This part of the website will in the future feature various essays and topics
relating indirectly to genealogical research, please lookout for any updates. At
the moment there is one brief essay on Potential Ancestors which is found below.
You may have heard it before, that we are all related. A fact is that your
ancestry is composed of many close or distant cousins having children together.
To prove this statement to yourself, just consider that every generation you go
back from yourself, theoretically the numbers of ancestor per generation
doubles. Now if this was true, then before long, you would have more ancestors
then the total world population that have lived through all the ages of this
The table below shows the theoretical number of ancestors that a baby born in
the year 2000 can have. If for every generation you go back, you double the
amount of ancestors, then by the 40th generation, the baby would have
theoretically 1,099,511,627,776 ancestors of that generation. This figure is 180
times larger than the world population at present, so the further you go back in
generations, the greater the percentage of your ancestors being relative.
By unknown sources, it is said that at the ending of the last ice age (10000BC),
the world population was about 10 million, and by BC/AD, the world population
was about 25 million. In theory, at a certain amount of generations back, any
one person would have one generation that has the maximum amount of ancestors of
any generation. See the illustration below, each line representing a certain
amount of generations.
Origins of humanity
This table below show the theoretical number of potential ancestor per
generation, and roughly the year of birth of each generation according to the
average age between each generation. The potential pool of ancestors multiplies
roughly by 1000 for every 10 generations you go back. There is a comparative
estimate of world population in the last column.
Potential Ancestors||Population *|
Historical Estimates of World Population