MacVean History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the MacVean family were part of a tribe called the Picts. The name MacVean is derived 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 MacVean family

The surname MacVean 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 MacVean family

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

MacVean Spelling Variations

The appearance of the printing press and the first dictionaries in the last few hundred years did much to standardize spelling. Prior to that time scribes spelled according to sound, a practice that resulted in many spelling variations. MacVean has been spelled Bean, Beane, Beyn, Bayn, Bene, Bane, Baine, Beine, Bayne, Beyne, Been, Beaine, MacBain, MacBean, MacVain, MacBean, MacVan and many more.

Early Notables of the MacVean family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacVean family to Ireland

Some of the MacVean 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 MacVean migration to the United States +

The expense of the crossing to the North American colonies seemed small beside the difficulties of remaining in Scotland. It was a long and hard trip, but at its end lay the reward of freedom. Some Scots remained faithful to England and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others fought in the American War of Independence. Much of this lost Scottish heritage has been recovered in the last century through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of MacVean:

MacVean Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Katherine Rose Mac Vean, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1921 aboard the ship "Mohawk" from San Juan, Puerto Rico [2]
  • John Mac Vean, aged 62, arrived in New York in 1924 aboard the ship "Regina" from Liverpool, England [3]
  • Janet MacVean, aged 47, arrived in New York in 1924 aboard the ship "Tuscania (1922)" from Glasgow, Scotland [4]


The MacVean 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.




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