Show ContentsBene History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The roots of the name Bene are found among the Pictish clans of ancient Scotland. The name comes from the Gaelic word Beathan or betha which means life. Bean was also the name of a saint in the Breviary of Aberdeen.

Early Origins of the Bene family

The surname Bene was 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.)

Saint Bean or Beyn (fl. 1011), was, according to Fordun, appointed first bishop of Murthlach by Malclom II, at the instance of Pope Benedict VIII. A fragment of the charter of Malcolm II (1003-1029?), preserved in the register of the diocese of Aberdeen confirms this claim. [1] However, St. Bean is distinctly referred to as a native of Ireland: 'In Hybernia natalis Beani primi episcopi Aberdonensis et confessoris'. [1]

Early History of the Bene family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bene research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1400, 1550 and 1745 are included under the topic Early Bene History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bene Spelling Variations

Although Medieval Scotland lacked a basic set of spelling rules, which meant that scribes recorded names according to their sounds it was not uncommon for the names of a father and son to be recorded differently. As a result, there are many spelling variations of Scottish single names. Bene has been written Bean, Beane, Beyn, Bayn, Bene, Bane, Baine, Beine, Bayne, Beyne, Been, Beaine, MacBain, MacBean, MacVain, MacBean, MacVan and many more.

Early Notables of the Bene family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bene Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bene Ranking

In France, the name Bene is the 7,951st most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Bene family to Ireland

Some of the Bene family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bene migration to the United States +

Thousands of Scots left their home country to travel to Ireland or Australia, or to cross the Atlantic for the North American colonies. The difficult crossing was an enormous hurdle, but those who survived found freedom and opportunity in ample measure. Some Scots even fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence. This century, their ancestors have become aware of the illustrious history of the Scots in North America and at home through Clan societies and other organizations. Passenger and immigration lists show many early and influential immigrants bearing the name Bene:

Bene Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Bene, who landed in New England in 1651 [3]
  • William Bene, who arrived in Virginia in 1695 [3]
Bene Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Bene, who arrived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1701 [3]
  • John Rinehard Bene, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [3]
  • Hans Rinerd Bene, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [3]
Bene Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ludwig Bene, aged 33, who arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1845 aboard the ship "Herschel" [3]
  • Ludwig Bene, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1846 [3]
  • Arthur Bene, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1846 [3]
  • Charlotte Bene, who landed in Galveston, Tex in 1846 [3]
  • Ernst Bene, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1846 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bene (post 1700) +

  • Bene S. Pigman, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Frederick County, 1817, 1821; Member of Maryland State Senate from Western Shore, 1831-36 [4]

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

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. 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)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from on Facebook