Direct Ancestors - So Many !


Generations countDirect lineage on your family tree is just that – you – your parents – your grandparents – great grandparents – great great grandparents, etc. You do not count aunts, uncles, cousins as direct ancestors but rather as extended family line, just as important but just examining direct lines can be sometimes a bit overwhelming.

Look at the numbers. Your parents are two individuals – true you might have a step parent or a foster parent or an adoptive parent but we are counting here direct blood related.

After your parents are the grandparents for both sides (your mother’s parents and your father’s parents) making four people. Go back three generations to your great grandparents and now there are eight individuals. Keep doubling each number for the next generation.

Double the eight for the great grandparents for the next generation back and you have 16 individuals. Go back ten generations to approximately the early 1700s and there alone are some 1,024 direct ancestors. Another 100 years back to the early 1600s and now the figure is 16,384 direct ancestors — Wow.

True, it is hard to locate all those direct ancestors. Most people are happy to find to their great grandparents but it is not impossible. For those who really work at it you should find relatives back to early 1800s and late 1700s, especially if the family were in America all those years. The early 1800s would be about 64 ancestors and to the late 1700s, figure about 128 ancestors.

So what is your count of ancestors? Remember to count yourself as a generation. On my Bixler family tree I have back to my 10th great grandfather (15 generations), Hans Bichsel – born 1560. On the Everhart side it goes back to my 8th great grandfather (12 generations), Johann Eberhart – born about 1659. The Groff side only goes back to my 2nd great grandfather (5 generations), Joseph Groff born 1821.

A fun activity – do the count and see how far any of the direct branches goes. Remember you can keep adding.

Photo: Generations and the Count by

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