Beath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In Scottish history, few names go farther back than Beath, whose ancestors lived among the clans of the Pictish tribe. They lived in the lands of Beath in Fife. The name is a topographic or local surname, which was given to a family who held a barony or lands, had houses, manors or estates in that area. The name could have also been derived from the Gaelic beith which means birch tree.

Early Origins of the Beath family

The surname Beath was first found in Fife, at the Hill of Beath, a hill and a village in Fife, Scotland just outside Dunfermline and joined to Cowdenbeath. The village is best known as the location of the meeting of the Covenanters at which John Blackadder was one of the preachers in the summer of 1670. As of 1896, it had a population of about 1,300 people.

Early History of the Beath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beath research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1231, 1696, 1480 and 1498 are included under the topic Early Beath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beath Spelling Variations

The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Beath has been spelled Beath, Beeth, Beith, Bait, Baith and others.

Early Notables of the Beath family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was William Beith or Beeth, a Dominican writer, according to Anthony à  Wood, spent his early years at Oxford, and was, towards the middle of his life, made provincial of his order for England. "The apparent...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Beath migration to the United States +

This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Beath:

Beath Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Beath, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [1]
  • Adam Beath, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1716 [1]
  • Walter Beath, who arrived in New England in 1718 [1]
  • Robert Beath who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1766
Beath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry and Robert Beath, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1830

Australia Beath migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Beath Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Robert Beath, aged 25, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [2]

New Zealand Beath migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Beath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Andrew Beath, (b. 1829), aged 45, Scottish agricultural labourer, from Fife travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th February 1875 [3]
  • Mrs. Jane Beath, (b. 1832), aged 42, Scottish settler, from Fife travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th February 1875 [3]
  • Miss Isabella Beath, (b. 1855), aged 19, Scottish settler, from Fife travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th February 1875 [3]
  • Miss Janet Beath, (b. 1857), aged 17, Scottish settler, from Fife travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th February 1875 [3]
  • Miss Jane Beath, (b. 1858), aged 16, Scottish settler, from Fife travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Oamaru" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th February 1875 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Beath (post 1700) +

  • Cynthia Mathis Beath (b. 1944), American economist, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management at the McCombs School of Business
  • Robert B Beath (1839-1914), American Army general who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War, 12th Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1883-1884
  • Paul Beath, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nebraska, 1936 [4]
  • Bill Beath (1921-1987), Australian cricketer who played seven first-class matches for New South Wales between 1946 and 1948
  • Katherine "Kate" Beath (1882-1979), birth name of Katherine McDougall, New Zealand architect, probably the first female architect in New Zealand
  • Barry Beath (b. 1944), Australian former professional rugby league footballer for the St George Dragons (1966-1977) and for the Australia National Team in 1965 and 1971
  • Christopher "Chris" James Beath (b. 1984), Australian football referee in the A-League
  • David Daniel Nicholas "Danny" Beath BSc, PhD (1960-2013), German-born, British award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer and botanist
  • Elizabeth Margaret "Betty" Beath (b. 1932), née Eardley, an Australian composer, pianist, and music educator
  • Sir John Beath, British Diplomat


The Beath Motto +

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: Fortuna virtute
Motto Translation: By good fortune and valour.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/medina1852.shtml
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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