FORTY GENERATIONS


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Generation Years Ancestors Number
0 0 0
1 25 2
2 50 4
3 75 8
4 100 16
5 125 32
6 150 64
7 175 128 Hundred
8 200 256
9 225 512
10 250 1,024 Thousand
11 275 2,048
12 300 4,096
13 325 8,192
14 350 16,384
15 375 32,768
16 400 65,536
17 425 131,072
18 450 262,144
19 475 524,288
20 500 1,048,576 Million
21 525 2,097,152
22 550 4,194,304
23 575 8,388,608
24 600 16,777,216
25 625 33,554,432
26 650 67,108,864
27 675 134,217,728
28 700 268,435,456
29 725 536,870,912
30 750 1,073,741,824 Billion
31 775 2,147,483,648
32 800 4,294,967,296
33 825 8,589,934,592
34 850 17,179,869,184
35 875 34,359,738,368
36 900 68,719,476,736
37 925 137 Billion
38 950 274 Billion
39 975 549 Billion
40 1000 1.0995116278e+12 Trillion


What this table shows that going back about 1,000 year is about 40 generations. In that 40th generation there are a possible trillion ancestors. We know there were not a trillion people living on the earth 1,000 years ago. This means that my own (and yours, too) pedigree lines merge before 40 generations. I suspect most lines start to merge in 20 generations or 500 years.

For example, it is estimated that there were about 700,000 people living in England at the time of the Conquest (1066 AD). From this one can infer that a person of English ancestry is descended from everyone living in England at the time of the Conquest (who had descendants). My family has traced its roots to William the Conquerer--but so can every other person of English Ancestry. In other terms William the Conquerer is the father of all the English. But so, too, is the poorest farmer's wife at that time is also the mother of all the English.

Similar arguments can be made about any ethnic group. All the Japanese today are all descended from a group of several hundred thousand Japanese who lived on those Island a 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. The same can be said for the French, Russians, Zulus, or Laotians.

By extension, one might plausibly believe that every person in the world can trace at least one line back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, given the amount of migration of peoples there has been throughout history.


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