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This is the story of the McKie family down a path through the gardens of the past that led to where I'm standing. Other paths converged and merged as the McKies met and wed and bred. Where possible I've glimpsed backwards up those paths as far as records would allow.
The setting is Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England and my path winds through a time when the gardens there flowered with exotic blooms and their seeds and nectar changed the entire world. This was the blossoming of the late industrial and early scientific revolution and it flowered most brilliantly in Newcastle.
I've been to trace a couple of lines of ancestry back six generations to around the turn of the 19th century. Six generations ago, around the turn of the century, lived sixty-four individuals who each contributed a little less 1.6% of their genome to me, half of them on my mother's side and half on my father's. Yet I can't name half a dozen of them. But I do know one was called McKie. So this is about his descendents; and the path they took; and some things a few of them contributed to Newcastle's fortunes; and who they met on the way.
In six generations, unless there is duplication due to copulating cousins, we all have 126 ancestors. Over half of mine remain obscure to me but I know the majority had one thing in common, they lived in or around Newcastle upon Tyne. Thus they contributed to the prosperity, fertility and skill of that blossoming town during the century and a half when the garden there was at its most fecund. So it's also a tale of one city.
My mother's family is the subject of a separate article on this website.
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