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About the study

The Beal One-Name Study is an outgrowth of the Beal Surname DNA Project, started several years ago by Charles E. Beal. It currently includes over 100 participants. In the process, Beal information was accumulated on a great number of Beal/Beale/Beall/Beals lines, not only for the U.S.A., Canada, and England but also Brazil, Chile, Ireland and Germany. I decided to begin the One-Name Study to bring together the large amount of genealogical data gathered over the years, assist other researchers where possible and continue to collect information on Beal families worldwide.

Variant names

Spelling variations include Beall, Beale, Bale, Beals and Beales

Name origin

1. Beal is a place name in Northumberland, just south of Berwick, on the River Tweed (Behil coming from Old English beo+hyll, meaning bee hill, or the place where bees swarm). It is also the name of a village in West Yorkshire (Begale from Old English beag (ring) and halh (nook). In this case it may refer to a bend in the River Aire. It may also be derived from the personal name, ‘Beaga’. 2. The Gaelic word, “Beal” or “Beul” is translated as “mouth” (either of a river or pertaining to oral gifts, such as oration or singing). The name may also be derived from the ancient Irish name 'O'Baetheghaile'.

History of the name

The Beal name is found in Northumberland before 1066. Those who bore the surname were possibly members of Border Scots clans who raided England in the 11th and 12th centuries. They may have been descendants of the Boernicians, a people of mixed Pict and Angle blood, who inhabited the border counties of Scotland as well as the northern area of England from Carlisle to Berwick, extending as far south as the north riding of Yorkshire. They may also have had Norse heritage, as the Vikings conducted several raids in the 8th and 9th century on the priory of Holy Island, near the village of Beal. The other Beal place name, located in West Yorkshire, is mentioned in the Domesday Book in the year 1086 as ‘Begale’. This village is located in the parish of Kellington, 4 miles east of Pontrefact, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name was also spelled Beaghall or Behal. Robert de Behal became the Prior of the Abbey of Nostell in West Yorkshire in 1246. Early immigrants to North America bearing this surname include: William Beal, passenger on the Fortune, to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 Ninian Beall, born c. 1625, captured by Cromwell in 1650 and sent as an indentured servant to Prince George’s Co. Maryland in 1658 Alexander Beall, born c. 1649, to Prince George’s Co. Maryland James Beall, born c. 1652, to Prince George’s Co., Maryland (The above Bealls appear to have their origins in Fifeshire, Scotland) John Beal, b. 1588, Hingham, Norfolk, England to Boston on the ‘Diligence’ in 1638. Settled in Hingham, Massachusetts. He was the son of the Rev. Edward Beales. Abel Beals, one of the above John Beal's descendants, b 1755 in Hingham, Massachusetts, migrated to Nova Scotia about 1777 Arthur Beal, born probably Devonshire, in York, Maine by 1663 (spelled in early York records as ‘Bale’) William Beal (not related to the above), born 1664, of York, Maine. Also spelled ‘Bale’ in early York records.

Name frequency

In the 1881 census of England and Wales, the following frequencies occur for the surnames: Beal-2812 Beals-232 Beale-3800 Beall-419 Bale-2252 In the 1901 census of Canada, the following frequencies occur for the surnames: Beal-301 Beals-223 Beall-33 Bale-95 Beale-116

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 census of England and Wales, counties with significant numbers of individuals carrying the BEAL surname (excluding London and Middlesex Co.) were: Number of Occurrences/ Counties 201-300 Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire (East and West Ridings) 141-200 Surrey 100-140 Yorkshire, North Riding 50-100 Durham, Northumberland, Devon, Hampshire, Warwick Northamptonshire, Oxford, Buckinghamshire BEALE: this surname variant is more concentrated in the southern counties. Number of Occurrences/ Counties 301-500 Surrey 210-300 Kent, Hampshire, Warwickshire 141-200 Dorset, Sussex 101-140 Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire BEALL: note – the Bealls from Fife: probably a surname variant of Bell Number of Occurrences/ Counties 51-70 Surrey, Devon, Fife 21-30 Kent, Yorkshire (East and West Ridings) 11-20 Northumberland, Durham, Somerset, Sussex Yorkshire (North Riding), Bedfordshire BEALS: this variation is far less common Number of Occurrences/ Counties 51-70 Norfolk 21-30 Suffolk, Yorkshire (West Riding) 11-20 Yorkshire (North Riding) BALE Number of Occurrences/ Counties 301-500 Devon, Somerset 141-200 Leicestershire, Surrey 101-140 Glamorgan


Ancestries for many Beal (and variant spelling) lines in the USA and Canada Information on English Beals from St. Maurice, Plympton, Devon; Hingham, Norfolk; Sunderland, Durham; Tuckley, Gloucestershire; Scottish Bealls from Fifeshire Extracts from: 1881 Census of England and Wales; 1851, 1881, 1901, 1911 Census of Canada 1880 Census USA Civil Registration Index England and Wales LDS International Genealogical Index


BEAL SURNAME DNA PROJECT This project is a multi-surname DNA project. The BEAL SURNAME DNA Project includes the BEAL, BEALS, BEALE, BEALL, BELL, BAILEY, BALES, BAILES, BEALES, BALE, BEEL SURNAME DNA STUDIES. Any other possible variants of the SOUNDEX B400 surnames will be added, as needed. The project will address the ancestry of these lines by studying the 'Y' Chromosome of living males with ancestry consisting of father, grandfather, great grandfather, g.g. grandfather, g.g.g. grandfather, etc., up the surname male line to their first ancestor to be positively identified through genealogical records and beyond! Women may paticipate by using male living close relatives with the correct surname as surrogates for the testing. The objectives of this Y Chromosome DNA Project are: 1. To establish Y chromosome Ancestral Haplotypes for each of the surnames included in this project. 2. To set up charts of the Y Chromosome DNA, including each DNA sample that has been submitted by the participants. 3. To establish if there are common ancestors for each of the surnames. 4. To determine the commonality, if any, between the participating surnames. 5. To determine any commonality in the origins of the surnames, using the first ancestral place of origin from each pedigree for each sample. 6. To provide a genetic signature (Ancestral Haplotype) for each distinct lineage. 7. To place participants' Y-DNA test results in the web pages for this project and a thumbnail migration pattern for each under their name or a coded designation. Now with over 100 participants, we were one of the pioneer DNA projects, originally mentioned in Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter in 5/24/2001 - Archive Beal Surname DNA Project Read at: OPERATION OF THE PROJECT Any individual wanting to be tested through FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA - see their website at may contact one of our administrators at or to receive a group rate. You may furnish your descendants chart or ancestry as well as contact and other information as required for participation in the project. WE ALSO USE A UK FIRM, DNA HERITAGE (DNAH) FOR REASONABLY PRICED TESTING TO POTENTIAL PARTICIPANTS IN THE UK OR ELSEWHERE OUTSIDE THE USA AND CANADA. Please contact a project administrator at for more information. Check out their website at Individuals with little or no recorded ancestry may participate in hopes of making a match to existing haplotypes (genetic signatures) that are part of the project or known data bases. This has been done in several cases in the project. The test is done via simple swabs inside the cheeks of the mouth. A kit and set of instructions are furnished for that purpose. Each participant will be given their individual results and given access to the web site. Each will be identified by a coded number in the charts. None of the participants will be identified nor will their family lineage other than their thumbnail migration pattern from their earliest ancestor, be posted without their permission. Those wishing to be identified for easy contact can express that desire to an administrator. This is a private project run by volunteers for BEAL, BEALE, BEALS, BEALL, BELL, and other Soundex B400 family genealogists. If you are interested in being on the cutting edge of this new genealogy tool, please submit the required information to be tested by either FTDNA or DNAH, as you prefer and send with the descendants chart to one of the above e-mail addresses.



Ann Morden
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