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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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
  • 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 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

Galbraith Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Galbraith arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • John Galbraith arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Mary" in 1838
  • W R Galbraith, who arrived in Esquiniah, British Columbia in 1862

Galbraith Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Galbraith arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848
  • Janet Galbraith, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "William Stevenson"
  • Isabella Galbraith, aged 21, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

Galbraith Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Galbraith arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • Agnes Galbraith arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • Margaret Galbraith arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861


  • 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
  • Samuel Laird "Sam" Galbraith (1945-2014), Scottish Labour Party politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (1999-2001)
  • 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



  • Galbreath Family Genealogy by William Galbreath.

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.


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...


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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  3. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  7. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. 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).
  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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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