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Swinn Coat of Arms / Swinn Family Crest

The SWINN, McSwine, MacSweeney and McSweeney families are the descendants of the gallowglass warriors who settled in County Donegal, where they had come first as mercenaries. By the 15th century they had formed three septs named Mac Suichne. The surname is found mainly in Munster, particularly in County Cork, where a branch of the family migrated from Ulster, established itself, multiplied and flourished. The Irish MacSuibhne denotes 'pleasant'. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix 'Mac' was given to the father's christian name, or 'O' to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. They were an Irish sept possessed of a territory in County Donegal, of the race of O'Neil, and claiming descent from Suibhne Menn or Sweeney 'The Renowned', who was monarch of Ireland A.D.616-28; MacSweeney Fanait was chief of this sept while St.Kevin was at Glen-da-loch. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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