This rare and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has two possible sources, the first being that it is a dialectal variant of the name Swann, itself a nickname for a person noted for purity or excellence, or maybe having some fancied resemblance to the bird , or even in some cases topographical for a dweller near the house with the sign of the swan. The derivation in this instance is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'swan', or 'swon', a swan. However, it may also be an occupational name for a servant or retainer, which derives from the Old Norse 'sveinn', a servant, also used for a swineherd. Marthe Sworne was christened on the March 20th 1567 at Holy Trinity-in-the-Minories, London, and in Brenchley, Kent, Catherine Sworn married Joseph Whiting on the December 10th 1769. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Swan, which was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. 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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