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2,396 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study


The Swindell Surname study started as a search for the origin of my own surname (Swindale) which I traced back to Hexham in Northumberland in northern England in the 17th century. By this time I realised that it was part of a larger group of Swindell variants and I wanted to trace the families back through history to a common origin or origins. This resulted in the Swindell One-Name Study which is very much on-going.

Variant names

The names Swindell, Swindells, Swindall, Swindle, Swindale, Swyndell, Swyndle, Swindal, Swindel are variants included within the study.

My researches have shown that the spelling of the name prior to the middle of the 19th century is almost entirely a matter of local expectation and the preference of the parish clerk.

For convenience I use 'Swindell' to refer to all the variants listed above - unless I specifically use another variant.  I treat Swinden, Swinney, Swindler, Swindley, Swondel, Swandel as distinctly different surnames from Swindell though there is a possibility that on occasion they have been deviants (errors) that became established as variants. See Variants and Deviants for further discussion.

Name origin

The Swindell surname almost certainly originated near Stockport, England (Swindelves) and from there spread out ('ramified') across England and from there to the United States of America and the Commonwealth. In the USA European emigrants and slaves of African origin have contributed other origins to the name. More ...

Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest reference to Swindell yet traced is to a William Swyndell in pleas at Nottingham in 1434. Other early records appear in north-east Cheshire and north west Derbyshire. Humphrey Swyndles is mentioned in a Star Chamber case around 1550 and the family can be traced in the Macclesfield/ Prestbury area of Cheshire. Other Swyndles/Swindells, not apparently related to Humphrey, are to be found in the same area in the later part of the 16th Century.

Equally early references appear in northern Leicestershire and in Lincolnshire and down the the east coast as far as Woodbridge but the vast mass appear in east Cheshire radiating eastwards from Stockport and from there into Derbyshire. Interestingly there was very little ramification westwards from Stockport into the more valuable land of the Cheshire plain. The real explosion of the Swindell surname accompanied the expansion of the weaving business, especially silk, in Macclesfield in the 19th century.

The earliest known early settler in North America was William Swandal who was killed in the Jamestown Massacre in 1624 but Thomas Swindall who migrated before 1654 and Timothy Swindle who migrated in about 1678 established large families in North America.

Name frequency

There were perhaps 16 to 17 thousand individuals named Swindell (or similar) at the end of the 20th century. Two thirds of these were in the United States of America as a result of immigration from England, the naming of slaves after their owner and immigration from Europe, followed by anglicisation of continentatal names. The  majority of the remainder were in the north-west of England where the name had originated. Others were the decendants of immigrants to the Commonwealth. More ....

Distribution of the name

PublicProfiler estimates the total world occurence in around 2000AD of the Swindell type surname in excess of 16,000 - probably less than 17,000 by my (AJS) estimation. The total world population was around 6,000 million at this time - so the Swindells represent about 0.003% of the world population!

World distribution of the Swindell (type) surname at the beginning of the 21st centuryWorld distribution of the Swindell (type) surname
at the beginning of the 21st century








Relative frequency of the Swindell variants on a worldwide basis
at the beginning of the 21st century








Relative frequency of the Swindell variants within the UK
at the beginning of the 21st century









Distribution of Swindells in 1881


The Swindell One-Name Study website contains a separate web page for each family unit investigated - all inter-connected by hyperlinks.The website also contains extacts from parish registers, wills etc. I also have a database containing data sets from civil registrations and census returns which are not published as such on the website but the family page will contain the relevant information and/or link to an image or transcription of the original source.


A Y-DNA project for the Swindell surname is running on Family Tree DNA. 

The results so far have linked a Swindells with a known ancestry from 18th century Cheshire, a Swindle with an ancestry from 18th century County Fermanagh in Ireland and a Swindell tracing his ancestry back to an immigrant to North America around 1650.

A Swindoll and a Swindle in the USA have closely matching DNA and both almost certainly descend from another early immigrant to North America around 1675.

DNA characteristic of an African ancestry can be traced to a slave working on a Swindell plantation in North Carolina in the early 19th century.

To join the project click on this link



The website for the Swindell One-Name Study can be reached by clicking the following link