This unusual surname may be of either early medieval English or Scottish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac GiollaBhrighde" (Irish) or "Mac GilleBrighde" (Scottish). The Gaelic prefix "Mac" denotes "son of", with "giolla, gille" literally meaning "servant", but used here in the transferred sense of "devotee", and the saints name Brighde. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes or some illustrious warrior, but in some instances, sept names indicate evotion to a particular saint, in this case, Brighde or Brigid, a name believed to mean "exalted". St. Brigid of Kildare, known as "Mary of the Gael", revered only less than St. Patrick himself, was the foundress of the first Irish convent circa 480. In England and Scotland, churches were dedicated in her honour as St. Bride, and in Wales as Ffraid Santes. Gilbride or Gillebride was a popular baptismal name in Scotland in the Middle Ages, and in circa 1147 Gilbryde Macgideride witnessed a charter of the lands of Duueglas (Douglas) to Theobald the Fleming, while in 1178, Gilbride or Gillebrid, witness, was noted in the Register of Aberbrothoc Abbey. In Ireland, the MacGiollaBhridhde sept were erenaghs of Raymunterdone, Co. Donegal, that is, hereditary holders of church property from generation to generation. On November 29th 1865, a daughter, Catherine, was born to Patrick Gilbride and Catherine Fitzpatrick in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John MacGilbride, bishop of Raphoe, which was dated 1440, in the "Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Donegal", during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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