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Swainson Family History

This surname is not only one of the oldest of all recorded surnames, pre-dating the 1086 Domesday Book (see below), it is one of the earliest settler names in America. It derives from the pre 8th Century "Viking" (Scandinavian) personal name Sven, Suen or Sveinn, a form of endearment translating literally as "boy". The name in several variant forms was enthusiastically adopted by the English, and also by the 1066 Norman invaders who were themselves of Viking origins. By the 16th Century the term "swain" had developed the senses of "young rustic", and hence "rustic lover, wooer". The modern surname from this source can be found as Swain, Swaine, Swayn and Swayne, while the patronymic forms are Swains, Sweynson, Swenson and Swainson...

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