I cringe every time someone says their genealogy is “all done.” I’m a professional genealogist. I’ve been doing this for decades, building on family history research passed down to me from a great-uncle and parents who knew what they were doing. And I am not even close to finished. There are still hundreds of people left to discover in my ancestry, never mind all the aunts, uncles, and cousins on the rest of the family tree.
Here’s the way I see it.
You have two parents and each of them have two parents. That means that each generation you go back your number of ancestors doubles. Add that to all previous generations and you end up with 1,022 people responsible for your existence in just ten generations.
Are you with me so far? Maybe this will help.
If you figure that an average generation is twenty-five years, ancestors in your tenth generation were born about 300 years ago. Over one thousand people to discover in just 300 years of history. So, how are you doing?
Here’s how I’m doing.
I can only prove out 36% of the people responsible for my existence in the last 300 years. That means that 64% of my ancestry for that same time period is completely unknown to me. So, even if you can carry one tiny strand of your ancestry back further than that – and I can on a couple of lines – there is always more to discover about who you are and who you come from!
What’s your number?
About Crista Cowan
[...] how complete your genealogy research is. For background, read Crista Cowan’s post Family History All Done? What’s Your Number? For comparison purposes, keep the list to 10 generations with you as the first [...]
[...] to identify the number of ancestors you’ve discovered by generation. He points to posts by Crista Cowan and Kris Stewart.for background information on the [...]