The Ages

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.

Potential Ancestors

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 earth. 

 

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.

Yourself

A drop in the oceans of humanity

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.

Gen.20yrs25yrs33yrs50yrs Potential AncestorsPopulation *
1st19801975196619502 4,000,000,000
2nd19601950193319004 2,514,000,000
3rd19401925190018508 1,262,000,000
4th192019001866180016 1,650,000,000
5th190018751833175032 1,262,000,000
6th188018501800170064 1,262,000,000
7th1860182517661650128  
8th1840180017331600256  
9th1820177517001550512  
10th18001750166615001,024 1,000,000,000
11th17801725163314502,048  
12th17601700160014004,096 650,000,000
13th17401675156613508,192  
14th172016501533130016,384  
15th170016251500125032,768  
16th168016001466120065,536 562,000,000
17th1660157514331150131,072  
18th1640155014001100262,144  
19th1620152513661050524,288  
20th1600150013331000 1,048,576500,000,000
21st158014751300950 2,097,152 
22nd156014501266900 4,194,304 
23rd154014251233850 8,388,608 
24th152014001200800 16,777,216360,000,000
25th150013751166750 33,554,432 
26th148013501133700 67,108,864 
27th146013251100650 134,217,728 
28th144013001066600 268,435,456380,000,000
29th142012751033550 536,870,912 
30th140012501000500 1,073,741,824 
40th12001000666AD/BC 1,099,511,627,776 
50th1000750333500BC 1,125,899,906,842,624 

 

* Historical Estimates of World Population