(Definition: an account of the descent of a person or family through ancestral line.)
How big is our family tree?
When we look into our family history, it can be easy to trace back to our parents, grandparents and great grandparents but, the further back we go, the more names appear and the records of births, marriages and deaths cloud with time.
How many relatives do we have?
Consider this… Each generation back in family history multiplies by two..
8 great grandparents
16 great great grandparents
32 great great great grandparents
64 great great great great grandparents
128 great great great great great grandparents
…and so on with only 20 generations exceeding one million BUT there’s more…
If our parents had brothers and/or sisters then we have uncles and aunties.
If our grandparents had brothers and/or sisters then we have great uncles and great aunties.
If our great grandparents had brothers and/or sisters then we have great great uncles and great great aunties.
…I think you get the idea BUT there’s more again…
If our uncles and aunties have children then we have cousins. When our cousins have children then we have 2nd cousins. When our 2nd cousins have children, we have 3rd cousins and so on.
Before long we are looking at thousands of relatives in one huge family. We may not know them all but they are out there.
Many people looking into their ancestors trace only one line. They might choose to look at their mother or fathers ancestors.
Can we find all our ancestors?
The further back we go, the poorer records become. By the time we look at hundreds of years back, the only records might be kept for nobles (kings, queens, princes, princesses, dukes, duchesses, barons…).
This means there will be little or no record of huge numbers of our relatives, only our relatives from the nobility. Even then the records may not be reliable. I believe you all have nobility in your ancestors somewhere but far more relatives who weren’t.
What about my ancestry?
I’ll share one line of ancestry from many found by two of my uncles and a cousin over many years of research.
My father … born in 1919
My paternal grandfather … 1886
Matilda Sims … 1862
James Homblower Sims … 1816
James Sirns … 1781
Ann Truran … 1756
Thomas Truran … 1735
Samuel Truren … 1711
Reginald Trewren … 1685
Henry Trewren … 1654
Gabriell Trewren … 1613
Fraunces Trewren … 1584
Thomas Trewren … 1568
Elizabeth Chiverton … 1543
Tomasine Godolphin … 1532
John Godolphin … 1441
Elizabeth Beauchamp … 1415
Elizabeth Edith Stourton … 1375
Catherine Beaumont Stretche … 1354
Lord Henry Beaumont … 1338
Eleanor Lancaster Countess Arundel Plantagenet … 1316
Sir Henry Richard 3rd Earl of Lancaster Plantagenet … 1281
Sir Edmund 'Crouchback' Earl of Lancaster Plantagenet … 1245
King Henry III of England Plantagenet … 1207
King John I'Lackland' of England Plantagenet … 1166
King Henry 11 of England Plantagenet … 1133
Matilda Maud Empress of Germany … 1102
King Henry I of England Beaucterc … 1068
King William I 'The Conqueror' of England Duke of Normandy … 1024
Robert I "Magnificent" Duke of Normandy … 1000
Richard 11 "The Good" Duke of Normandy … 963
Richard I "Fearless" Duke of Normandy … 935
Rollo "The Dane" Ropvaldsson First Duke of Normandy … 854
Rollo Rolf 'The Viking' First Duke of Normandy … 846
Rognvald Reginald 'The Wise Earl of More Eysteinsson … 830
King Eystein 'The Noisy jail of the Uplands King of Norway Ivarsson … 800
Ivar I Oplaendinge jarl of the Uplands Halfdansson … ?770
King Halfdan II 'The Old'' The Mild' Hvitbeirin Eysteinnson … ?768
King Eystein I Fred 'The Old' King of Vestfold Halfdansson … 736
Asa Heidmork Throndheim Eysteinsdottir … 715
King Harald 'Wartooth of Denmark Sweden & Norway Hildetand … 675
Princess Aud 'The Deep Minded' Ivarsdatter … 633
King Ivar Vidfamne of Norway Denmark & Saxony Halfansson … 610
King Halfdan of Sweden Haraldsson … 590
Hildur of the Vandals Heidreksdatter … 572
Amfleda'TheYoungei Angantyrsson … 556
King Thrasamund of the Vandals in Africa …?470
Gehnir (General of the Spanish Goths) of the Vandals …?440
Licinia Eudoxia Princess of the Eastern Roman Empire … 422
EMPEROR THEODOSIUS II, Augustus 'The Calligrapher” of Eastern Roman Empire … 401
EMPEROR FLAVIUS THEODOSIUS Arcadius Eastern Roman Empire … 377
Aeha Flavia'Flacilla’ Augusta … 350
EMPEROR Flavius Valentinianus I … 321
Constantia Verch Constantine … 299
EMPEROR Constantine'The Great Flavius Valerius Aurelius … 272
EMPEROR Constantius I Chlorus … 242
Claudia Crispina di Roma … 203
EMPEROR COMMODUS Lucius Aurelius Antoninus Crispus of Rome … 161 AD
EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS Antoninus Annius … 121 AD
Marcus Annius Verus … 97 AD
Tullus Domitius Calvisius
Lucius Salvinus Titianus … 50AD
Julia Calva Torquata … 25AD
Aemilia Lepida Caesia … 2AD
Julia The Younger Agrippina … 30BC
Julia The Elder Caesonia
EMPEROR AUGUSTUS * * Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus … 63 BC
** EMPEROR AUGUSTUS Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus was adopted by Julius Caesar after his death and was the closest my cousin could get to Julius Caesar, as his few recognised children didn’t produce heirs that lived.
From my father born in 1919 to the end of the list is, if I’ve counted correctly, 68 generations. I think this would mean the one at the bottom of the list would be my great x 66 grandfather. This would mean, again if I have the maths correct, for great x 66 grandfathers and great x 66 grandmothers, I would approximately have this many of them…
That doesn’t seem possible does it? It isn't. The numbers tell us many of all those people must be the same people. Distant relatives have children with other distant relatives. This would mean the actual number of greatx66 grandparents is much less. I think it must mean all humans are related somewhere back in time. We are one very large family.
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