Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surname Saturday - 21 November 2009

The name I research the most for my family line, is naturally, my maiden name. It began as "Bean", or at least for 3 generations before my father it was "Bean". In our particular line, it wasn't until the 20th century when family members began changing the spelling to "Beane". My own grandfather's last name was spelled "Bean". But I am getting ahead of myself here.

It is believed that before 1792 the spelling was actually "McBean". And that particular ancestor [my gr-gr-gr-grandfather] is believed to have been a conscripted soldier in the American Revolution from either Ireland or Scotland [DNA evidence pushes that possibility more to Ireland than Scotland]. Family lore states he "served under Lord Cornwallis" during the Revolution. We know he received land grants in the western lands of Virginia [into what is now West Virginia]. He disappears from all records about 1803-1804, and his children are placed for indenture in 1804. His land is sold in 1805 for back taxes. And his widow is listed on the tax rolls of 1805 as owing "nothing atall, owning only her spinning wheel and clothes".

The next generation is immediately known at birth as "Bean". There were 2 of the brothers. One had a rather large family. And the other, has had no spouse or family found on record to date. He died alone, with only a friend reporting his death, and his grave unknown.

The brother with family married and had 13 children. All of these children were born with the last name "Bean". But it is with this generation that we begin to see a division in those utilizing the "e" on the end of the name. There are complete lines of this generation that remain without the "e" to this very day. However, most have morphed into the now known "Beane".

My gr-grandfather was in that generation. His was a rather strange case, as at times he used the "e" on the end of his name, and at others he did not. Even reflecting this uncertainty in his own signatures, sometimes signing with- sometimes signing without. However, his children were all born without the "e" on the end of their name.

My own grandfather falls into this next generation. Grandpa was adamant that the family not have the "e" on the end of their name. And each child was born with the last name "Bean". Their birth records ALL reflect this. However, as they reached adulthood, each and every one adopted the little alphabetical change to their name. My own Dad's birth certificate lists his last name as "Bean", however, all other documents reflect his name as "Beane". By the time I came along, and all of my cousins, the "e" was a permanent fixture.

I do have "cousins" from the other branches of our family, in Kentucky and Arizona, whohave remained true to the "Bean" name. That is if one can say the name is true! We know that it metamorphed from McBean to Bean before it ever transformed to Beane.

It will be interesting to peek into our name in another 300 years, and see just what it has become by then! Perhaps "Bene" or Biene" or Bien" or just "Ben".

Only time will tell.

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