This is a Scottish locational surname. It almost certainly originates from the town now known as East Kilbride, in the region known as the Middle Ward of the county of Lanarkshire, although a few nameholders are believe to have originated in West Kilbride in Ayrshire. The origin of both town names and hence the later surame is the pre 10th century Gaelic "Giolla Bhrighde", meaning a follower of St Bridid, the popular saint of the early times of Christianity in both Ireland and South west Scotland. The surname is also found as MacKilbride and MacBride, which are strictly speaking patronymics, but have a shared origin with this surname. The town were probably established at some spot closely associated with St Brigid, who was the founder or at least gave her name, to a number of religious houses. Locational surnames tend to be "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they had left their original homes to settle somewhere else. One of the easiest ways to identify a stranger being to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. This is a very early surname in Scotland with John de Kilbrid being recorded as a charter witness to Florence, the bishop of Glasgow in 1202, whilst Reginald de Kelbride was recorded as being an attorney at law in Glasgow in 1277, and Gilbert de Kilbride rendered homage to the Scottish Government in the year 1296.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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