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Updated January 31, 2024

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Family name origins & meanings

  • Scottish : ethnic name for someone descended from a tribe of Britons living in Scotland, from Gaelic gall ‘stranger’ (see Gall) + Breathnach ‘Briton’ (i.e. ‘British foreigner’). These were either survivors of the British peoples who lived in Scotland before the Gaelic invasions from Ireland in the 5th century (in particular the Welsh-speaking Strathclyde Britons, who survived as a distinctive ethnic group until about the 14th century), or others who had perhaps migrated northwestwards at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.
  • This name is first recorded as a surname in the area of Lennox, a rich agricultural region north of Glasgow under the Campsie Fells, in the 12th century. In early medieval times, the region to which Lennox belongs was an independent Welsh-speaking kingdom, with its capital at Dumbarton. It was not integrated into the rest of Scotland until 1124. The first recorded chief of the Galbraiths was Gilchrist ‘the Briton’, living in 1193.

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