This interesting and famous surname recorded in several spellings including Galbraith, Galbraeth and even Calbaith, is Scottish. It originated as a nickname for a member of the Briton tribe of Strathclyde who settled amongst the Gaels in the 7th century. In Gaelic the name is written Mac galle Bhreathnach, from "mac", meaning son of, "gall", a stranger, and "Breathnach", a Briton. It is likely that these Britons migrated northwards at the time of the Anglo-Saxon or Norse-Viking invasions of the mainland, although this is not proven.The surname is first recorded in the early 13th century, (see below). In a Lennox charter believed to have an earlier date, the first name holder appears as Gillescop Galbrad. It is interesting to note that the area of Lennox near Dumbarton was known as "the kingdom of the Britons" up to 1124. Three carucates of land in Lennox were granted by Maldouen the earl to William, son of Arthur, son of Galbrat in 1238 and in 1246, one Gillaspec Galbraith witnessed the grant of the lands of Colquhoune to Umfridus de Kilpatrick, The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillescop Galbrath. He witnessed a gift of land to Campsie Church, which was dated circa 1208, in the "Episcopal Register of Glasgow", during the reign of King William, known as "The Lion of Scotland", 1165 - 1214. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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