Clan Galbraith - Origin of The Clan

Origin of The Clan

The surname Galbraith is of Gaelic origin. The name is derived from the elements gall ("stranger") + Breathnach ("Briton"), meaning "British foreigner". The elements used in the surname would denote the differences between the Gaels —who have been generally thought to have begun migration to Scotland in about the 5th century— and the native Welsh speaking Britons, particularly the those of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The Strathclyde Britons remained a distinct ethnic group from both the Highland Gaels and Lowland Angles until the 14th century. The former capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde was Dumbarton ("Fortress of the Britons"), in the Lennox.

In Scottish Gaelic the Galbraiths are called Breatanuich or Clann-a-Breatannuich, meaning "Britons" and "Children of the Britons". The early Galbraiths held lands in the Lennox, in the area of Loch Lomond, north of Dumbarton. The stronghold of these early Galbraiths was on the island of Inchgalbraith which is located on west side of Loch Lomond about 2 miles south-east of Luss. The heraldist Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk speculated that the Arms of the Galbraiths —which bore three bears' heads— may allude to the British name Arthur that is thought by some to mean "bear".

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