ORIGIN OF THE NAME
How did the name "BEALS" originate? That was probably the question that prompted Frank Lee Beals to research and write the "booklet" that is reproduced in the following pages. It is unknown at this time where he fits into the Beals family tree but he was probably born between 1860 and 1880.
A copy of the booklet is at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and the second page has the notations "CS71 B384 1929" and "Gift author Dec. 13, 1929". The title page looks like this:
BEAL (e,l,s) THE ANCIENT
The delve into the past will at times encounter
difficulties which seem insurmountable, and this I found to
be only too true in my efforts to trace the name of Beal (e,l,s) to its
origin. However the kindly aid and
assistance extended to me by Mrs Harriet Taylor, who has
charge of the genealogical section of the Newberry Library
in Chicago, enabled me to overcome the obstacles that I
encountered and to proceed with a minimum of delay to the
solution of my problem. In fact the uniform courtesy and
assistance of everyone connected with the library made what
might otherwise have been a most difficult task a pleasure.
Mrs. Taylor's many helpful suggestions undoubtedly lessoned
my labor very materially.
The library of the Union League Club of Chicago was another
rich field in my search. Many pleasant hours have I spent
poring over its almost priceless volumes of pre-biblical
lore and mythology in surroundings most conducive to
research, study and reflection. Mrs. B. Frank, the courteous
and efficient librarian, aided me in selecting those books
which would be most likely to yield up information of the
character I was seeking.
The University Club Library, also of Chicago, gave much
information from its very fine collection of histories and
records of religion and religions.
While much of the material amassed in my search came from
independent sources, a great deal was derived from these
libraries. To each of them, and to Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Frank, I want to express my most sincere appreciation.
Frank Lee Beals
For the preparation of this booklet it has been necessary to bring together information gathered from many sources. Research along any one line would not have produced the proofs necessary to show the origin of the name Beal.
The name Beal is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in
existence, going back as it does to the beginning of all
things, and being connected with the creation of man
himself. As a surmame it dates back to about the 11th
century when surnames first began to be employed.
In its present form it first came to light some 1200 years
before Christ, although it had undoubtedly been in use for
many centuries before that.
The real origin and significance of the name Beal has
puzzled antiquarians, and most writers have been content to
guess at its origin. The name has many local meanings in
Great Britain and these local meanings are significant in
connecting the name with the origin.
The question has to be asked, "What's in a name?" Puteanus
answered the query long before it was asked when he said
"Sine nomine, homo non est". There are countless hosts of
nameless ones who have had their brief moment of life and
who are gone without trace. It is as though they had never
It is not strange that the name Beal has many terminations,
nor that there are several different ways of spelling it,
for, in the early development of spelling each individual
was his own authority. Nor is it surprising, considering the
source from which names were derived that families having
the same name are wholly unrelated.
However in the case of Beal, which I consider the basic name
from which all of those having the same root, regardless of
branch, took their origin, the spelling has remained
constant. That Beal is a Celtic name most authorities agree
and I shall show that this is true.
While this booklet is brief enough, the material which has
gone into it has taken years to assemble and a casual
reading cannot possibility give an idea of the time and
labor involved in bringing it together. Only one who has
searched hundreds of volumes of all kinds, and in different
places, for facts, many of them obscure, can appreciate the
laboriousness of the task. Of all the books consulted only
one out of ten produced material of value. Although much
genealogical research was involved in the early stages of my
quest it yielded little of value since information about
people or families prior to the 12th century is obscure. But this booklet does not in any way treat of genealogy,
except of a few mythological characters, it deals wholly
with the origin of the name Beal.
Beal is best known as a place name having many and varied
meanings, the meaning varying with the locality. Just why it
is a place name has not before been revealed, but the reason
will be unfolded herein.
In a search of British records an old Norman name, Bealum,
is encountered and this name is connected with a location. Among old British surnames is found Beal, indigenous to
Yorkshire; Beale, to Durham; Beales, to Suffolk; and Bealey,
to Derbyshire. More ancient still are the names Beald,
Bealde, Bealdfrith, Bealdbere, Bealdgaer, Bealdheath,
Bealdherd, and Bealdhelm. These were all surnames.
It is recorded that a noble born Saxon girl named Bealdhild
was sold as a slave in France and that she later became the
queen of Clovis 2nd.
The last king of Kent was named Bealdred.
Bealdwine 5th, Count of Flanders, Godson of King Edward 3rd,
was the father of Queen Matilda.
As early as the 14th century local meanings of the name Beal
were to be found, viz., "of Beal" or "Beal-on-the-hill". This latter meaning has been handed down to the present day,
but where it had its origin has never before been explained. I propose to show just how this meaning was attached to the
name, and why.
A study of Irish place names throws further light on the
subject, more than does the study of any of the other place
names. This is natural since it is most likely the name was
used in Ireland before it was used in Britain.
The meaning attributed to the name Beal as an Irish Place Name follow:
Beal, "a mouth or entrance to a ford", "opening of a glen or
valley" or "a pass of some kind".
For example: Bealnashure (ford mouth of the stream), a
village situated at an ancient ford; Beal-y-phurt, mouth of
the port; Bealevayr(y), entrance of the road;
Beeal-Fayn-y-Geay, wide entrance of the wind; Beal-e-coan,
mouth of the valley.
The place names of the Isle of Man are the same.
In the Place Names of Dacies is found Bealleac Bridge, river
mouth of the Flagstone. Bealaclare, a bridge; Bealanabrack,
the ford mouth of the trouts.
There is a Bealadangan in Galway and a Bealnamulla in
In Scotland there is Bealach Colluscord, pass of the hill,
and Beallid at the mouth of Glen-banchr.
In the place names of England and Wales, Beal of
Northhumberland is given as "by the hill", or "near the
(Roman) wall". Bealings is quoted as a patronymic, "place of
the sons of Bella". Bealach Buidhe, yellow pass; Bealach
Dearg, red pass; Bealachodhar, reddish yellow pass".
The river Beal joins the Roch at Rochdale. Beal Moor is
identified with the old river name.
Dr. Eilert Ekwall says that Beal is a Celtic name, but that
the etymology is doubtful. It will be shown that the
etymology is not doubtful.
In a Glossary of Cornish Names mention is made of Beal's
Dr. James M. Cann gives Beales as a war name, meaning bold.
Some writers have suggested that the name Beal 'may' have
originated with that of the Scandinavian giant Beli. This
has been a mere suggestion and nowhere has an effort been
made to trace a connection. In the first place Beli is not
connected with the name of a place while Beal is distinctly
a place name. There is a similarity in the spelling of the
In order to show there is no connection between the two
names it is necessary to trace the mythology concerning
Beli. He was the brother of Gerda who had a son by Frey.
Beli attacked Frey who slew him. They were all giants. The
giants were the first creatures to come to life among the
iceburgs. They were the opponents and rivals of the gods.
Howeyer Beli was descended from the god Kari. In the early
Irish Myths he is called the god of Death, is the son of
Manogan and Mathonwy, a mother goddess. In the mythology of
early Britain Beli ruled the island. He ruled Britain when
it was invaded by Maxen Wledig, Roman Emperor, and was
Only by an enormous stretch of imagination can Beal be
linked with Beli.
Since Beal is admittedly a Celtic name it is essential that
the history of the Celtic race be studied and that their
customs and practices be analyzed. The Celts came up out of
the valley of the Danube about 1200 B.C. and established
dwellings about the lakes in Switzerland. There are two
towns still in existence in Switzerland which bear names of
peculiar significance, Baal and Biel. The Celts were the
earliest Aryan settlers in Europe. They were gradually
driven westward until they spread over Britain, Ireland,
France, Belguim, Switzerland, Northern Italy and Spain,
reaching the height of their development during the first
and second centuries.
The Druids were their priests who taught the existence of
one god, "Beal". Celtic antiquarians claim that Beal means
"the source of all things" or "the life of everything". It
is generally admitted that the Celtic god Beal has affinity
with the Pheonecian god Baal. In each case the supreme deity
was identified with the sun, and fire was regarded as a
symbol of divinity. The remnants of one of the Drudical
places of worship still stands at Stonehenge, Salisbury
Plains, England. It consists of a circle of large stones and
this was their sacred place. Generally these sacred circles
were situated 'near some stream' or 'on a hill'. This may
account for the river name Beal. The Druids had also their
'high places', hence "Beal-on-the-Hill". The records of the
second invasion of Britain by the Romans under Caesar
contain accounts of the religious practices of the Druids.
Benjamin Thorpe says of the sacred fires of the Druids,
"This custom of kindling sacred fires on certain days
prevails throughout the whole of Europe (1851), and was
known to antiquity, particularly in Italy. The Kelts kindled
such fires, on the first of May, to the god Beal, (thence
even now called Bealtine)".
The spelling of the modern name Beal is identical with that
of the god of the Druids. The local meanings attributed to
the place name Beal tie up definitely with the Druidical
practices in the worship of their god. The place name Beal
(e,l,s) undoubtedly originated with the god of the Druids,
This however does not explain how Beal became a place name nor does it show the origin of the name, hence it is necessary to go further back into antiquity. It now seems better to go back to the beginning and trace the name forward to its more modern connection.
The name originated with Belus, a god, third descendant of
Io, son of Libya. He has affinity with Bali of Hindu
mythology and with Baal, the principal male deity of the
Phoenecian and Canaanitish nations. Nebuchadnezzar built a
temple to Belus and it was inside this temple that the tower of Babel stood. The Assyrians erected the first statue to
him and worshipped him as a god, calling him Baal. The word
'baal' signifies lord and master of the universe. There is a
temple to Baal at Tanis. This Syro-Phoenecian deity is the
Baal of Hebrew Scriptures. He has affinity with the Egyptian
god Set and with Assyrian god Bel.
The Babylonians believed that before the creation seven
spirits rebelled in heaven and that later a part of the
heavenly choir followed them. They were all cast out of
Heaven and man was created.
They believed that in the beginning all was chaos and
darkness and that monsters of every kind moved through it,
and that a woman named Omorka ruled over them all. Belus
appeared and cleft the woman in twain. From-one half of her
body he made the heavens and from the other half the earth. In order that the earth might be inhabited Belus ordered
another god to cut off his (Belus) head and to mix his blood
with earth. When this was done man appeared.
Stephen of Byzantium, in quoting Philo the Phoenecian,
states that Babylon was founded by Belus two thousand years
before the reign of Semiramis which was about two thousand
two hundred years before Christ. According to Megasthenes,
Belus laid the foundation of Babylon when the waters of the
flood had subsided.
Belus became the Baal, or ruler, of Babylon, and, according
to the historians of Armenia, was deified and worshipped by
the name of Baal. Belus had a daughter who was queen of
Baal worship then began in Babylonia and it came in contact
with the monotheism of our own civilization. In Assyrian
mythology Bel (affinity with Baal) is credited with the
creation which is identical with that attributed to Belus.
While Baal was the principal god of the Phoenecians it was
the Carthagenians who spread his worship. Their heroes bore
his name, as Hannibal, which was written in the Punic
inscriptions Hannibaal, signifying "by the grace of Baal";
and Hasdrubal, Azrubaal, meaning "help of Baal". The
Canaanites and Maobites carried the worship of Baal to the
Baal was worshiped in different forms or in different
relations. There was Baalberith, the Covenant Baal or lord;
Baalzebub, the fly lord or Baal; Baal Peor of Mount Peor, or
Baal of the opening.
These definitions are particularly significant when
considered in connection with the meaning of the place names
of Britain and Ireland.
The Beltane fires of Scotland are a survival of Baal worship
although the form came to them through Baal, the god of the
The Scriptures mentions "Chamanim", the temples consecrated
to the worship of Baal and in which a perpetual fire was
kept burning. It signifies "place enclosed with walls". Baal
Shemen is the god who dwells in heaven and is analogous to
the Greek Zeus.
Baal worship extended to a point where they (baals) were as
numerous as the objects or places which they inhabited. There were baals of springs, trees, animals, mountains,
streams, and fords as well as celestial baals. The belief
was strong among the semitic races and other primitive
peoples that every natural object that could do something
should be reverenced as divine. Baal cults sprang up among
the Greeks and Romans, in Syria and Arabia, as well as in
Canaan and Phoenecia. When the Hebrews dispossessed the
Canaanites they took over parts of their worship, and, in
order to reconcile this with fidelity to their own deity,
Jehovah himself was called Baal and his name was associated
with the cults of the alters and sanctuaries, generally
called "high places". This should be considered in
connection with the Druidical "high places" and
"Beal-on-the-Hill". The names of places were taken from
Baal, and Beal is a place name. Beal is defined as having
been "derived from the name of a place". The name Beal is
Celtic. The Celtic religion has its origin in Baal worship
which originated with Belus.
The name Beal, Baal, Belus must be between 6200 and 6500
years old, or to state it another way it must have been
in existence for 195 generations, more or less. Undoubtedly
it originated with Belus and was handed down through time in
the religious practices of many peoples.
[Well !!! There it is word for word (with all the commas
included). The booklet also includes two pages of
Has Frank Lee Beals made a convincing argument concerning the origin of the "Beal" name or has he constructed a network of facts which lacks the glue to hold them together?
It is left to the reader to be the judge.]