The original form of Beaton was Clann Meic-bethad (MacBeth) however they had no relation to the 11th century King.
However like many families in Scotland they followed a hereditary profession which in their case was medicine practicing from Antrim to Angus. The family originated in Ireland and came to Scotland in the 14th century. Patrick Macbeth was the doctor to King Robert the Bruce in 1324 and his son was doctor to David 11. However the family were based mainly in the Islands and Highlands of Scotland and became connected to the Clan MacDonald who were Lord of the Isles.
The name change took place in the 18th century due to the lack of patronage and to make themselves more acceptable to a Lowland society the name was changed from MacBeth to Beaton.. However the Beatons of Balfour claimed their roots dated back from 13th century the name coming from the French “Bethunes” from the root sprung two famous Roman Catholic Cardinals James and David Beaton. David Beaton (1494-1546) was murdered at St Andrews Castle in 1546 in revenge for the execution of the protestant reformer George Wishart. James Beaton (1523-1603) was the nephew of David Beaton whom he succeeded as Commendator of Arbroath and Archbishop of Glasgow, as he was connected to the French cause in Scotland after 1560 he left Scotland to go to France where he acted as the agent for Mary, Queen of Scots and later worked for James VI(I).