This website represents nearly 50 years of research into the family history of four main family groups: my family, Craig and McKay; and Robyn’s family, Schroder and Galt. Of course, these are not the only names in our collective families; in fact, there are nearly 700 unique last names that, together, make up the story of our extended family. However, to make the narrative easier to understand, I have used those four groupings as the main headline names, with each of those representing a sub-group pair which better illustrate the relationships: Craig-Brown; McKay-Šugžda; Schroder-Edwards; and Galt-Ferguson.

Our forebears originated in five countries: Scotland, Germany, Ireland, England and Lithuania. From these homelands, the later generations mainly moved on to Australia or the USA, and we now have few close relatives in those motherlands — but the story still goes on.


Preface

What connects James McKerrow, the shoemaker of Old Cumnock, to Murdo McLeay, the shoemaker of Dingwall? Well, it’s the same thing that connects Petronėlė Melnikaitytė, a farmer’s daughter of Sakalupis, Lithuania, with Wilhelmine Metzker, a cabinet maker’s wife from Seehausen, Germany — and the answer is: my children! Every child ever born genetically unites the families of both its mother and father. Every child ever born is a unique confluence of an exact human chain which if it had been altered in any way at all would mean that child could not exist. My wife’s ancestor James McKerrow and my forebear Petronėlė Melnikaitytė are just two crucial parts of my children’s precise micro-molecular chain that makes them possible. The author Bill Bryson puts this very well in his best-seller A Short History of Nearly Everything:

Go back just eight generations to about the time that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born, and already there are over 250 people on whose timely coupling your existence depends. Continue further, to the time of Shakespeare and the Mayflower pilgrims, and you have no fewer than 16,384 ancestors earnestly exchanging genetic material that would, eventually and miraculously, result in you.

Similarly, as Emily Anne Croom points out in her book Unpuzzling Your Past:

All your ancestral lines back to 1650 could involve as many as eight to twelve generations of ancestors before you. If eight generations separate you from 1650, you could have had 256 ancestors living then. A gap of twelve generations could mean you had more than 4,000 ancestors living in 1650.

Remember, none of us are simply the product of two particular individuals who bonded on one steamy night of romance — each of us is the one-off creation of a seemingly endless series of precise, never-to-be-repeated molecular structures that biochemically interacted at exact nano-seconds in the past. No other molecular structures existing at any other moments in the universal space-time continuum could have made you. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re here, well, the answer is because of your ancestors; collectively, they, and only they, made you and your siblings. Each person and his or her brothers and sisters represent their forebears’ contribution to human history. Your cousins, aunts and uncles share much of your lineage; but first cousins can only claim half of your ancestors: those of your mother’s or your father’s. Your cousins could never have been … well, you.