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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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 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 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


Bain Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Bain, aged 10, arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • George Bain, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • George Bain, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Walter Bain, who arrived in Canada in 1821
  • William Bain, aged 27, a blacksmith, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Matilda" from Cork


Bain Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Robert Bain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838
  • James Bain arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Margaret Bain arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Robert Bain arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • D. Bain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duncan" in 1849


Bain Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Watson Bain landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Watson Bain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Brilliant" in 1841
  • Anne Bain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Brilliant" in 1841
  • James Bain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Brilliant" in 1841
  • William Bain arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863


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  • Roderick Bain (1922-2014), American non-commissioned officer in the Second Platoon of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division, United States Army during WWII
  • 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
  • Edgar C. Bain (1891-1971), American metallurgist
  • Don Bain, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Colorado, 1996
  • Charles R. Bain, American Republican politician, Chair of Berkeley County Republican Party, 1969, 1973-75; Presidential Elector for West Virginia, 1972
  • Billy Bain, American politician, Mayor of Miami Springs, Florida, 2003-05
  • Alexander Bain, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Port Hawkesbury, 1907-16
  • Abraham Bain, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Columbia County, 1838
  • Hattie P. Bain, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Great Bend, Kansas, 1885-90
  • Jack Bain, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oregon, 1956

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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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  7. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  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 19 February 2016 at 14:36.

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