 1042 - 1066. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

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Abigail Swain
I'm from Devon, England

a baxter
again one of my linc's baxters wed a SWAIN in1840, and now i have many SWAIN's in the family. cannot find any who went over the brook to usa.

My name is Stacey Swain I'm 17 from England

Sherri Swain
My 9th Great-Grandfather, Richard Swayne/Swaine, changed the spelling after arriving in America (Rowley, MA) in Sept 1635, sailed from England on the ship "True Love". Over the many years since, my ancestors have traveled from MA, NH, NJ, NC, GA and ended in FL.


Shaun Swain 27 from Kent U.K. Most my family are still here in England. Stout lot, not many above 6 feet (I am myself 5'8") but pretty strong willed and have generally good sharp wit. Bad tempers though. My uncle traced an offshoot of the family to Greenwich Village NY back around 1920 before they broke off contact some time in the early 20s. None returned after the war either either those they is some talk that a few American Swains and British Swains ended up bumping into each other a few times in Europe while fighting, all sharing a few family members either having died or still living. It was always very brief from what is said but really, I'd like to see if I can find out a little more?

Bobby Joe Swain 3rd

im 6'2 blue eye blonde hair and all the family that i know are from tennessee and north carolina.

Sunayana Swain

I'm from eastern part of India and I just realized I share my surname with people from Europe n America!!! Amazing!

Kelly Swain


Teresa Swain

I'm from Georgia USA. My grandfather was Alvis E. Dwain.

teejay swain

im from london and on called swain

Tonya Swain
I'm from Northern NY. USA.

Graham swain
I'm graham swain born in enfield England

Chelsea Swain
From Michigan

Reilly swain
from newfoundland

Dave Swain
North bay Ontario Canada

Marketa Swain
Hello. there, all you Swain's; my research thus far said I am of zzz Scottish decent, I'm a 56year old carmal color 5ft9" woman living in Illinois. Would love to learn more on my lineage.

Direct descendant of Richard Swain who came to the US in 1635 aboard the "TRUELOVE". His grandson Stephen Swain Left Nantucket Island in 1690 moved to Tyrell County, North Carolina. My father David Swain, Sr. was born on his land in 1934 and was buried there Jan. 5th, 2015 in the Timothy Swain Cemetery.near Columbia, NC.

Jeff Swain
I'm from Belfast.... Family originally from Moira N.Ireland and traveled to Belfast for work, many years ago

subrajeet swain
belongs to which caste

Ivan Swain
I am from Lake Charles, Louisiana area.

Amber Swain
Waterford, Michigan. Daughter of Daphne Swain and Matt Harris. Love my Swain roots wish I knew more about them from the Viking Age.

Ann Swain
Houston Texas area

Leonise Colleen Swain
Born in Washington State, Daughter of Leonard Swain and Geraldine Klein

Manoj Swain
From India.. Hi to all "rustic Lovers..."

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