Saturday, August 18, 2012

How Many Ancestors?

I read with interest the current genealogy meme on various blogs: learning, for better or worse, how many actual documented ancestors a person has located. It is a sobering way to either celebrate who you have found, or wallow in pity about who you haven't!

So here is my ancestor analysis:

I have been searching, both pre-internet and with internet, for about 20 years. My total for 10 generations is just about 16%. That's pretty good by my calculations!

For a little fun, I tossed in a column showing how many photos of ancestors I have. Three percent is not bad, especially considering photography only reaches back to the early-to-mid 1800's.

Like most Americans, I have a very blended ancestry. My biggest portions are German (Prussian, Polish, and German) and Irish (some who migrated to Scotland and England), and there's a nice string of French-Canadian. The biggest problems are those New Englanders - finding pre-Revolution sources has caused me much grief.

By analyzing the raw numbers, I am amazed by the amount of data I have for my European roots. At the 9th generation point, also known as great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, I have documentation for 29 of my possible 256 ancestors. These are primarily people born the early 1700's.

  • 12 ancestors are French-Canadian
  • 3 ancestors are from a Massachusetts family
  • 2 ancestors are from a New York family
  • 6 ancestors are German
  • 6 ancestors are West Prussian / Polish

Clearly, the wealth of records kept by churches and communities in Europe have given me a great insight into my overall ancestral picture. The best part is I know there is more data out there, but I have just not had the time to look...yet.

And you New Englanders, watch out because some day I WILL find you!
© 2012 Sally Knudsen