| If you have an interest in the Galbraith, Galbreath, Gilbreath, Culbreath, Calbreath, or Kilbreath families, or any of the other variant spellings, you should consider a membership in the Clan Galbraith Association. The quartely contains many historical and genealogical articles about all the family names of the above families. Thse articles contain information about hese family names in Scotlan, Ireland and America. The following article has been taken from information from several back issues of the Clan Galbraith publication, called "The Red Tower."
Several attempts have been made to identify the first Galbraiths who appear in the early records of Scotland. the most scholarly attempt was made by Colonel T.L Galloway of Auchendrane, T.D., and titled Galbraiths of the Lennox. This booklet was privately printed in 1944 and a copy is in the Clan Galbraith Association Library.
| The majority of this article was compiled from his study of the Galbraith family. Soon after King David's assumption to the throne, "Gilcrist Bhreatnach" was born. He reportedly married a daughter of Alwyn I, who became the First Earl of Lennox sometime about 1150. Gilcrist Bhreatnach built a stronghold on Inchgalbraith (Galbraith Island) in Loch Lomand.
The main purpose of Colonel Galloway's research was to try to place in proper order the ancient ancestors of the Galbraiths. He began with a complete study of the charters in which the Galbraith name appears, particularly the "Cartularium Comitatus De Levenax." Colonel Galloway began his research with a short review of Sir William Fraser's book, "The Lennox." Fraser had traced the origin of the first Earl of Lennox from a Northumbrian noble, Archill by name, who was driven out of his country by William the Conqueror, and took refuge with Malcolm Canmore. His descendant, Alwyn, became the Earl of Lennox about the middle of the 12th century. Fraser is careful to state that there were other opinions as to the descent of the first Earl-Skene holding that he had a Celtic and not a Saxon origin.
This Alwyn, the first Earl, is a very shadowy figure, and the date he received the Earldom is uncertain. It is known tht David of Huntingdon, brother ot King William (The Lion), held the Earldom for some time about the year 1166, for at this date he granted the Church of Campsie to the Monks of Kelso. Earl Alwyn II, at a later date, granted Campsie to the Church of Glasgow, and these conflicting claims were the subject of an amicable settlement in 1221 (see Registrum Episc.Glas.p.100). But it is not known whether Alwyn I held the Earldom before David of Huntingdon. It is clear, however, that Alwyn, 2nd Earl, and the son and heir of Alwyn the 1st, was in possession before 119, as was shown later from a chate confirming certain lands to the Church of Kilpatrick.
|Compiled by Glenn Smith (Dec 18th 1997)|
| By the time of King Malcom III (Canmore), the Kingdom of the Picts, the Kingdom of the Scots, and the Cumbrian or Clydesdale Kingdom had been more or less welded into a singel kingdom of Scotland. Many English customs were brought to Scotland by Margaret, Malcolm's English Queen, and the country was being devided up into feudal Earldoms governed by feudal laws in place of old Celtic laws or customs. But of course, the central government was not omnipotent, and great power was in the hands of the feudal Earls to use or misuses.
It was in the old Cumbrian or Clydesdale Kingdom that the Earldom of Lennox was situated. Roughly, the boundaries were from the Clyde at Dumbarton to Arrochar in the North, and from the shores of the Gareloch to Fintry, including Kilpatrick and Baldernock. Loch Lomand and the banks of the Leven may be taken as the centre of the Earldom. It is here, then, in this interesting and beautiful part of Scotland that we first trace the origins of the name 'Galbraith"
| The first Galbraiths whe can be definitely found mentioned in any charter wre the brothers Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith/ As witnessess in several charters they are called by nephews of Alwyn II, Earl of Lennox. Now these brothers might be the sons of a brother of Alwyn. That Alwyn, the first Earl, had another sone, Eth, is indicated in an Ayrshire Charter, dated 1193 (Liber de Melrose vol.1, p.22). But it would weem unlikely that sons of this Eth would be named Galbraith, and ther is no evidence to show that he had any children.
Again, the brothers might be sons of a daughter of Alwyn I, and a sister of Alwyn II, married to a Galbraith, or again, Alwyn II might have married a lady of the Galbraith family and Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith could be sons of a brother of that Countess. Whichever way we take it, this seems certain, that the early Galbraiths were of the old Lennox inhabitants and that they intermarried with the family of Alwyn the 1st Earl of Lennox.
At this early period in Scotland, not many family names had become fixed and the system of partonymics was largely in use. Thus we find Gillemchel Mac Edolf, Malcolm Mac Absolon, and the like. and so it is differcult to gather all the members of a family under one family name. For example, in a charter by the Earl of Lennox, Gillemichel, Gillemartin and Gillecondad, the three sons of gillemychel were granted the lands of Bannarad and others. These sons are persumed to have belonged to the Galbraith family, but the relationship with Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith has never been explained. But whatever the origin or meaning of the name may be, Galbraith seems to have early become a fixed family name. This would appear from a charter granting lands to "Willielmus filius Arthur filii Galbrat."
"Galbrat" was considered the head or fountain of this line and his immediate descendants became known as Galbraiths, generally with the "de" preficed, eg. Arthurus de Galbraith, William de Galbraith, and so on. It should be borne in mind that this "de" does not denote that Galbraith was a place name, but only that the person using it was considered to belong to the chief family from the original Galbaith.