The old Scottish Counties of Wigtownshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire have been amalgamated into the administrative region of Dumfries and Galloway. Despite this the old names are alive and still used today.
Before I start let me go back 31,000 - 79,000 years - yes that’s right. I have had my DNA categorised by the National Geographic – Genographic Project to trace my descendants back to when time began. For the record I belong to the Haplogroup R1b (M343). The journey starts in Eastern Africa with "Eurasian Adam" who is the common ancestor of every non-African person living today. His descendants migrated out of Africa and became the only lineage to survive away from humanity's home continent. The journey of my descendants follows a route through Northern Africa and the Middle East, through Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia which stretched from Eastern France to Korea. They continued westwards arriving in Europe around 35,000 years ago. Driven by the Ice Age they moved down through Spain. After the Ice Age they were able to move north again to Portugal and onwards to the British Isles. Such a long way to Kirkcowan where I was born. This is a potted version of the history I received from National Geographic - I hope you have found it informative.
Now let’s move on to the more recent past. My research started with data about my immediate family - Stewart, Barr and McMaster on my father's side and McKie, Nicholson and Stewart on my mother's side but it was soon extended to include many families linked by marriage. I live in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland which comprises the former counties of Wigtownshire, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and Dumfriesshire. I have traced my father's family back to the mid 1800's when they arrived in Galloway from Ireland (Ards Peninsula area) and my mother's family back to around 1772 in Kirkcowan where my great great great grandfather, William McKie, was Baron Officer. The journey has taken me to all corners of the world including Australia where Sir Fergus McMaster a distant relation by marriage co-founded QANTAS - the Australian airline. As a result of my research I am now in touch with many distant cousins and have put others in touch with long lost relations. Previously unknown 'Cousins' from New Zealand and Canada have visited when they were over in the UK.
This publication contains genealogy information about a number of families with Wigtownshire (Scotland) connections going back, where possible, to the late 1700's.
Data has been collected from a number of different sources and, where possible has been verified with official records including gravestone inscriptions. Occasional logical assumptions have had to be made to enable progression. If anyone has information which indicates either inaccuracies or adds new data please let me know.
Many thanks to the many people who have contacted me since I began my research. Not all have had connections to my family but quite a number have and this is very encouraging.