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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Bain family come from? What is the Scottish Bain family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bain family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bain family history?

The history of the ancestors of the Bain family begins among the Pictish clans ancient Scotland. The name Bain comes from the Gaelic word Beathan or betha which means life. Bean was also the name of a saint in the Breviary of Aberdeen.

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Prior to the invention of the printing press in the last hundred years, documents were basically unique. Names were written according to sound, and often appeared differently each time they were recorded. Spelling variations of the name Bain include Bean, Beane, Beyn, Bayn, Bene, Bane, Baine, Beine, Bayne, Beyne, Been, Beaine, MacBain, MacBean, MacVain, MacBean, MacVan and many more.

First found in Aberdeen (part of the modern Grampian region), where one of the first times the name arose was a Bean who was a magistrate circa 1210. It is known, however, that the MacBains moved to Invernessshire, as sod bearers to the Chiefs of the great Clan Chattan (a powerful confederation of early Clans). The name literally means "son of the fair lad," and was frequently translated to MacBean (Bain).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bain research. Another 194 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1411, 1550, and 1745 are included under the topic Early Bain History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Bain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Bain family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 89 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The freedom of the North American colonies was enticing, and many Scots left to make the great crossing. It was a long and hard journey, but its reward was a place where there was more land than people and tolerance was far easier to come by. Many of these people came together to fight for a new nation in the American War of Independence, while others remained loyal to the old order as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of Scots in North America have recovered much of this heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and other such organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important and early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Bain:

Bain Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Alexander Bain who settled in Maryland in 1774
  • James Bain who settled in New York in 1774
  • Mathew Bain, aged 25, landed in New York in 1774
  • William Bain, aged 26, landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1775
  • Andrew Bain, aged 23, landed in New York in 1775


Bain Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Robert E Bain, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Edward Bain, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Henry Bain, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1867
  • Thomas Bain, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868
  • Alexander Bain, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870


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  • Addison Bain, retired NASA scientist and hydrogen expert
  • Barbara Bain (b. 1931), born Millicent Fogel, American actress, probably best known for her role on Mission: Impossible (1966 to 1969)
  • George Grantham Bain (1865-1944), New Yorker news photographer
  • Edgar C. Bain (1891-1971), American metallurgist
  • Conrad Stafford Bain (1923-2013), Canadian-born, American actor, best known for his leading role in Diff'rent Strokes and as Dr. Arthur Harmon on Maude
  • Aly Bain MBE (b. 1946), Scottish musician
  • Alexander Bain (1818-1903), Scottish philosopher and psychologist
  • Alexander Bain (1811-1877), Scottish instrument inventor, technician, and clockmaker, inventor of the fax machine
  • George Bain (1920-2006), Canadian journalist
  • Donald Henderson "Dan" Bain (1874-1962), Canadian athlete and merchant, inductee into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

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  • The Life and Ancestry (including the Bain Family) of John Thistlehwaite Baynes 1833-1891 by Richard C. Baynes.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Touch not the catt bot a targe
Motto Translation: Touch not the cat without a shield.

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  1. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  6. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Bain Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bain Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 April 2014 at 04:08.

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