It sometimes seems in the daily following of elusive ancestors that no progress will ever be made. And yet, when you lay it all out in a chart, year by year, some progress starts to be visible in the number of ancestors found.
I confess that there are no doubt some people on this chart who are counted as “found” when I have scanty information–perhaps only a name. In a woman’s case that may be only a first name because maiden names have a way of disappearing when a woman marries. However, in counting up the “finds” this year, I have tried to be honest and put a question mark on my tree in front of a name that is just a name without a story. And I have not counted those question marks.
Ancestry continues to tempt with their shaking leaves (hints of information possibly tied to a particular person.) And this year they came up with an even more insidious way to lead people astray. Now they show you “possible parents”. The catch is that Ancestry gives you no evidence to go with that “possible” and many if not most of those “possibles” were derived from family trees that were likewise unsourced. Sometimes I make a note of the name and try to track it down, but I’m not adding a person to my lineage if I have no proof.
Reading the Chart
In the chart below, I am the “child”. I am happy to have 100% of my ancestors through my Great-Great-Grandparents, but the percentage drops in half with my 3 times great grandparents. Unfortunately, the names I would most like to follow–my maiden name Kaser, and my mother’s maiden name Anderson–are the ones that are most elusive.. My father had a 2x great grandfather and a great-grandmother that defy tracing. And my mother had a 2x great-grandfather whose parents cannot be identified. And those three people snowball into the many, many others farther back that are missing from my tree.
However, to look on the bright side. How many people have the names of 17 of their 13x great grandparents? And besides, as much fun as enumerating ancestors found, I still have a blog-full of great stories about those ancestors. And that is the most important thing to me. For instance, just looking at the numbers does not tell you that nearly all these ancestors through the 12 or 13th generation are natives of North America or were the pioneer of their line. For that, you need to read the stories.
Ancestors by the Numbers
In this chart, the first set of numbers (after the possible number of each generation) is ancestors found as of July 2016. While I have been telling stories here for nearly five years, I only started counting finds for two and a half years. A Caveat–my math is really terrible, even when I’m working with a computer spread sheet I can make mistakes. So please forgive.
|GENERATION||RELATIONSHIP||Number of People Possible||Known # of People 7-2016||Percentage||Known # of people 02-2019||Percentage|
|5||2X Great Grandparents||16||16||100.00%||16||100.00%|
|6||3X Great Grandparents||32||16||50.00%||23||72.00%|
|7||4x Great Grandparents||64||21||33.00%||32||50.00%|
|8||5x Great Grandparents||128||22||17.00%||34||26.50%|
|9||6 x Great Grandparents||256||15||0.06%||26||10.00%|
|10||7 x Great Grandparents||512||21||0.04%||38||0.07%|
|11||8x Great Grandparents||1024||13||0.01%||34||0.03%|
|12||9x Great Grandparents||2048||12||0||26||0.01%|
|13||10x Great Grandparents||4096||10||0||38||0|
|14||11x Great Grandparents||8192||2||0||37||0|
|15||12x Great Grandparents||16384||0||0||33||0|
|16||13x Great Grandparents||32768||0||0||17||0|
|17||14x Great Grandparents||65536||0||0||4||0|
|18||15x Great Grandparents||131072||0||0||0||0|
|19||16x Great Grandparents||262144||0||0||0||0|
|20||17x Great Grandparents||524288||0||0||0||0|
|21||18x Great Grandparents||1048576||0||0||0||0|
|22||19x Great Grandparents||2097152||0||0||0||0|
Thanks to Cathy-Meder Dempsey and her blog Opening Doors in Brick Walls, I was reminded that I had not checked my Ancestor score lately to see how many ancestors found. So, this one’s for you, Cathy.