Genealogy – We are all one big family – for a question about the past


(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..

We have…

2 parents

4 grandparents

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

Domitia Lucilla

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.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We don't just have a 'family tree', we have a 'family forest'.

Hello all you cousins many times removed out there.

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