Galbraith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Galbraith family

The surname Galbraith was 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.

Early History of the Galbraith family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Galbraith research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1594, 1543, 1528, 1528 and are included under the topic Early Galbraith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Galbraith Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Galbraith family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Robert Galbraith (d. 1543), Scottish judge, "a priest and treasurer of the Chapel Royal at Stirling, in which capacity he received a charter of the lands of Mydwyn Schelis, near Berwick, dated 5 July 1528. He...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Galbraith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Galbraith family to Ireland

Some of the Galbraith family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Galbraith migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 18th Century
  • Matthew Galbraith, who landed in New England in 1740 [1]
  • Robert Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1795 [1]
  • Duncan Galbraith, who landed in America in 1795 [1]
  • Dunkin Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1795 [1]
Galbraith Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Galbraith, who arrived in America in 1806 [1]
  • John Galbraith, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [1]
  • Jane Galbraith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [1]
  • H Galbraith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [1]
  • Hugh Galbraith, who landed in America in 1812 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Galbraith migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Galbraith Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Galbraith U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
Galbraith Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Galbraith, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • Elizabeth Galbraith, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • John Galbraith, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • Mr. Alexander Galbraith, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ann Rankin" departing 27th June 1847 from Glasgow, Scotland; the ship arrived on 9th August 1847 but he died on board [3]
  • W R Galbraith, who arrived in Esquiniah, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Galbraith migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Galbraith Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Galbraith, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848 [4]
  • Janet Galbraith, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "William Stevenson" [5]
  • Isabella Galbraith, aged 21, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

New Zealand Galbraith migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Galbraith Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Galbraith, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Bruce" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 12th September 1860 [6]
  • Mrs. Galbraith, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow with 5 children aboard the ship "Bruce" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 12th September 1860 [6]
  • Mr. James Galbraith, Scottish settler from Edinburgh travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 27th April 1860 [7]
  • William Galbraith, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • Agnes Galbraith, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Galbraith (post 1700) +

  • John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), Canadian-born American economist and author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • James Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1952), American economist, professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin
  • Samuel Laird "Sam" Galbraith (1945-2014), Scottish Labour Party politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (1999-2001)
  • Colin Galbraith (b. 1973), Scottish author and poet
  • Paul Galbraith (b. 1964), Scottish-born classical guitarist
  • Sir James Galbraith (1759-1827), 1st Baronet, an Irish politician, Member of Parliament for Augher (1798-1800)
  • Jo-Ann Galbraith (b. 1985), Australian archer at the 2004 Summer Olympics
  • Thomas Dunlop Galbraith (1891-1985), 1st Baron Strathclyde, British politician
  • William Robert Galbraith (1829-1914), English civil engineer, best known for his Kew Railway bridge and West Meon Viaduct
  • Vivian Hunter H. Galbraith FBA (1889-1976), English historian, Fellow of the British Academy and Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Master Harold  Galbraith (1917-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [8]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Roy Walter Thomson Galbraith, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [9]


The Galbraith Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Galbraith +

  • 3442 Galbreath Family Genealogy by William Galbreath.

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 76)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Hooghly.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Friday 2nd February 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) William Stevenson 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/williamstevenson1855.shtml
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  9. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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