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he Scotish surname McBETH is a personal name which has been used as a surname. The name was common in Scotland between the 11th and 14th centuries. The personal name is derived from

the Gaelic "Macc bethad" and literally signifies "son of life".

Spelling Variants:

Beaton
Beatton
Beton
Betton
Bheaton
Beatin
Betune
Betoun
Beutan
Peutan
Beath
Bheath
Bheatha
Beatha
Beatie
Beattie
Beatey
Beaty
Beatty
Bety
Betty
MacBeth
MacBeath

MacBheath
MacBeatha
MacBheatha
McBeth
McBeath
McBheath
McBeatha
McBheatha
M'Beth
M'Beath
M'Bheath
M'Beatha
M'Bheatha
MacBathe
MacBaith
MacBaithe
MacBeith
MacBetha
McBathe
McBaith
McBaithe
McBeith
McBetha

M'Bathe
M'Baith
M'Baithe
M'Beith
M'Betha
Mackbayth
MacBeathaig
MacBehaig
MacBethaig
M'Pheathaig
M'Pehaig
MacBheathrais
Malbeth
Malbet
Melbeth
Malbeod
Melbec
Malbij
Melbe
Melbeht
MacBethson
McBeithson
McBeithsoun

The following are quotes fromThe Surnames of Scotland:Their Origin, Meaning, and HistoryBy George F. Black, Ph.D.New York, New York Public Library; 1946 :

BEATHEN,John Beathen in Meikleglen, 1685 (Kirkcudbright).

BEATON,Two learned families named MacBeath and Beaton or Bethune practised medicine in the Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their names in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries became merged in English in the one surname of Beaton. The MacBeths practised in Islay and Mull, and the Beatons in Skye. The first of the Islay family on record is Fercos Macbetha, who witnessed and probably wrote the Gaelic charter of 1408. The family for the next two centuries were official physicians to the Chiefs of MacDonald, from whom they held lands. Gilchristus M'Veig, surrigicus or surgeon in Islay is in record. Fergus M'Baithe in 1609 received from James VI certain lands in Islay in his official capacity as "principalis medici intra bordas Insularum" - Chief physician within the bounds of the Isles. His son, John Macbeath, succedesin 1628 to the lands, but gave them over to the Thane of Cawdor in following year. The words "Leabar Giolla Colaim Meigbethadh" (book of Malcolm MacBeath)are written on one of the Gaelic manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland, glossed in the same hand "Liber Malcolmi Betune" (Mackinnon, Catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts, 1912, p. 6, 7). The Mull Beatons or Betons were hereditary physicians to the MacLeans of Dowart. In 1572 Hector MacLaine of Dowart granted a charter to Andrew MacDonil Vikinollif(i.e. son of the doctor) and his heirs of the pennyland of Piencross [Pennycross] and Brolas for his skill in the medical art. Martin (p.254) says that Dr. Beaton was sitting on the upper deck of the "Florida" of the Spanish Armada when it blew up in Tobermory Bay in 1588 and he was thrown a good way off, but lived several years after. Anotherof the Mull family was Fergus M'Veagh in Pennycross whose medical ms. is now in the library of Edinburgh University. A branch of this family early settled in the Fraser country, and in 1589 it is recorded that they had possesed a davach in Glenconvinth "time out of mind." In 1558, one of them, James Betoun, attended Lord Lovat. He was known "as Tolly-Mullach - An t-Ollamh Muileach, the Mull doctor - showing that he was of the noted physicians of that island. The race declined in the Aird, and before the end of the sixteenth century one of them, John M'Klich - John son of the Doctor who kept Lord Lovat's flocks, got into trouble by helping himself to his master's muttons, and was saved from punishment by his wit and skill in archery. By 1622 they probably ceased to practise the healing art" (warlaw, intro., p. xxxvii-xxxviii). The Beatons of Skye "were real Beatons or Bethunes from fife, descended from the Lairds of Balfour. A grandson of the fifth Laird, Dr. Peter Bethune, settled in Skye about the middle of the sixteenth century. His descendants were numerous, and intermarried with the best families in Skye and the Isles. They are still strong in Skye. The Gaelic of the name if Peutan or Beutan" (Macbain, Celt. Mon., xvii, p.208). The last of these heriditary physicians came to an end in 1763 in the person of Neil Beaton (Clan Donald, iii, p. 128). Bittoune 1675.

MACBEATH,MACBEITH. Current forms of MACBETH, q.v. Gillemechell M'Bathe held a tenement in Dornoch, 1504 (OPS., II, p. 639). Robert Mackbayth in the parish of Nesting, Shetland, 1576 (Oppressions, p. 21). John M'Beath, heir of Fergus M'Beath of Ballinab, 1628 (Retours, Argyll 33). M'Baith 1663.

MACBEHAIG.The form of MACBETH in Wester Ross. G. MacBheahaig. John McBehaig and Duncane M'Behaig were servants to John Campbell, prior of Ardchattan, 1622(RPC., XII, p. 665). It also occurs in Ross as M'Pheathaig, and is spelled in the Fernaig MS. (1688) M'Pehaig (Rel. Celt., II, p. 90).

MACBETH.A personal name like MACRAE, not a patronymic. It was common in Scotland in early times from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. In old Gaelic it was spelled Maccbeththad, and means 'son of life,' 'a religious person,' 'man of religion,' or 'one of the elect.' In modern Gaelic the name would be spelled Macbeatha. A twelfth-century variant, Malbeth, is found in record as Malbet, Melbeth, Malbeod, Melbec (with t misread as c), Malbij, Melbe and Malbeht. Macbeth (1005-1057), mormaer of Moray, became King of Scots after having murdered King Duncan I at Bothnagowan near Elgin, 14th August 1040. "The use he made of his acquired power so far as authentic records show, was generally for the good of his country; while his character, far from being irresolute, was marked by vigour and ability. He was the friend of the poor, the protector of the monks, and the first Scottish king whose name appears in ecclesiastical record as the benefactor of the Church" (MacKenzie, A short history of the Scottish Highlands and Isles, 1906, p. 39).

MACBETHSON.Thomas Macbethson was bailie of Forfar, 1361 (ER., II, p. 62). Donald MacBeithson and John McBeithsoun took part in the slaughter of William Suthirland of Duffus, 1531.

MACBHEATRAIS.One MacBheatais or MacBeathaig in the middle of the seventeenth century was hereditary bard of the Macdonalds of Sleat. He is mentioned in Maccodrum's 'Dimoladh piob Dhomhnuill Bhain' (Poems and songs, Glasgow, 1894, p. 53). Forbes says a family named MacBheattrais, MacBheatrais, or MacBeathaig were bards in Skye (Placenames of Skye, p. 26).

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