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Replies: 43

Re: Sweany individuals

Posted: 1343894246000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Sweany Sweeny Sweney Sweeney

About ten years ago you helped me get started with researching my Sweany family by sending. me the information you had on my great-great grandfather Daniel Sweany, whose father, Thomas B., was your Samuel's brother. I have always been grateful for the help you gave me. I still have copies of the emails you sent.

I haven't managed to get back much beyond the information you sent to me then--just one generation. Starting with William, b. 1751, Frederick Co., Maryland, m. Christina Harbaugh, 4 May 1779, from whom most of the Sweanys of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties in Ohio are descended (and some in Indiana), it appears that William's father was Edward Sweeny, who died in Frederick Co., Maryland in 1782. His will names Lydia Sweeny and William Sweeny as executors (Accounts Admin: Frederick County, Maryland, Probate Administration Accounts Liber GM No. 1, 1777-1799). These were, presumably, his wife and son. The evidence that this "William" was our "William," who married Christina Harbaugh and emigrated to Ohio, is just that the 1790 census of Frederick County shows only one William--so it "hangs by a thread."
There are, also, a "John Sweeny" and an "Edward Sweney" in the 1790 census--perhaps, brothers of William, or maybe his sons.

In the 1800 Frederick County census, John and Edward are still there, but William is not. Either he died or went somewhere--hopefully to Ohio! The earliest record I've found found of a "William". in Ohio is in the Ohio tax records. There's a "William Sweeney" listed in 1833 in Belmont County, and a "John Sweeney" in Tuscarawas County in 1835: The 1820 Ohio federal census shows a "John Sweany" in Belmont County, and the 1830 has a "John" and a "Joseph Sweany," both in Sandy Township, Tuscarawas County. So, at last we're there! But, how we got there, I'm not completely certain. It could be that William was residing with his son John and, thus, was not listed in the censuses as a head-of-household. The same would hold. for his other sons, Anyway, we all know the rest of the story from here, but some may not know the part about William's grandson Samuel and his wife leaving for Indiana with the Hazelbakers, but I'll leave that to you.

Some say that William, b. 1741 and went to Ohio was the son of James Swaney, b. abt, 1705, St. Peters Parish, Talbot, Maryland, who married Frances Ward or Williams and, reputedly, was the son of Brian "Seney" (his name is "Sweeny" on his will) and Ann Newton. Apart from there being no evidence for this, Brian Sweeny died in 1699--as his will clearly shows (Abstract in _Maryland Calendar of Wills_ , Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., vol. 2, p.203)--and, thus, couldn't possibly be the father of James Swaney who was b. abt, 1705. It's still possible that our William was the son of James Swaney, but wehere is the evidence?

As for whether the name "Sweany" is found in Ireland, it certainly is. But, I think our family may have adopted that spelling of the name to appear less "Irish," once they found themselves in Frederick County, and later in Tuscarawas Couty, Ohio, surrounded mainly by German Protestants. "Sweany" appears more English than Irish. Who knows when they converted to Protestantism, perhaps, before they ever landed in the Colonies. It's difficult to say, unless you're looking at someone's signature, how he spelled his name. Most of the people "transported" to the colonies couldn't read or write, so how did they spell their names? Not only that, but if you go back much before the turn of the 18th century, there was no set way that names, or other words, were spelled. The "Sweany" spelling doesn't occur often in the Maryland records. It only starts occuring with any regularity much later in Ohio and Indiana. It is obvious that many people later adopted the "Sweany" or "Sweaney" spelling. But in the earlier records, aren't we really talking about how the person writing the information down spelled the name?

Enough of this. I'll just mention one other thing. In Munster, in the south of Ireland, the Mhac Suibhnes or MacSweeneys supported the Desmonds in their risings against the English in the second half of the 16th century. Erin go bragh!

William Desmond
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
jeanrice 941761608000 
Marlene Mack 943179649000 
jeanrice 943890781000 
jeanrice 943892802000 
wmcdesmond1 1343894246000 
Andrea Sweane... 1395752004000 
mdrapes18 1396922824000 
Jared Sweany 947018512000 
Jlani 954285884000 
GDuree 980684018000 
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