The family is named from the district of the same name in southwest Scotland.
A family of this name settled in Dunbartonshire in the early 16th century, while others appear on the east coast.
The inhabitants of the area of Galloway were probably descendants of Englishmen, and apparently allied themselves with the invading Norsemen of the period, rather than with their fellow Scots in central and northern Scotland
Thomas de Galwethia, earl of Atholl, made a gift of lands to the Abbey of Neubotle in 1230, and Michael de Galewath was a witness about the same time.
John Galway was master of a ship belonging to Sir John of Mountgomery in 1405.
Jhone of Galloway was tenant of part of Kethik in 1495, and Sande Galowey was guilty of disturbance in Lanark in 1488.
John Galloway of Kilmaronok was sued for contempt and deforcement in 1597, and another Galloway, also of Kilmaronok followed the MacFarlanes in their feud with the Buchanans.
William Galloway, a shoemaker was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1606.
There was also a Neill Gallouay who was a retainer to John Kennedy, 6th Earl of Cassilis, in Carrick, in 1635.