Last name: Swann
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 www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2015
Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree
. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA
Hello fellow Swanns! I believe my family is from England but im not sure what part. I was told by my father that our ancestors came to Virginia first and then somehow ended up in a small town in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. We currently reside in Illinois and have no clue if we still have ancestors on the east coast. My grandfather, Donald, whom passed away in 2010 had 9 siblings in Pennsylvania. He was born in 1924 if anyone can compare trees. I remember my father also saying that my grandfathers brothers also fought in ww2.
Hi my name is Nicole Rhonda Swann- Flaviney. Our family lives in Trinidad and Tobago. My Father is George Swann and His Father was George Swann. After reading this I guess the Name must have been passed down to us through colonialism
Hi Swanns! My dad - Ronald Swann was born in Newcastle, England to Frank Swann. He moved to Montreal in the 50's with his immediate family. I do not know much of my dad's side of the family but would like to know more. They all seem to have dropped out of touch with everyone when they left Newcastle.