Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's Your Number?

I first saw it on Pinterest, and since then on numerous genealogy blogs, inculding Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Everybody's figuring out how many of their ancestors they've identified back to their 7x great grandparents (1022 ancestors in all [not 1024 as everyone keeps saying; do the math!]). What fun!

So I decided to give it a try myself:

GenerationPotential AncestorsMy Identified Ancestors
Great Grandparents88
2x Great Grandparents1616
3x Great Grandparents3232
4x Great Grandparents6447
5x Great Grandparents12838
6x Great Grandparents25634
7x Great Grandparents51241

Grand Total: 222 out a possible 1022, or just under 22%!

Darn. I started out so strong! 100% out to my 3x great grandparents! But the numbers really started to dwindle as I got further back.

In particular, I noticed my mom's side dropped out of the calculations pretty quickly, other than my direct maternal line which I've put a lot of work into. But all those English lines, they go back to 1830 or so and then things start to get challenging! My dad's side, on the other hand, is all French Canadian, so those lines tend to go back to the 1600s pretty easily.

But I'm not discouraged! I'm still thrilled by how much my tree has grown in recent years, and am excited to see the new directions it will take in the future. (I recently learned I'm part German! Who knew?) Perhaps I'll fill in this table again a year from now and see how far I've come.


  1. Sadly my tree drops off much more quickly, but I'm not always very diligent at my research. I'm at 100% for my great grandparents, but then 12 2xG grand parents, 14 3xG grandparents, and 3 4xG grandparents. Even these last numbers are stretching it in places, as my information is very sparse - sometimes not even the full name. It works out to a measly 4%.

    The 1024 confusion probably comes from the fact that 2^10=1024, so the sum of 2^0 + 2^1 + ... + 2^9 = 1023. The reason your sum is 1022 is because you're not counting yourself.

  2. Of course, after posting this I see that you're a computer scientist, so obviously you know fun properties of powers of 2.

    As a fellow Canadian-genealogist-computer scientist-avid reader-Star Trek fan, I've enjoyed looking through your archives. My Canadian family lines are largely based around Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. I think the Montreal lines were largely anglophone though.

    Thank you for the inspiration to actually get my genealogy blog up and running. I'm going to make another go at it.

    1. Actually my bio needs updating; I'm no longer a computer scientist. :) Now I'm in school to become a librarian. But I do still know powers of 2! :D

      I'm glad to meet another Canadian-genealogist-computer scientist-avid reader-Star Trek fan, and I'm glad you've enjoyed my blog posts! I'd love to see your genealogy blog, too!


  3. Thank you for the encouragement - I've finally gotten my first post up!