This document summarizes genealogical information I’ve accumulated on my Swaim and Robinson ancestry as well as other allied families including the Adams, Best, Davies, Flammang, Mundy and Peirce families. Although several family and related lineages are included, the focus of this work is on my father’s (Swaim) and mother’s (Robinson) paternal ancestry.
Figure 1 Overview Chart of my Swaim and Robinson Ancestry
Most of my Swaim and Robinson direct ancestors were ordinary farmers of modest means. I have not found any evidence that any of these ancestors owned slaves4.
The first genealogical information I began with was a single page “family tree” that my mother had prepared. My mother provided this family tree to me in the 1980’s (see Figure 2) and I refer to it throughout this document as the Swaim Family Record. My mother told me she typed this record of the last five Swaim generations (starting with my father) during the 1960’s. She often mentioned that she had typed it based on materials acquired from an old Swaim family bible. However, I have never been able to locate the source for this family tree.
In 2003, Olly Swaim, my mother, sent me a bible she believed was the one she had used to develop the Swaim Family Record. The bible she sent me turned out to be William W. Adams’ bible (my Grandmother Belle’s mother’s side) and had no direct information on the Swaim ancestry. Although I was most appreciative to receive this source of information about the Adams ancestry (and have included it here), it did not provide information on the primary sources used for the Swaim Family Record. I later found the source list which she used to create the Swaim Family Record diagram. It was a listing of names beginning with John H. Swaim and the style in which it is written is consistent with Family Bible information. So I am sure this information came from a Swaim family Bible she either possessed at one time and discarded or that she made a transcription from.
Based on the style of the information and nicknames included in the Swaim Family Record, i.e. “Charlotty” Stack listed instead of “Charlotte” Stack, it is obvious that this record was based on family information passed down within the Swaim family. It may have been sourced from family bibles that have since disappeared or belonged to another family member. One possibility is that my mother Olly Swaim acquired this information after my Grandmother Belle Swaim’s death in 1968 when they cleaned out her house and went through her belongings.
In my research I have been able to validate much of the information from primary and secondary source materials and have found this family tree to be surprisingly accurate with the exception of a few typos.
My Swaim paternal ancestry described in the Swaim Family Record is as follows:
My research began with the Swaim ancestry. As a result, that ancestry is dealt with in more detail than the other branches. The scope of the Swaim ancestry presented is generally focused on the Swaim branches close to the main paternal branches my Swaim family descends from. I do not portray this document as a summation of the Swaim’s in general. The title may be misleading as I do not include all Swaim’s in Indiana and Oklahoma but rather focus on my family ancestry.
Research of family lineages prior to 1800 is quite difficult since there are limited primary materials. Most genealogy information prior to 1800 is obtained from baptismal records, land records, wills, family bibles and cemetery records.
I have made liberal use of end-notes to indicate sources for the information as much as possible. Many primary sources were used including marriage records, census information, cemetery records, Social Security Death Index, etc as well as secondary information contained in books researched by others.
I have compiled this information mainly out of curiosity. This work has been developed as a hobby on a part-time basis. I have tried to ensure the information presented is as accurate as possible to the best of my ability. However, I offer this information “as is” and strongly suggest that any researcher using this information independently verify and corroborate my findings. My sole purpose in developing this book is to preserve family ancestry information that has been made available to me or that I have been able to research and make this information available for my descendants and others. Perhaps it will be of some use and interest to someone someday.
Overview of the Swaim Family
The Swaim family lineage can be traced back to Holland according to general consensus of researchers and DNA testing. There are several theories in regard to the specific ancestors. Those theories are discussed later in this document. A common element in all the competing theories is that the Swaim ancestor’s migration from Holland to America occurred during the 1660’s5.
The Dutch had a patronymics surname convention whereby each generation changed their surname to a name that was derived from their father’s first name. As an example, Thys Barentsen’s father’s first name was Barent and his son, Thys, would assume a surname of Barentsen which meant ‘son of Barent’6. The Tysen surname is another example of this naming system. However, the English ‘encouraged’ these new settlers to adopt the English tradition and settle on a permanent surname.
As a result, investigation into early land and baptismal records yields a variety of surnames and aliases as the family evolved towards a permanent surname in the 1600’s and early 1700’s. Some of these surnames and aliases in this transition period include Tysen, Tice, Tyse, Swame, Sweem, Swim and finally Swaim7.
“Both his mother Margaret and his paternal grandmother Massah were Swaims. He always pronounced it “Swim” (as in “swimming”) and so did everyone else in North Carolina until some member of the tribe sprouted an interest in phonetics or reformed spelling and set a new style, or until some logical-minded schoolteachers got a hold of the Swaim children and persuaded them such pronunciations as the ancient one just simply could not be. The 1790 Census spells the name Swim.” - Sidney Swaim Robins1
The early colonists would Will their land and property to their first male son. The initial settlements and surrounding lands became settled and the other sons found themselves having to migrate and settle elsewhere. This pattern along with the population growth and constant influx of new settlers resulted in the eventual colonization of America.
The following is an account of the early Swaim family as related by Barbara Trujillo’s great great great grandmother:
“Our grandma's back in NC chewed tobacco and smoked pipes. Most were strict Baptists that felt every other religion wrong. A few were Quakers and the Swaims' to begin with were Moravians. But when they went to VA and NC they married women of other faiths and let the women raise the family as they wanted. Some of the old grandpa's were just this side of wheeler-dealers when they wanted land. All our lines fought in the Revolutionary War for American Freedom. In the Civil War they fought on both sides [most on the Confederate side]. Every family of them had at least one son or more that was a preacher. Only 2 were ordained preachers. We also had thru 1700 and 1800 several doctors, lawyers, and high level educators. One was a top professor at the college in Durham, NC. There was also a famous writer, a William Swaim. ggggg grandma Charity Teague was one of the best shots in the county with a squirrel gun. She also won several blue ribbons at church fairs for her cooking. ggggg grandma Elizabeth Vickrey killed a wild cat with a peggin [a wooden milk bucket] on her way to milk. ~ Barbara Trujillo [Barbara's gg grandmother told these stories to the family when they were in Kansas and many times they were snowed in.”2
Based on the Swaim-Tysen Family book and other sources the general migration of the Swaim line that I descend from was as follows:
Holland > New York (Staten Island) > North Carolina > Indiana > Oklahoma.
Most of my family Swaim ancestors settled in the Randolph county area in North Carolina. Later many Swaim’s migrated to Indiana in the mid-1800’s. My Swaim branch would later migrate to Oklahoma and eventually to Texas.
Figure 3 Swaim family migration in America (my ancestry)
The following represents my likely paternal Swaim ancestry based on information to be described later in this document.
Figure 4 Swaim paternal ancestry – Jack Stuart Swaim to John H. Swaim
Figure 5 Swaim Paternal Ancestry – John H. Swaim to Thys Barentsen8