Randy Seaver is asking genealogist whether we can document all names back 10 generations in our ahnentafels. With a genealogist as the first person, these are 1023 people since 1800 or prior. The answers differ for European and American ancestries. I discovered Randy’s post through Steve Danko’s and Donna Pointkouski’s blogs. This time I decided to answer in English (see more articles in your language).
My ahnentafel in various forms is already online (see: list, table, diagram, image) and up-to-date. It is documented by various vital records of birth, marriage and/or death from civil and parish books. I should underline that my genealogical research still isn’t finished, I’ve been reading sources in two parishes, but the rest lines have been still waiting to be discovered. I just don’t have enough time.
My ancestry is definitely fully (or almost fully) Polish – Central European (none of my ancestors emigrated to USA), and rural. Therefore in theory I should be able to find my ancestors at least since 1800 (late surname forming in rural areas of Poland). I will probably find them since abt. 1700, too (when given the oldest vital records from the parishes which I already know). And this seems to be the end of my genealogy, unless before 18th century some of them had been a nobility, or had been judged in civil or criminal cases…
1st generation = 1/1
2nd generation = 2/2 (read: I know names of two ancestors of two existing)
3rd generation = 4/4
4th generation = 8/8 (100%)
5th generation = 16/16 (100%)
6th generation = 31/32 (97%)
7th generation = 27/64 (42%)
8th generation = 6/128 (5%)
9th generation = 0/256 (0%)
10th generation = 0/512 (0%)
All together = 95/1023 (9%)
When counting separately in my maternal and paternal side:
in 5th generation of my father (6th of mine) — I know 16 of existing 16 ancestors (100%)
6th generation of my father (7th of mine) — 9/32 (28%)
7th generation of my father (8th of mine) — 0/64 (0%)
5th generation of my mother (6th of mine) — 15/16 (94%), one ancestor was illegitimate, the missing person is his unknown father
6th generation of my mother (7th of mine) — 18/32 (56%)
7th generation of my mother (8th of mine) — 6/64 (9%)
These numbers show that I know much more my mother’s ancestry than my father’s, at least at the moment. Future research may change this proportion.
Does this statistic change anything to me?
I definitely do very wide research, including all available lines of ancestry and descendants. For example, at one parish I have been simultaneously looking for 32 ancestors in my 8th generation at once (6 names are already known), they were parents of my 16 ancestors with full names known in 7th generation of mine. But I have already known almost all siblings of 8 ancestors from 6th generation (children of those 16 from the 7th generation) and also down in lower generations.
These makes my ahnentafel wide in generations closer to me, but the more distant are generations from me, the thicker is my ahnentafel and the family tree. I haven’t reached even 9th nor 10th generations yet, despite it’s all available. Just give me more time, and I’ll complete the list…
W skrócie po polsku / Abstract in Polish:
Obecnie znam niemal wszystkie pokolenia moich przodków aż do 6. pokolenia włącznie (jedynym nieznanym jest nieślubny ojciec przodka z niższego pokolenia). Wcześniejsze pokolenia aż do 10. dopiero uzupełniam, a droga długa przede mną, bo do owego dziesiątego brakuje mi ponad 90% nazwisk (sic!), co razem na końcu powinno dać 1023 osób. Jednocześnie mityczna dziesiątka wykracza teoretycznie przed 1800 r. (biorąc przeciętnie minimalną odległość pokoleń) a u mnie przed 1700 r. (wielu moich przodków rodziło „na stare lata”). Na razie chłopskie (nie-szlacheckie) i wiejskie (nie-miejskie) moje pochodzenie sugeruje, że dalej niż do metryk stworzonych około 1700 r. niestety nie dotrę (sprawdziłem dostępność w „moich” parafiach), chyba że we wcześniejszych dziesięcioleciach ktoś przestał być szlachcicem albo był sądzony cywilnie lub karnie, co dałoby się jeszcze odnaleźć w innych niż metrykalne księgach. Ale po kolei, na wszystko przyjdzie pora (oby), dajcie mi trochę czasu na uzupełnianie listy przodków…