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

Where did the Scottish McBee family come from? What is the Scottish McBee family crest and coat of arms? When did the McBee family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McBee family history?

The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McBee 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.


The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years McBee has appeared as McBeth, Beaton, Beeton, MacBeth, MacBeaton, McBee and many more.

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 FindlŠich) (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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McBee research. Another 319 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1600, 1609, and 1763 are included under the topic Early McBee History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McBee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The McBee were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

McBee Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Vardry McBee, who arrived in Virginia in 1773


  • Richard D. McBee (b. 1964), American President, Chief Executive Officer, Director of Mitel Networks Corp
  • Lee McBee (b. 1951), American blues musician, singer and harmonica player
  • Rives McBee (b. 1938), American professional golfer
  • Deron Michael McBee (b. 1961), American actor and sportsman
  • Cecil McBee (b. 1935), American post bop jazz bassist
  • William K. McBee, American Democrat politician, Member of Kentucky State House of Representatives 60th District; Elected unopposed 1973; Elected 1975
  • V. A. McBee, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Lincoln County, 1860-61
  • R. C. McBee, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Mississippi, 1916
  • Louis McBee, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, 2007, 2009
  • John C. McBee, American Republican politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Mitchell County, 1921-22


  • Out of the Wilderness by Janice Mercer.

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


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  1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The McBee Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McBee 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 14 January 2016 at 10:08.

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