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In Memoriam - Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr.

Frank joined our Galbraith Clan in 1984 as member 232 and died on February 18, 2001. He was born in New Jersey in 1911, fifth of twelve children to Frank Sr. and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, the developers of the principals of time and motion studies. Son Frank was a prolific writer with a dozen books (four New York Times Best-Sellers) to his credit as well as serving as Vice President of the Evening Post and Assistant publisher to the Post and Courier, newspapers covering Charleston, South Carolina. He penned his best-known book in 1949 with sister Ernestine "Cheaper by the Dozen", which was adapted by 20th Century Fox to film in 1950.

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Frank's mother Dr. Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth, of German descent, was the more famous of his parents. Father Frank had died in 1924 (born in Maine in 1868) and Lillian put her eleven children (one died young) through college. She was honored on a US postage stamp. In 1948 Lillian was Time Magazine's 'Man' of the Year for her evolving efforts to improve the efficiency of many processes and for her many patented kitchen appliances: e.g., redesigned refrigerator doors with shelves, and butter and egg keepers, the electric mixer, the trashcan with foot-pedal lid-opener, etc.

Many of son Frank's books were autobiographical. His 1950 Belles on Their Toes also became a movie, in 1952. In 1994, at age 83, he published Ancestors of the Dozen which was the basis for our family history on him. A major portion of his history relies on an 1864 letter prepared by his great grandfather Benjamin Gilbreth, born 23 September 1783. (Relation Deborah L Galbraith, #1117, provided the typed copy for our November 2012 Red Tower.) The letter refers to Benjamin's conversations with Father Patrick who gives his parents as John Galbraith and Mary Stuart, born around 1705 and lived near Stirling Castle Scotland. Patrick (born in 1739, as Peter) in 1765 settled in the extreme NW of County Antrim Ireland at Ballywillin co. Antrim. This is at Portrush where he spent seven years in the millwright trade before arriving in 1773 Pennsylvania and then moving on to Maine. Patrick joined the American cause and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Brandywine, confined to a prison ship in New York harbor, transported to Halifax Nova Scotia, inducted into the English Army, stole a boat and came to Maine, married Mary Allen and had eight children. The first son John in 1782 after his Scot father, second was Benjamin in 1883-Frank's great grandfather. The fifth was Isaac in 1795, only noted by Frank but discussed in detail in our August 2014 Red Tower, pages 94-96, as a gigantic blacksmith, veteran of the War of 1812, in 1826 the first white non-Spanish settler in California, last reported in 1829. Benjamin married Betsy Weld Carr and Frank's history continued with John Hiram Gilbreth of Maine (1833-1871), who had the son Frank Bunker, Senior, as above.

Our member Frank died several years before our DNA test program began and we assumed that his early John was of DNA Group 1, as ancestor John resided a few miles north of Culcreuch Castle. Our search for a willing male descendant took over two years. We had a couple female descendants as members, but their male Galbraith relatives refused. We thank Ann Marie Nicolich (our member #1199, aka Nicols) for alerting us to the existence of a blood relation via a cousin of her in-laws, then negotiating and finally, assisting with the kit cost (along with Chris Galbreath, #890, and the Clan). The DNA was a match for our Group 7! We have about 50 members in Group 7 and most are from Argyllshire, largely the Isle of Gigha. Frank has six relatives as members who would have begun in Stirling. There are three other members from Campsie, just east of Culcreuch, but they began nearly a century later and might be connected. Group 7 also has members traced to 1750 from the Knapdale Peninsula of Argyll, which include cousins of economist and Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith (his member son Jamie #969). The chances are good that the various subgroups all came Frank's earlier ancestors.


Clan Galbraith Society