Last name: Swan

Recorded as Swan, Swann, and Swayne, this interesting name has at least three possible origins and two nationalities. Where English the derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "swon." This originally described a swineherd, and later became cross-linked with the word swan, which was pronounced exactly the same and described the bird. Hence in medieval times the name may also have described a an swan-upper or keeper of swans. The second possibility is that the name is locational, and describes somebody who lived at a place with the sign of the swan. This may have been an inn or alehouse, but could equally just have been a house name in the days before houses were numbered. Amongst the very earliest of sample recordings are those of John Swann of Shropshire in 1221, Gilbert Swan of Cambridge, in 1260, whilst Walter le Swon and Stephen le Swan both appear in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in 1298. The exact origin of the name cannot be distinguished in the above entries. Finally the name, originally as Swayne, but now also recorded with both Swan and Swann, has been found in Ireland since around the 14th century. In this case the claim is that it is a development of the Norse-Viking word "swein" meaning servant, although certainly since about 1640 as Swan and Swann it has been widely recorded in Northern Ireland, where it is clearly an import from England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Hugo Swan in the pipe rolls of the county of Suffolk in the year 1176. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.

David L. Swan
Have history of Swans, sister put a lot of work into. A Swan was Washinton's paymaster, and Swans owned the Farm on Breeds Hill Where first shot was fired at English, and A Swan helped settle Fryburg, Maine

my grandmother is swann we are from finland

Charles Swan
Anyone have connection to Swans from TN?

Forever a Swan, Jeff.

David Swan (Scotland)

Clan Gunn is where us Swan derive from

Michael Swan

I'm Michael Swan with my Irish family hailing from Massachusetts.

Michael Swan

My father's family is Irish hailing from Plymouth Mass.

Ciara swan
I'm a swan from Dublin Ireland don't no much about my surname but I plan to find out and start a family tree

Kayden Swan
My family are Swans from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I was told that we are of Irish descent.

Adam Swan
A Swan from Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Damien Swan
Originally from Ireland, Dublin (loads of us) but I'm 1st generation British born (a dozen or so now - North London). Was told one 'N' is Protestant and two 'N's is Catholic. Don't really care but it's a great name all the same. Apparently our immediate family derived from an English Earl living in Ireland!? Ciara might even be my cousin. There can't be two Ciara Swan's in Dublin, please God. ;)

Deborah Burkhardt (Swan)
My maiden name is Swan, and it is of Native American descent. My Great great grandfather William Swan was half Lakota Souix. He had African, Irish and more native American in his other half but his father was 100% Native American.

Peg Swan
Canadian Swan here... My dad's family is all from Scotland... Guess that makes me a tartan Swan!

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