Monday, November 17, 2008

The Theory of Bea

So, my last name is pretty weird. It's impossible to spell if you have only heard it, and it's impossible to pronounce it if you've only seen it written. I've had a few people in my past who have done it correctly, but for the most part that's been sheer luck because they mostly assumed it was pronounced strange and just guessed right. Anyways, my point is, I have a few theories on the origin of my last name and I thought I might share them. I'm sure other members of my family have ideas about where it originates, but we'll go with mine. First off my last name is spelled B-E-A and pronounced BAY. Some people in my family think it's pronounced BAY-UH, so even we don't agree amongst ourselves. Now, my first theory (and this one is a long shot) is that it's from Turkish origin. I have no idea if I have any sort of Turkish in my background, and I really highly doubt it, but nonetheless, it is possible that my name is somehow derived from the Turkish equivalent of Mister. Bey (bronounced BAY) in Turkish is a title given to men and it very simply means "lord." Ok, now that I have that crazy theory out of the way, theory number 2: it's German and I am somehow related to a German cardinal who lived from the end of the 19th century through the mid-20th century. The only Bea I've ever found that has a wikipedia article (or any article for that matter) is Augustin Bea. He was born in Riedböhringen in 1881 and died in 1968. Our family connection would have to go back further than when he was born but it's not a common name, so its all too possible. Granted just because his last name is Bea also, does not mean that it comes from a German origin, which leads me to my third theory which I think has the most probability. It's an Irish name. There is a Catholic high school back at home by the name of O'Dea, and it is pronounced OH DAY. After I realized this I thought about all the words that look one way in Irish but are pronounced another way (take Siobahn for example). There was also a Saint Bega of Celtic origin which is sometimes cited as Saint Bey or Bee. I kinda like the idea of being descended from a saint.

I think I'm going against the grain in my family, they all think it's definitely form German origin, and by golly, they might absolutely be right, which would be great because I just want to know. But I like throwing my wild theories out there. Anything is possible in this day and age. For your consideration, here are some articles, think about this...then question your own last name.

Augustin Bea
Mister Bey
Irish Language History
Saint Bega
Bea Death Records

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, my last name was Bea also. Pronounced the same way you said yours is pronouned. Also family said it was originally pronounced BAY-UH. My family is definitely from Germany, Baden-Baden area. My Grandfather was the 1st cuz to the Cardinal. Very rare name, indeed. I have found through different sites that there are many with the Bea last name in Italy. So, go figure. Guess, we will never know. Many people ask me if it is French since Black Forest Area is near the French border.

Marian Bea Pruitt