A surname of England, Swayne of Ireland, from a personal name Old Norse Sveinn, old Danish, Old Swedish Sven, "often anglicized as Swan" (See SWAN), or Old Norse sveinn - boy, servant, peasant, swineherd; in Ireland Swayne may also be a synonym of SWEENEY, Swiney, but not of SWAN. (Reaney, Cottle, MacLysaght). Guppy traced Swain in Derbyshire, Devon, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Rutlandshire, Lincolnshire and Swayne in Surrey



At Ferryland: Supreme Court Records: November 3, 1830 - Robert Swaine - Charged with others in erecting a stage at Stone Island shooting place which interfered with other people's nets which have been set there for 40 years.
  Supreme Court Records: November 4, 1830 - Benjamin Sweetland and Co. - Sued: Robert Swaine.
  Supreme Court Records: November 6, 1830 - Robert Swaine - Sued: Matthew Morry.
  Supreme Court Records: October 14, 1831 - James Morrison - Sued: Robert Swaine.
  Supreme Court Records: October 16, 1833 - Robert and James Carter - Sued: Robert Swaine.
At Caplin Bay: Voter's List for Caplin Bay: 1840, 1841, 1842, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1847, 1849 - Robert Swain(e); 1852 - Robert & John Swain; 1855 - John Swain; 1859 - John, Joseph & Robert Swain.
  Crown Land Registry: #3074 John Swaine - Stone Island East Side of Caplin Bay - 1870.
  Crown Land Registry: #3073 Robert Swaine - Stone Island East Side of Caplin Bay - 1870
  Lovell's 1871 Directory: John Swain, fisherman; Joseph Swain, fisherman; Robert Swain, fisherman.
  McAlpine's 1894-97 Directory: John Swaine, fisherman; Thomas Swaine, fisherman; Richard (sic) Swaine, fisherman; Robert Swaine, fisherman; Joseph (of Robert) Swaine, fisherman; Charles Swaine, fisherman; Joseph (of Joseph) Swaine, fisherman.
  McAlpine's 1898 Directory: John Swaine, carpenter; Peter Swaine, fisherman; Michael Swaine, fisherman; Joseph Swaine, fisherman; Joseph Swaine Sr., fisherman; Robert Swaine, fisherman.
Family History: No written reference to Robert Swain's birthplace has ever surfaced, but several family lore versions tell of Robert's origin and the circumstances of his arrival in Newfoundland. Although some details differ, oral family tradition has a common thread that Robert Swain was not Roman Catholic. Although, most lore states that he came from Co. Wexford, other versions suggest he was likely from the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland. This latter location probably stems from the widely-held misbelief that all Protestants in Ireland lived in that province. Contrary to that misconception, research indicates that there were indeed several Protestant Swayne families in Co. Wexford. Robert was said to have converted to Catholicism when he married a girl named Betsy (or Mary) Bryan from Ferryland. While no written documents confirm any of these assertions, one fact that became clear when documenting the Swain family of Caplin Bay is that Robert Swain was the common ancestor of a large number of descendants.
  While family lore says Robert Swain first lived at Ferryland, he later settled on the north-eastern headland of Caplin Bay, in the area known as Stone Island. His land, located on the north-eastern side of Stone Island River, was opposite the property settled earlier by the Wade family. The earliest recorded mention of the Swain name in this area was on Nov. 3, 1830, in the Ferryland Supreme Court records. Robert Swain was "charged, with others, in erecting a fishing stage at Stone Island Shooting Place which interfered with other people's nets which have been set there for 40 years". The charges were laid by Matthew Morry and Benjamin Sweetland, merchants of English origin, whose fishing operations were at the head of Caplin Bay.
  Other than this episode of taking on the resident fishing merchants, Robert appears to have lived a quiet life. He was an eligible voter at Caplin Bay from 1840 to 1852. In the latter year, his eldest son John, living in a separate dwelling, also became an eligible voter. However, Robert Sr. did not appear as a voter in 1855, indicating that he had likely died at Caplin Bay in the interim. By 1859, John's brothers, Joseph and Robert Jr., living in their own houses, were also eligible to vote. In addition to his three sons, Robert Swain had four daughters. Eliza, Anne, and Mary, all married at Caplin Bay, becoming the matriarchs of the Sullivan, Condon, and Walsh families, respectively. The fourth daughter, Ellen, married John Hamilton of Fortune Harbour, Notre Dame Bay at St. John's in 1852. After living at St. John's for a while, Ellen and John Hamilton moved to Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
  Although it is unknown if Robert Swain was a boat builder, there has been a strong tradition of skilled carpentry, boat building in particular, amongst his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. In earlier years, like many Caplin Bay families, the Swain family had quite a few members who left home to follow different walks of life. Some went west to British Columbia, and others settled in the U.S.A., but in later years some of them returned to Caplin Bay/Calvert and lived out the remainder of their lives there.
Present Status: There are still several Swain families at Calvert, although more recent generations have moved away from there to find employment in various professions. In addition to those descendants bearing the Swain surname, there are also many descendants in other families at Calvert who can trace their roots back to Robert Swain of Stone Island. Besides those descendants at Calvert, many of Robert and Betsy/Mary Swain's descendants live throughout other parts of Newfoundland, the rest of Canada, the U.S.A., and other countries.

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