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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Galbraith family come from? What is the Scottish Galbraith family crest and coat of arms? When did the Galbraith family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Galbraith family history?

The ancient Scottish name Galbraith is carried by the descendents of the Pictish people. It was a name for a person who came from Briton. The surname Galbraith comes from the Gaelic words gall, which means stranger, and Bhreathnach, which means Briton. This surname was given to those who were described as the strangers from Briton. Galbraith is therefore a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. Members of the Galbraith family settled in Angus, prior to the Norman invasion of England, in 1066.

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Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. Galbraith has appeared Galbraith, Galbreath, Galbreith, Galbreth, Galbrith, Galberth and many more.

First found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire where the first Galbraith chief can be traced back to the 12th century. As this chief married a daughter of the Earl of Lennox the house must have been of a noble status. Sir William Galbraith, who was the fourth Chief of the Clan, became highly involved with Scottish national affairs. He was a co-regent of Scotland in 1255, serving a guardian of the young King Alexander III.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Galbraith research. Another 236 words(17 lines of text) covering the year 1594 is included under the topic Early Galbraith History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Galbraith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Galbraith family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 261 words(19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scots left their country to travel to the North American colonies in search of the freedom they could not find at home. Of those who survived the difficult voyage, many found the freedom they so desired. There they could choose their own beliefs and allegiances. Some became United Empire Loyalists and others fought in the American War of Independence. The Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up in the last century have allowed many of these disparate Scots to recover their collective national identity. A search of immigration and passenger ship lists revealed many early settlers bearing the Galbraith name:

Galbraith Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Matthew Galbraith, who landed in New England in 1740
  • Robert Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1795
  • Duncan Galbraith, who landed in America in 1795
  • Dunkin Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1795

Galbraith Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Mr. Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1806
  • John Galbraith, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Jane Galbraith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • H Galbraith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Hugh Galbraith, who landed in America in 1812


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  • John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), Canadian-born American economist and author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • James K. Galbraith (b. 1952), American economist
  • Paul Galbraith (b. 1964), Scottish-born classical guitarist
  • Colin Galbraith (b. 1973), Scottish author and poet
  • Sheldon Galbraith (b. 1922), Canadian figure skating coach
  • Sir Thomas Galbraith (b. 1960), 2nd Baron Strathclyde, British Conservative Party politician
  • Jo-Ann Galbraith (b. 1985), Australian archer
  • Vivian Hunter H. Galbraith FBA (1889-1976), English historian, Fellow of the British Academy and Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History
  • William Robert Galbraith (1829-1914), English civil engineer, best known for his Kew Railway bridge and West Meon Viaduct
  • Thomas Dunlop Galbraith (1891-1985), 1st Baron Strathclyde, British politician


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  • Galbreath Family Genealogy by William Galbreath.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ab Obice Suavior
Motto Translation: Stronger when opposed.

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Galbraith Clan Badge
Galbraith Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Galbraith
Galberry, Galberth, Galbraigh, Galbraith, Galbraithy, Galbraord, Galbraorde, Galbraork, Galbraorth, Galbraorthe, Galbraorthy, Galbreath, Galbreith, Galbreithy, Galbreord, Galbreorde, Galbreork, Galbreorth, Galbreorthe, Galbreorthy, Galbreth, Galbrith, Galbrithy, Galbrord, Galbrorde, Galbrork, Galbrorth, Galbrorthe, Galbrorthy, Gilbreath and more.

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  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  3. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  4. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  8. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  11. ...

The Galbraith Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Galbraith Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 25 May 2014 at 15:25.

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