In our September-October issue 1985 there appeared this tongue-in cheek piece headed ‘Social Climbers’ submitted by Ted Armstrong, who along with his wife Judith formed the Armstrong Clan Association after the moon landing by Neil Armstrong in 1969.
We were working on our family tree when a visitor asked us what we were doing. He was very interested when we said our family originated from Scotland.
‘What a coincidence!’ he said. ‘So do mine.’
The family name he told us was McBean but when they left Scotland they dropped the first part of the name and became known as Bean. His family story fascinated us.
The Beans emigrated to many parts of the world, one going to Peru in the export business. The family are still there – the Lima Beans.
Another member of the family became a mercenary for a Polish count in 1774, stayed on in Warsaw, and started a family line that still exists today. Perhaps you have heard of the Pole Beans.
Then there is the German branch, famous for their elegant cars, the Mercedes Beans. One of this group was slow witted, and only five feet tall, they called him Heinz – the half-baked Bean.
Great-Great-Uncle Angus settled in Mexico to make a fortune in chilli con carne. However, as he couldn’t stand the hot Mexican weather, he moved to Alaska. We refer to that lot as the Chilli Beans.
Another branch was formed when a Bean married into a Chinese family with an hereditary lung defect. They later moved to Brazil and became known as the Brazilian Coughee Beans. One went to Hong Kong, and became known as the Soya Bean.
As in every family we have our black sheep; there was Machine Gun Bean in Chicago during the Capone era. He went to the electric chair and was so tough it took two jolts to kill him. We have our little joke about him: the Refried Bean. Refried’s brother was a pickpocket known as Bean Dip. He had an ugly wife, the Bean Bag, and many kids, the Bean Sprouts.
Cedric Bean went to Oxford University and was known as Old Bean but later hit on hard times and became a real Has-Bean. It was once falsely rumoured that he founded the Beano Comic. He had a very fat wife known as the Broad Bean.
Uncle George went into medicine, made his name as a Renal specialist and was often called Kidney Bean. He had a son who became an athlete, Runner Bean.
Each year we have a Bean feast, which our remarkable family always try to attend, even the French Beans, their name is Legume. Their branch is related to Toulouse Lautrec, the Dwarf Beans.