Saturday, March 29, 2008

Everybody's Related To Royalty

This article was at the bottom of one of my file drawers. I don't know who authored it or when, but thank them for their work and agree with their comments about all of us being related to royalty.

Finding a link to them is great because something is usually written about them. Is it always correct? Goodness NO! But, at least there is the possibility that the information is correct and it usually is more complete and extends farther back in time than almost any other knowledge about our 'commoner' ancestors.

"The Associated Press carried a story recently about a man from Maine who traced his ancestry to King Egbert of England as well as all of the royal houses of Europe. The article makes it sound like something rather unusual. My question is, “So what? Almost everyone else can do the same.”

We all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on. To determine the number of ancestors you have, all you have to do is grab a calculator and determine how many generations you wish to go back. That should easy. Or is it?

For instance, here is a simple chart showing the number of ancestors you have, assuming an average of one generation every twenty-five years:

Number of generations

Approximate years

Ancestors in this generation

Total ancestors





1

25

2

2

2

50

4

6

3

75

8

12

4

100

16

24

5

125

32

48

6

150

64

96

7

175

128

192

8

200

256

384

9

225

512

768

10

250

1,024

1,536

11

275

2,048

3,072

12

300

4,096

6,144

13

325

8,192

12,288

14

350

16,384

24,576

15

375

32,768

49,152

16

400

65,536

98,304

17

425

131,072

196,608

18

450

262,144

393,216

19

475

524,288

786,432

20

500

1,048,576

1,572,864

21

525

2,097,152

3,145,728

22

550

4,194,304

6,291,456

23

575

8,388,608

12,582,912

24

600

16,777,216

25,165,824

25

625

33,554,432

50,331,648

26

650

67,108,864

100,663,296

27

675

134,217,728

201,326,592

28

700

268,435,456

402,653,184

29

725

536,870,912

805,306,368

30

750

1,073,741,824

1,610,612,736

31

775

2,147,483,648

3,221,225,472

32

800

4,294,967,296

6,442,450,944

33

825

8,589,934,592

12,884,901,888

34

850

17,179,869,184

25,769,803,776

35

875

34,359,738,368

51,539,607,552

36

900

68,719,476,736

103,079,215,104

37

925

137,438,953,472

206,158,430,208

38

950

274,877,906,944

412,316,860,416

39

975

549,755,813,888

824,633,720,832

40

1,000

1,099,511,627,776

1,649,267,441,664

As you can see, in the last 1,000 years you have a bit more than one and a half trillion ancestors. There is only one problem with this: that number far exceeds the total number of people who have ever lived on the face of the earth!

In fact, there are duplicates in your family tree. If you were able to identify every single person in your family tree, you would find that many ancestors of a few hundred years ago would show up time and time again. This is inbreeding, and we all have it in our family trees. There are no exceptions; the mathematics involved makes it obvious that we are all the products of inbreeding.

With a theoretical (although impractical) one and a half trillion ancestors in the past 1,000 years, what are the odds that you have royal ancestry? About 99.9999% per cent. Many of the royals had large families with children, grandchildren, and further descendants who were sent far and wide to marry other nobility. In turn, their descendants married minor nobility and wealthy merchants and their children... so on and so forth. Once you can document one royal ancestor, you will probably find hundreds more, thanks to the excellent records kept of nobility marriages.

Now let’s go the other way: let’s look at a hypothetical individual from 750 years ago and identify the number of descendants he or she has. The numbers are not as mathematically precise since each person has a variable number of descendants. Sociologists tell us that families of many years ago were typically larger than those of today. Indeed, history books record that a few kings and other prominent men often had 50 or more children, thanks to multiple wives. Not everyone had children, however. Many people had zero children. For this exercise, I will pick an average number of five children per family:

Number of generations

Approximate years

Descendants in this generation

Total descendants





1

25

5

5

2

50

25

30

3

75

125

155

4

100

625

780

5

125

3,125

3,905

6

150

15,625

19,530

7

175

78,125

97,655

8

200

390,625

488,280

9

225

1,953,125

2,441,405

10

250

9,765,625

12,207,030

11

275

48,828,125

61,035,155

12

300

244,140,625

305,175,780

13

325

1,220,703,125

1,525,878,905

14

350

6,103,515,625

7,629,394,530

15

375

30,517,578,125

38,146,972,655

16

400

152,587,890,625

190,734,863,280

17

425

762,939,453,125

953,674,316,405

18

450

3,814,697,265,625

4,768,371,582,030

19

475

19,073,486,328,125

23,841,857,910,155

20

500

95,367,431,640,625

119,209,289,550,780

21

525

476,837,158,203,125

596,046,447,753,905

22

550

2,384,185,791,015,620

2,980,232,238,769,530

23

575

11,920,928,955,078,100

14,901,161,193,847,700

24

600

59,604,644,775,390,600

74,505,805,969,238,300

25

625

298,023,223,876,953,000

372,529,029,846,191,000

26

650

1,490,116,119,384,770,000

1,862,645,149,230,960,000

27

675

7,450,580,596,923,830,000

9,313,225,746,154,780,000

28

700

37,252,902,984,619,100,000

46,566,128,730,773,900,000

29

725

186,264,514,923,096,000,000

232,830,643,653,870,000,000

30

750

931,322,574,615,478,000,000

1,164,153,218,269,350,000,000

Your ancestor of 750 years ago had more than a sextillion descendants! Again, this will be true of each king and peasant alike. While this may be claimed as a mathematical “fact,” it is obviously impossible. Again, there have not been that many people in the world.

The challenge is to find your royal ancestors. Documentation of the royal families is plentiful, but finding your link back through many generations of commoners may be a challenge. While not every one of us will ever be able to prove descent from royalty, the odds are overwhelming that we all have such connections, documented or not. You just need to spend some time to find them!"

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