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Welcome to the Galloway DNA project website, hosted by

Origins of the “Galloway Surname”

The most common surname meaning used is from the Dictionary of American Family Names (2013, Oxford University Press) and reads as follows:

Galloway Name Meaning:  Scottish: regional name from Galloway in southwestern Scotland, named as ‘place of the foreign Gaels’, from Gaelic gall ‘foreigner’ + Gaidheal ‘Gael’. From the 8th century or before it was a province of Anglian Northumbria. In the 9th century it was settled by mixed Gaelic-Norse inhabitants from the Hebrides and Isle of Man.

Some sources indicate it was used as a surname as early as the 13th Century.  Records of Galloways arriving in America date back to the 17th Century.   Variations include Galloway, Gallaway, Galway, Gallway, Gallowey, Galloay, Gallawaye, and Galloweigh, among others.  

Today, Galloways are spread around the world, with the largest number residing in the United States (see for worldwide distribution of the surname in 2014).

History of the Galloway DNA Surname Project.

The Galloway DNA project has been in existence for a number of years with a primary focus on yDNA testing, which traces a direct paternal surname line.  Like many FTDNA projects, in recent years with the expansion of autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing, more and more Galloway descendants through non-direct paternal lineages have joined the project.  As of July 2016, there were 55 project members, of whom 30 have yDNA tests (some are not Galloway paternal lines), and the balance have atDNA (Family Finder) tests.  AtDNA testing is available to both male and female descendants, although the results are often less conclusive than yDNA tests, given the random nature of atDNA inheritance patterns.  Nevertheless, given the much greater number of Galloway descendants who can take an atDNA test, the project will include a focus on both types of tests, to the extent possible.

Although currently only the yDNA test results are posted on the results pages of the project, we welcome anyone who has taken an FTDNA test (yDNA, Family Finder, or mtDNA) who has a Galloway in their lineage.  Project members who have taken a Family Finder test at FTDNA can use advanced search tools on their personal FTDNA pages to find other project members who share atDNA.  If you have taken an atDNA test at another company, consider transferring the results to FTDNA in order to join the Galloway Project. 

Genetic DNA is a powerful tool to identify common ancestors, along with traditional “paper” trail genealogy.  Family Pedigrees are critical to finding common ancestors, and project members are encouraged to post their lineages.  The links on the black bar at the top of this page will lead you to various parts of the project’s website hosted by  Other information will be provided on the project pages at FTDNA.  The link to the Galloway DNA project public website at FTDNA is: 

Updated July 2016

Additional information:

Click here to order a DNA test in The Galloway DNA Project and become a member of this project.

Already tested at FTDNA?  Join the Project.


For more information on the relationship between DNA testing and traditional genealogy, visit World Families Network.



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