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Galbraith Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: AB OBICE SUAVIOR (gentler because of the obstruction)

Let me share with you the remarkable history of your family, the Galbraiths, as it has been passed down through the generations. The name itself is believed to have Gaelic origins, signifying a ‘foreign Briton’ or ‘the Briton’s son,’ and in Gaelic, the clan was known as ‘Clann a’ Bhreatannaich.’ The motto of Clan Galbraith even includes a reference to the classical poet Ovid, which would have resonated with a learned audience in Medieval Scotland.

The earliest written record of the Galbraith name can be traced back to around 1208 when Gillescop Galbrath witnessed a charter by Malduin, Lord of Lennox. The Galbraiths of Bathernock, later known as Baldernock, emerged as the prominent family of the name, from whom the Galbraiths of Culcreuch descended. Thirteenth-century charters connect the early Galbraiths to the Earls of Lennox, with Patrick Galbraith being described as the Steward of Lennox in 1286.

Sir William Galbraith of Buthernock forged significant alliances through marriage, including with a sister of the influential ‘Black Comyn’ family, as well as with the Douglases, who held considerable power in Scotland during that era. The family held a stronghold on the island and castle of Inchgalbraith, situated on the western side of Loch Lomond near the village of Luss. However, their main seat was Culcreuch Castle, which still stands today. In 1425, James Galbraith of Culcreuch participated in a rebellion against King James in support of the former regent, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany. The failure of the rebellion resulted in around six hundred clan members fleeing to Kintyre and the Island of Gigha.

During the late sixteenth century, Robert Galbraith of Culcreuch, the seventeenth chief, found himself entangled in a feud with Clan MacAulay. He was denounced as a rebel and sought refuge and anonymity in Ireland in 1622.

In more recent times, your family has produced notable individuals who have made their mark in various fields. Thomas Dunlop Galbraith, a Conservative and Unionist politician, was elevated to the peerage as Lord Strathclyde in 1955. He belonged to the Galbraith of Barskimming branch, which has survived as a distinct offshoot of the original chiefly family. His grandson, Thomas Galbraith, the second Lord Strathclyde, also pursued a career in Conservative politics.

Additionally, Dr. Sam Galbraith, although unrelated to the Barskimming family, achieved distinction as a Scottish Labour politician, neurosurgeon, and mountaineer. In 1990, Dr. Galbraith underwent one of the world’s first successful lung transplants, marking a significant medical milestone. With the restoration of the Scottish Parliament, he served as Minister for Children and Education and later as Minister for Health. Remarkably, he remained one of the longest surviving lung transplant recipients worldwide until his passing in 2014.

Your family, the Galbraiths, has a rich and diverse heritage, marked by alliances, struggles, and accomplishments across the centuries. It is a legacy that should be cherished and celebrated by future generations.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: AB OBICE SUAVIOR (gentler because of the obstruction)

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