Swain Family Research Project

Elizabeth Swain
Born: 5 Aug 1814
perhaps Oneida County NY or Ontario
Father: Ammi Swain
Mother: Abigail Waterbury?
Spouse: George McCool
Married: 1836 - Brantford, Brant, Ontario
Sons: at least 4
Daughters: at least 4
(Reported to have had 10 children)
Died: 26 Dec 1891
Springfield, Sangamon, IL
Buried: Long Grove Cemetery
Macon, IL

See also:

My third-great grandmother, Elizabeth Swain (pictured at right), was the second wife of George McCool, and the mother of ten of his eleven children (eight of whom grew to adulthood). Through this research project, we're learning a great deal more about her ancestry. We encourage all Swain descendants to participate - and to send me information to share about our ancestors.

Editor's note

I'm working hard to determine how best to present a great deal of information in an easily understandable way. Suggestions for improvement, or suggestions of any type, are very welcome at ,

What We Know

According to the McCool family document written by Elizabeth's granddaughter, Elizabeth Swain was born on 5 August 1814 and was orphaned at a young age. The document speculated that her birthplace may have been Vermont or Canada; new evidence suggests that it was Oneida County, NY or Ontario. Through this project, we now believe that she was the fourth and youngest child of Ammi and Abigail (Waterbury?) Swain. We now know that only her mother Abigail had an early death, not both of her parents.

There are at least three apparently independent New England Swain lines from earliest colonial times. Based on DNA evidence so far, it's now almost certain that we descend from the Daniel Swaine line of Suffolk, England and New Haven CT.

For ease of description, I'm calling our direct line the "Ammi Swain" line - and our historical line the "Daniel Swaine" line.

About the Project

A number of Swain cousins have generously provided me with "viewer" access to their lists of DNA matches. I've grouped those cousins into "lines." Everyone related more closely than second cousins is said to be a member of the same Swain line. Second or more distant cousins are placed in their own lines.

I generate a master list of everyone who matches to these known Swain cousins - several hundreds of thousands of people. I then locate the people who match to three or more Swain lines (lines, not cousins). Anyone who matches to three lines of cousins is probably a Swain; if they match to four lines or more, it's almost certain.

One of the difficulties I face right now is that most of my Swain lines descend from Elizabeth - and also match on the McCool and Walker side. I only have one set of matches from a Samuel Swain descendant and one set from a Laura Ann Swain descendant. Unless someone matches to all three of those groups of lines, there's a possibility that they may be related to Elizabeth descendants in one way - and to Samuel or Laura descendants in another.

Even with that limitation, we've been able to make some remarkable discoveries and progress.

Ammi Swain Line

Here's the current list of the twelve Swain descendants who have provided me with their list of AncestryDNA matches, how they're all related, and how they're members of six separate lines of descent.

Click on the image to zoom in:

The McCool document reports that Elizabeth had a brother, Samuel Swain, and sisters Abigail and Laura. Abigail never married and is believed to have had no children. Laura married twice: first to Bramon (sp?) Green (born Aug 1801 in Townsend Township, Norfolk, Ontario) and second to (first name unknown) Burkholder. Many of my known McCool family members match to descendants of Samuel and Abigail, confirming the data from the McCool document.

Samuel and Laura appear in multiple Ancestry trees as being the children of Ammi Swain, born Aug 1776 in Stueben, Oneida County, NY. He lived in Townsend Township, Norfolk, Ontario in 1851 and probably died there between 1851 and 1861. He's reported to have married Abigail (last name may be Waterbury or Waterberry) in 1800. Abigail was born in 1779, and died in 1815 in Ontario. Multiple descendants are named after Ammi, so it appears that he's the correct father.

We have very strong DNA links between the Ammi Swain and the Daniel Swain lines. The paper trail between the two lines isn't strong, but it's starting to come together.

Descendants of Samuel and Laura can expect to match to many of the descendants of Elizabeth Swain and George McCool. For more information, visit the McCool DNA Project.

Complete Ammi Swain DNA Chart

Here's the chart that shows how all of the known Swain descendants are related to each other. Descendants of Samuel Swain are on the far left; descendants of Laura Swain are shown to the right of Samuel's; descendants of Elizabeth are on the right side.

Click on the image to open it in a new tab, then click the new image to zoom in to a readable level:

Samuel Swain Descendant Surnames

A partial list of surnames of Samuel Swain descendants include Berry, Jamieson, Smith, Van Acker. Maiden names of women marrying into the family include Alward, Baker, Disbrow, Gilbert, Hunter, Mayo, Smith, Stewart.

Daniel Swaine Line

AncestryDNA evidence indicates strongly that siblings Samuel, Laura Ann and Elizabeth Swain descend from Daniel Swaine and Dorcas Rose. Daniel emigrated in the mid to late 1600s from the Suffolk (?) area of England to what is now New Haven County CT.

Daniel and Dorcas's third-great grandson, Jacob Swain, was born in Philadelphia PA on 31 May 1762. Many of our cousins strongly match to descendants of at least three of Jacob's children.

Our paper trail, although weak, appears to connect us to Daniel and Dorcas's great-grandson John Swain, born about 1723 in New Haven County CT, and his wife Patience Page. The age difference between the older Patience is unusual, but may be accurate.

Click on the image to open it in a new tab, then click the new image to zoom in to a readable level:


Data Charts

Serious genetic genealogists may want to learn exactly how much DNA they share with our known Swain family members. While I can only provide the exact amount to cousins with who've shared their list of DNA matches with me, that's still quite a bit of information

Here are the data charts!

How You Can Help

All of this information was discovered and verified because eight McCool/Swain cousins, none of whom I've ever met, agreed to provide me with "Viewer" access to their list of DNA matches. My research would be greatly enhanced if additional Swain descendants, whether McCool or not McCool, would do the same.

"Viewer" access to lists of DNA matches is crucial to my research - and is enabling me to smash through our family's brick walls. As of 26 Dec 2017, I have "viewer" access to the DNA matches from twelve descendants of Ammi Swain's three married children:

Samuel Swain
  • Line 1 - RD (my father's fourth cousin)
Laura Ann Swain
  • Line 2 - JT (my father's fourth cousin)
Elizabeth Swain
  • Line 3 - GI, GP, SI, SM (my father and his three sisters)
  • Line 4 - JI (my father's second cousin)
  • Line 5 - AF (my father's second cousin once removed) and PH (my father's second cousin)
  • Line 6 - WK and JJ (siblings; my father's third cousins) plus EM (my father's second cousin once removed)

If you already know that you match to any of us on the Ireland, McCool, Walker or Swain lines, it would be an enormous help if you could provide me with viewer access to your AncestryDNA match list. Please note: this does NOT give me access to your actual DNA results or to information about living people in your tree. If your tree is private, it also doesn't give me access to any part of your tree.

If you're not sure if you match to one of our lines, simply email me the AncestryDNA username that manages your results. I'll check the username against all of our accounts and let you know if, and how closely, you match to each of us. I don't need to know your real name or any other personal information about you or your living relatives. I hope most people will be willing to share the path from their grandparents to one of our lines, but that's not required.

After you know that you match to one or more of us, I'll invite you to share your list of matches with me. Again, this is not required.

I'm happy to share occasional updates of public information to anyone who responds - regardless of whether they participate in the study. Send me an email at and I'll keep you informed.


Are we related?

Here are the GEDmatch Kit #s for my father and mother:

GI: A909282
CL: A216073

This website is under construction. Thanks for your patience!

Website under construction

All of the links below are old and will be replaced.

Please use the buttons across the top.

Interesting Links

Grandma Ireland's 100th Birthday