How many Ancestors do I have in each generation?
The number of ancestors we have doubles with each generation. It all starts with yourself in generation one.
When you are born, we all have two biological parents (with minimal exceptions). These two parents also have two parents, giving you four grandparents. All four grandparents have two biological parents each, giving you a total of eight great-grandparents and so on.
The further you go back, the harder it becomes to find all your ancestors on every branch within your family tree. For most people, with a little work, you can find your direct ancestors going back to the early 1800s to the late 1700s. Further than this, it can become a little harder, but not impossible.
For me, going back to my 10th generation ancestors, which is my 7th Great Grandparents, means I'm going back to the early 1700s to late 1600s.
As you can imagine, it becomes considerably harder finding 512 individual ancestor records from 1700 and 1600s. In certain areas, good records weren't kept or were destroyed in fires.
Some suggestions to help you with your family research journey:
1. Always start with your parents and work from the present to the past. (Confirm with birth, marriage, and death documents).
2. Talk with living family and ask about any documents, bibles, diary, letters, newspaper clippings etc. These documents can help provide information as a starting point, including your family's origins.
3. Search for documents in the various towns, cities, countries your ancestors lived:
- Vital Records: Government agencies that hold historical archives for birth, marriage and death records (for early records courthouses may keep these records).
- Local Records - Courthouses, churches, libraries.
- Cemeteries: Find dates and relationships. Headstones can reveal insightful information.
4. Connect with family and find other people working on the same family line. They may be willing to share information with you (online sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage are great for this).
Researching your ancestors is not always easy; It takes time and persistence. It can, however, be enjoyable and is often rewarding!
To help you capture and share your family research in an organised and fun layout, we have a FREE printable ancestor scribble sheet, like this:
This FREE printable download includes:
- Blank checkbox's for confirming documents you hold for each ancestor.
- A family chart going back five generations for fast relative reference.
- A large notes section.
...This will make it quick and easy to scribble down family names, dates and quickly show close ancestor bloodlines.
Prints are unlimited so reuse as many times as needed (personal use only)
There's much to discover about your ancestors from where they came and the challenges they faced. Pioneers who started over in new lands, including work or trades they may have done, there are many interesting things you can uncover about them.
"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture are like a tree without roots." — Marcus Garvey.
These are the people that fill your tree, from the roots through to the branches.
Good luck with your search!
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