Show ContentsGilbreath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The people known in ancient Scotland as the Picts were the ancestors of the first to use Gilbreath as a name. It was a name for a person who came from Briton. The surname Gilbreath 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. Gilbreath 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 Gilbreath family settled in Angus, prior to the Norman invasion of England, in 1066.

Early Origins of the Gilbreath family

The surname Gilbreath 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 Gilbreath family

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

Gilbreath Spelling Variations

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Gilbreath has been spelled Galbraith, Galbreath, Galbreith, Galbreth, Galbrith, Galberth and many more.

Early Notables of the Gilbreath 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 Gilbreath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilbreath Ranking

In the United States, the name Gilbreath is the 4,668th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Gilbreath family to Ireland

Some of the Gilbreath 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 Gilbreath migration to the United States +

In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Gilbreath:

Gilbreath Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Laura Gilbreath, aged 34, who landed in America, in 1910
  • Joseph Roy Gilbreath, aged 35, who settled in America, in 1910
  • John Gilbreath, aged 9, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Andrew Gilbreath, aged 16, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Wilhelmina Gilbreath, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911

Canada Gilbreath migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilbreath Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Lydia Gilbreath, aged 23, a spinster, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Highlander" in 1834

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilbreath (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Frederick Gilbreath (1888-1969), American Commanding General Army Service Command (1945) [2]
  • Rod Gilbreath (b. 1954), American Major League Baseball second baseman
  • William C. Gilbreath (1851-1921), American politician, North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor (1905 to 1914)
  • Rod Gilbreath (b. 1954), American former Major League Baseball second baseman
  • Alexandra Gilbreath (b. 1969), English actress, recipient of the 1996 Ian Charleson Award

The Gilbreath 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.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 5) Frederick Gilbreath. Retrieved from on Facebook