I was inspired by the post What’s Your Number? Don’t Be Too Shocked if It’s Below 30%!
In the post, Lorine McGinnis Schulze at Olive Tree Genealogy talks about how many ancestors we have if we trace them directly backward from ourselves. She wanted to see just how many ancestors she’d found and what percentage of the total work she’d completed. I thought her post was intriguing so I tallied up my numbers. Here’s what I came up with.
|Number of My Ancestors Found|
The percentage is 13.8%. It is indeed below 30%. Now, the aggregate total doesn’t really tell me which lines of my family are stuck, just that past the 3rd great-grandparents I come up very short. So, I wanted to break the total down by the lines of my family: Brown and Geiszler. Here’s how things shape up:
|Generation||Number of Possible Ancestors||Browns Found||Geiszlers Found||Total|
From this, I can see that I have found a lot of relatives on the Geiszler line but not so many on the Brown line. Could it be that on the Brown line I have names like Brown, Smith, Young, and Long? It makes it very hard to figure out which family is yours amongst the multitude of them. Comparatively the Geiszler line has Geiszler, Zumstein, Mack, and Hoppe. This makes it a lot easier on one hand but more difficult on others.
The other contributing factor to the Geiszler success is the more common name of Comfort and Marvin have a very successful genealogist on that line tracing the lines into the 6th generation. I believe these lines have gone into the 7th generation but the trees get tangled up so much that I don’t know who is who. So, until I’m prepared to check out those lines, I’ve just left them off my chart.
I have quite a few suspected ancestors that I haven’t found enough evidence (people don’t cite their sources so I’m hesitant to accept potential family members without more proof) to incorporate them into these numbers. In any case, I think, the few additional names might bring the percentage up to 15%, if I’m lucky.
So… I liked this numbers activity not because it points out how much I haven’t accomplished. It actually points out where I should be focusing my efforts. I’ll admit I get lost in the siblings, aunts, and cousins. I’m trying to learn who my direct ancestors are and how they affected their posterity. So, I do go laterally and collaterally often. But, I thought this was a useful reminder to not neglect the direct ancestors of mine.
So thanks Lorine for the post.