Family history

The von Schwerin family dates back all the way to 1178 with the oldest records referring to a Bernard, commonly seen as the family ancestor. The family and its name originates from the county of Schwerin in Mecklenburg, today a part of Germany, and the city of Schwerin, today the state capitol of the German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The family is therefore of German origin, but has since long been part of Swedish history and can be seen in Swedish historical documents such as military service records and land ownership.

The family has since long been part of the German nobility, but it was not included in the Swedish nobility until 1719. Philipp Bogislaus von Schwerin (1687–1736) from Wopersnow in Mecklenburg enlisted himself 1710 as a colonel (överste) in a Bremen cavalry regiment in Swedish service during the Great Northern War (Stora nordiska kriget). In 1712 Philipp was captured by the Danish but as soon as he was released in 1713, he returned to military service and participated in the defence of Stralsund. In 1715 he was promoted to major general (generalmajor) and was again captured by the Danish, but managed to escape in 1717. King Karl XII granted Philipp the rank of freiherr (friherre, referred to as baron) in 1717 following the military service for Sweden in the war against Denmark and was 1719 introduced in the Swedish house of nobility in Stockholm as family number 133. Philipp continued to follow king Karl XII on his military campaign into Norway where he was one of the first high-ranking officers to reach the king after the leathal shot in Fredrikshald. Philipp died as a Commander (befälhavare) for the Russian army in Ukraine.

Claus Philipp von Schwerin (1689-1748) from Löbenitz in Pomerania enlisted in 1707 as a colonel, later major general, in the Uppland infantry regiment. Claus was in 1720 elevated to the rank of freiherr through a royal resolution by queen Ulrika Eleonora and was introduced into the same family (133) as Philipp Bogislaus von Schwerin.

Claus Philipp's son Jacob Philip von Schwerin (1719-1779) was 1739 appointed as a royal court assistant (hovjunkare) and 1743 to chamberlain (hovherre) at the Swedish court. Jacob was in 1747 appointed councillor of the Swedish royal government of Pomerania (regeringsråd i Pommern), 1763 president of the Swedish royal high tribunal of Wismar (president i Wismarska tribunalet) and in 1769 councillor of the realm (riksråd). In 1770 Jacob joined prince Karl XIII on his trip abroad and was in 1771 made marshal of the realm (överstemarskalk) to the queen mother Lovisa Ulrika. Jacob was for his services granted a knighthood in the Order of the seraphim in 1765 and in 1766 granted the rank of count by king Adolf Fredrik, even though the official letter was not issued until 1776 by king Gustav III. When King Gustav III issued the letter, Jacob's brother-in-law Werner Detlof von Schwerin af Spantekow (1746-1810) (member of the noble family 1775) was also included in the elevation to count. The new comital branch was introduced formally in the House of nobility in 1778 as family 94. The original letter confirming the rank of count, is today stored in the Swedish national archives.

Schwerins släktvapen 4

The comital branch family crest

Famous people with the name von Schwerin

An early introduction of the family name in Sweden took place with the marriage of Albrekt of Mecklenburg and Rikardis von Schwerin in 1359. Albrekt was king of Sweden between 1364 and 1389.

One of the grandsons of the comital branch founder Jacob Philip von Schwerin was Wilhelm von Schwerin who is mentioned in the Finnish national epic work Fänrik Ståls sägner. As a sub-lieutenant of the Swedish artillery forces, he held off the advance of a superior Russian force in the Finnish war in 1808. Wounded in the war, Wilhelm died later that year.

A personality from more modern times, we find Ulrich Wilhelm von Schwerin von Schwanenfeld who was a military officer and a part of the inner circle of the Germany resistance movement during WWII and who in a failed attempt on Hitler's life in 1944 was sentenced to death.