Recorded as Gallaway, Galloway, and in the registers of the city of London as Galawaie, Galaway, Gillaway, Gilloway, and even Golaway, this surname is Scottish. It is of locational origins from the county of Galloway in the South West of the country, adjoining the Solway Firth. The name derives from the pre 7th century Old Gaelic word "gall" meaning a stranger or foreigner, and the Old English word 'weg' which describes on land a road, but at sea, a navigable area as in the Solway Firth. Confusingly some seas areas are also referred to a 'roads'.The inhabitants of the area who were probably of English descent, were apparently allied to the invading Norsemen of the period, rather than with their fellow Scots in the Midlands and North of Scotland. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th century (see below), and other early examples of the recordings include those of Gilbert of Galoway in the "Rental book of Cupar-Angus" in the year 1475 and Jhone of Galloway who was a tenant in Kethik in 1495. William Gallaway, given as being a shoemaker, was admitted a burgess of Aberdeen in 1606 and Andro Galloway became a burgess of Pittinweme in 1654. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Galwethia, also known as the earl of Atholl. This was dated 1230, when he made a gift of lands to Neubotle Abbey, during the reign of King Alexander II of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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