Tag Archives: William Tetherly

We are all connected

Indoeuropean%20language%20family%20tree So, I was pretty excited about 3 o’clock this morning when I discovered several of my 12th great grandparents. And when I say discovered, I followed the trail back and was able to find documented proof (well, at least the index of the proof… when I get to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City tomorrow, I’ll find copies of the actual documents) of marriages and births.

14 GENERATIONS BACK.

I know… impressive, right? You’d think so… until you realized that at 14 generations you have 16,384 grandparents.

Yes, you read that right. 16,384 great grandparents… they’d be your Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmas & Grandpas. Talk about a family reunion!

I found six.

All born in England from 1550 to 1570… John Garde married Mary Suthcott, Richard Gyst married Margaret Lake, and William Tetherly married Mercy Spinney. Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.50.21 PM

I actually even found three of my 13th great grandfathers – Nycholas Suthcott, Thomas Gyst and William Lake – 15th generations back… but, by just adding another generation, a short span of 25 years, you’d have about 32,768 grandparents.

The below chart demonstrates how the grandparents double… it doesn’t take many generations to become overwhelmed with family.

2 Parents

4 Grandparents

8 Great Grandparents

16 Great Great Grandparents

32 Great Great Great Grandparents

64 Great Great Great Great Grandparents

128 Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

256 Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

512 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

1024 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

When you do the math, by the time you get to 20 generations or 500 years, you’d have 1,048,576 grandparents. Do you think you’d remember their names?

The United States only has 3.2 million people.

The world’s population right now is about 7.2 billion people. Less than 10 billion people have ever lived on the earth but if you go back 40 generations or a thousand years… you’d have more than a trillion ancestors.

I know… mind boggling, isn’t it?

By now, you’re wondering, how in the world can I have a trillion ancestors when only 10 billion have ever lived on the earth?

deliverance-1972--00Remember Deliverance? Yep…. Inbreeding makes it possible. You don’t normally find that in the first 10 generations, but going back further the population drops and so did the choice in partners. You might have had a trillion ancestors 40 generations ago, but not a trillion different ones.

Population genetic scientists have actually done a lot of research on this subject and in an article authored by Steven Olson in the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, he describes some amazing results of their studies:

  • In all probability, you and I are descended from English royalty
  • Everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius,
  • Everyone in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne,
  • Eighty percent of Charlemagne’s contemporaries are also ancestors of us all.

So what does this all really mean?

One, that I have a ton of work to do! But, if you go back 22 generations, you’ll find our common ancestors and realize WE ARE ALL RELATED.

Now, let’s play nice together… we’re family afterall.


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