Genealogy is exponential: You have LOTS of ancestors!

Here’s a mind-boggling probability for you: If we ever go back to the period of Charlemagne, we’d have over 281 trillion ancestors. Yes, it is impossible but this is what Diamond Theory of Ancestors hold essentially tells us.

How did we end up with that number? Well, the theory shows the doubling of ancestors from parents (2), to grandparents (4) and so on. But really: Just how many ancestors do you really have?

The truth is you shouldn’t be surprised if you are a professional genealogist and only find 8-20% of all your ancestors. The following factors will explain to you why. This also tells you not to feel too bad if you don’t find everyone.

1. Cousins married cousins.

What you need to understand is the population of people before aren’t as inflated as to what we have now. So your long lost cousins married their own cousins, nephews married nieces and so on.

While we may find that quite awkward today, that’s the reality of the situation then. People didn’t have much choice that’s why don’t be startled if you see that you can’t seem to find other people in your study. It’s just simply because your relatives were well, incredibly close.

2. Names are repeated.

Since your relatives practically married each other during those days, trust that the names will be repeated. This is why it appears as if there are too many ancestors you might have at first but not really.

It can’t be help for researchers and archivists to make errors. Since they may have overlooked the repetitions, it has led to your family tree blowing out of proportions.

3. There will always be miscalculations.

Since there are always mistakes in this field, be open to them. There could be people you’re related to but are not recorded in history. It could be because of misspelled names, wrong information and the like.

So no, you don’t have too many ancestors. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find every one of them because the truth is, it’s virtually impossible to do so.

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