GALT FAMILY OVERVIEW

Galt, Howie, Littlejohn, Barr & McColl

by Alan Craig

My wife Robyn’s maternal ancestors were the Galt and Ferguson branches. Each of these headline surnames were, of course, descendant of several other branches. The Ferguson-Hardman side have their own pages, and you can read about those families starting here. Our present-day Galt line, however, is an amalgam of families from several parts of Scotland: Ayrshire, Perthshire, Kinross, Edinburgh, Renfrewshire, Islay, and Mull (the last two being Hebridean islands with Gaelic-speaking inhabitants). Some branches of Robyn’s maternal line can be traced back to the 1600s, so to tell their genealogical histories in a coherent way, we have broken their stories into six separate pages:

  1. GALT:  Ayrshire (1683–1768)Cunningham, Love, Anderson, Walker, Murchland
  2. HOWIE: Ayrshire (1717–1818)Jack, Cunninghame, Reid
  3. LITTLEJOHN: Perthshire & Glasgow (1673–1877)Fleming, Steedman, Dick, Chapman, Smitten
  4. BARR:  Edinburgh, Renfrewshire & Islay (1674–1876)Morrison, McLean, Anderson, Smeal, Dobie
  5. McCOLL:  Mull (1793–1894)McLean, McMillan
  6. GALT-Barr: Glasgow & Queensland (1883–1905).

Robyn’s grandfather was Thomas Barr Galt (1879–1944), and he migrated from Glasgow to Brisbane with his family in 1883. He married Margaret McKerrow Ferguson (a descendant of the Ferguson and Hardman families) in 1905 — and so to our current generations. The following chart explains how we have told the story of the Galt line:

The following descendant charts will help the reader understand the ancestors who evolved into our Galt family, and provide some idea of the periods and places they lived in before finally coming together in Glasgow, and later migrating to Queensland. Fuller versions of these charts can be found with the specific article for each branch. All of the following end with John [3] Galt and Christina Barr:

See the relevant maps (maps open in new browser tabs):


The surname Galt (sometimes ‘Gault’, ‘Gauld’, or even ‘Gaw’) derives from the old Norse word ‘gölt-r’, which means ‘boar’ or ‘hog’. It seems very likely that the name came to the British Isles with the Norman invasion of 1066, but the family had firmly settled in Perthshire by the 14th century, and are sometimes linked with the Clan MacDonald of the Isles. However, by the time of the 1851 Scotland census, the Galts could only be found in Ayrshire, and this is where our branch of the family are first found — but have now  spread to places as far-flung as Brazil, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and Australia.

“The righteous shine as stars”

The surname McColl is of Scottish origin, derived from the Gaelic ‘MacCoul’, meaning “son of Coll”. The name Coll is thought to stem from “Colla”, the name of three ancient Irish brothers who founded significant clans in Scotland and Ireland. The name gained popularity in the western coastal regions and Hebrides islands of Scotland. Tradition has it that the MacColls have been associated with the area round Loch Fyne from an early date and are claimed to be a branch of the great Clan Donald, and are also connected to other clans including the MacGregors and the Stewarts of Appin. The MacColls who lived in Appin and Ballachulish followed the Stewarts of Appin — in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, 18 MacColls were killed and 15 wounded in the Appin Regiment