By Don Taylor
Swayze is a variant of the English name Swasey. The meaning of the name is unknown; however, the Dictionary of American Family Names suggests it possibly is “an Anglicized form of Dutch Swijse(n), variant of Wijs ‘wise’.”
Today, the greatest number of people with the Swayze surname live in the United States—Texas in particular. The greatest frequency of the Swayze surname occurs in Canada with one in 51,568 people in Canada having the surname. [i]
Back in 1880, the greatest number of people with the Surname Swayze lived, by far, in New Jersey. Stepping back to 1840, the greatest concentration of Swayze’s were also in New Jersey. At that time, 58% of the Swayze’s in the United States lived in New Jersey. [ii]
My earliest known Swayze ancestor is my wife’s 9th great grandfather, John Swayze. He was born before 1600 in England. His son, John Swayze (1619-1706) is my wife’s Swayze immigrant. John (Jr.) was born in England, however, arrived in the Colonies before 1649 when he married Catherine Kinge, in Salem, Mass. John left Massachusetts and located in Suffolk County, New York. His son, Samuel, Grandson, Mathias, and great-grandson, Amos were all born in New York. Amos’s son, Amos (1767-1839) was the last of the New York Swayze’s in my wife’s line. Amos’s son David was born in New Jersey and is a patriot. He “Volunteered when 14 years old under Capt. Abraham McKinney and Lt. Beavers. He marched to Newark then to New York.”
David, the patriot, moved west, to Ohio. David’s son, David was born in New Jersey, moved to Ohio, then located further west and north to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he died. All of David Swayze’s (1798-1850) children were born in Ohio. However, he located from Ohio to Michigan in June 1840, right after the census was taken. His daughter Elizabeth Swayze, my wife’s second great-grandmother, is the last of the Swayze line of my wife’s. She married Rufus Holton Darling in 1848.
Eight Known Direct Swayze Ancestors
- #25[iii] – Elizabeth Jane Swayze (c. 1818—1896)
- #50 – David Swayze (1796-1850
- #100 – David Swayze (1762-1838)
- #200 – Amos Swayze (1739-1813)
- #400 – Mathias Swayze (1699-1728)
- #800 – Samuel Swayze (1653-1736)
- #1600 – John Swayze (1619-1692) – Immigrant
- #3200 – John Swayze (bef. 1600)–1686.
Patrick Wayne Swayze is my wife’s 9th Cousin. Patrick Swayze was an actor known for Dirty Dancing and Ghost.
Apparently, John Cameron Swayze was related to Patrick Wayne Swayze, so that would make him a cousin to my wife as well. John Cameron Swayze was a news commentator during the 1950s. He may be best known as the spokesman for Timex where he used the tagline, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
My records currently have 355 direct-line descendants of John Swayze identified, which is nearly 13% of my Howell-Darling Research.
[i] Forebears.io – Swayze Surname Meaning & Statistics – See: http://forebears.io/surnames/swayze[ii] Amazon.Com – Swayze Family History – See: https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Swayze
[iii] Ahnentafel Numbering system – See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahnentafel