Show ContentsMcBeath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McBeath family. Their name is derived from the names of Macbeth and Bethune, or Beaton. The Macbeth and Bethune families, who were hereditary physicians to the Chiefs of Macdonald, practiced medicine on the Isles during the Middle Ages and their names merged in English into the one surname of Beaton. The Macbeths were concentrated in Islay and Mull, whereas the Beatons were concentrated in Skye.

Early Origins of the McBeath family

The surname McBeath was first found in the Isle of Islay, where legend has it that the progenitor of this Clan is none other than Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) (1005-1057), the High Steward of Moray. As his mother was a daughter of King Kenneth III, and he married Grudoch, a daughter of the son of King Kenneth III, he had as much of a claim to the Scottish throne as King Duncan I. MacBeth, therefore, challenged Duncan and defeated him in battle in 1040, assuming the throne.

Known in English simply as Macbeth, he was last Celtic king of Scotland, ruling from 1040 to 1057, when he died in battle against future king Malcolm of the Canmore dynasty.

He is best known through the Shakespearean drama bearing his name. Thespians rarely mention the play by the name and typically call it "the Scottish play" as they believe that by uttering the name brings one bad luck.

Early History of the McBeath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBeath research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1600, 1609 and 1763 are included under the topic Early McBeath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McBeath Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McBeath has been spelled McBeth, Beaton, Beeton, MacBeth, MacBeaton, McBee and many more.

Early Notables of the McBeath family

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

United States McBeath migration to the United States +

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McBeath were among those contributors:

McBeath Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John McBeath, aged 37, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774 [1]
  • George McBeath, aged 19, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1775 [1]
McBeath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James McBeath, who arrived in New York in 1833 [1]

Canada McBeath migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McBeath Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Barbara McBeath, aged 45, who landed in Red River, Canada in 1812
  • Andrew McBeath, aged 19, who arrived in Churchill Factory, Canada in 1813
  • Charles McBeath, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • Alex McBeath, who landed in Canada in 1817
  • Robert McBeath, who arrived in Canada in 1817
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McBeath migration to Australia +

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

McBeath Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William James McBeath, aged 46, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Brankenmoor" [2]
  • Benjamin McBeath, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bengal" in 1850 [3]
  • Robert McBeath, aged 53, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" [4]

New Zealand McBeath 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:

McBeath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Margaret McBeath, aged 29, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842 [5]
  • Miss Jean Mcbeath, (b. 1833), aged 26, Scottish dairy maid from Perth travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Victory " arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th May 1859 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name McBeath (post 1700) +

  • William McBeath (1856-1917), Scottish footballer who played from 1872 to 1876, one of the founding members of Rangers Football Club
  • Robert Gordon McBeath VC (1898-1922), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery during World War I
  • Daniel Jason "Dan" McBeath (1897-1963), New Zealand cricketer who played first-class cricket from 1917 to 1927
  • Darin McBeath (b. 1976), Canadian former alpine skier who competed at the 2002 Winter Olympics
  • Tom McBeath, Canadian three-time Jessie Award winning and Gemini Award nominated actor living in Vancouver, best known for playing Harry Maybourne on Stargate SG-1
  • Malcolm Peter McBeath (1880-1957), Canadian politician, 17th Mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia (1915-1917)
  • George McBeath (1740-1812), Scottish-born, Canadian fur trader, businessman and political figure, one of the founders of the Beaver Club in Montreal, elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in a 1793

The McBeath 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: Conjuncta virtuti fortuna
Motto Translation: Good fortune is allied to bravery

  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. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BRANKEN MOOR 1849. Retrieved from
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BENGAL 1850. Retrieved
  4. South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook