Swain

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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

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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 ? 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 been found, however there are several versions of family lore that relates to Robert's origin and the circumstances of his arrival at Caplin Bay. Although some details differ, most of this oral family tradition has a common thread. Some family tradition says that Robert Swain was not Roman Catholic. While some lore states that he was from Co. Wexford, other versions say he was from the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland. It's hard to tell if the latter location was stated because of the misconception that if he was not Catholic, then he must have been from the predominately Protestant province of Ulster. Contrary to that misconception, research indicates that there were indeed several Protestant Swayne families in Co. Wexford. Robert is believed 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 does become clear when documenting the Swain generations, is that Robert Swain is the common ancestor of a very large number of descendants.
  Robert Swain settled on the north-eastern headland of Caplin Bay, in the area known as Stone Island. His land was located on the eastern side of Stone Island River, opposite the property settled 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 stage at Stone Island shooting place which interfered with other people's nets which have been set there for 40 years". The charges appear to have been laid by Matthew Morry &Co. and Benjamin Sweetland &Co., fishing merchants of English origin, whose operations were based at the head of Caplin Bay.
  Other than this little episode of taking on the resident fishing merchants, Robert appears to have lived a fairly quiet life. He is shown as a voter at Caplin Bay from 1840 to 1852. However, he did not appear there in 1855, indicating that he probably had died at Caplin Bay in the interim. His eldest son, John, first appears in the list in 1852 and is joined by Joseph and Robert Jr. in 1859. In addition to his three sons, Robert Swain had four daughters. Eliza, Anne, and Mary married at Caplin Bay and were the matriarchs of the Sullivan, Condon and Walsh families respectively. It appears that Ellen married John Hamilton of Fortune Harbour, Notre Dame Bay at St. John's in 1852.
  Although it is not known 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. Like many Caplin Bay families, in earlier years the Swain family has had quite a few members who have left home to follow different walks of life; some went west to British Columbia and more settled in the U.S.A. In later years, some of them returned to Calvert and lived out the remainder of their lives there.
Present Status: There are still a number of Swain families at Calvert, although most of the recent generations have moved away from there to find employment in various industries and businesses. In addition to those descendants with the Swain surname, there are many descendants in other families at Calvert who can trace their roots back to Robert Swain of Stone Island. Of course, besides those descendants at Calvert, there is also a large number of Robert and Betsy/Mary Swain's descendants throughout other parts of Newfoundland and the rest of Canada, the U.S.A., and in other countries.

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