This ancient surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and derives from the Old Norse male given name "Sveinn", Middle English "Swein", boy (servant), attendant, used also of a swineherd or young rustic. The surname has the rare distinction of being first recorded prior to Domesday (see below), and the personal name appears variously as "Suein, Suen, Suuain, Suan" and "Suuan" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Further early recordings from England include: Robert Suein (Yorkshire, 1166), and Walter le Swein (Worcestershire, 1221).The name is also well recorded in Scotland from the late 13th Century: Laurence Swyn was burgess of Aberdeen in 1294, and Adam Swyn of Rystone, Berwickshire, rendered homage to Edward 1, King of England, in 1296, while in 1581, Crispinie Swyne was noted in Dunfermline. In Scotland, Swine may also be a shortened form of the Olde English pre 7th Century "Sigewine" (Middle English "Siwine"), a personal name composed of the elements "sige", wise, and "wine", friend. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Alis Swin to Robert Medley at St. Margaret Lothbury, on January 26th 1540, and the marriage of Mary Ann Swinn to Charles Briggs at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, on December 25th 1821. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is an azure shield with a gold chevron between three pheons, on a red chevron, as many maidens' heads couped proper, crined gold. 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 Records of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of Edward the Confessor, Saxon Ruler of England, 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.
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