To find the answer, I created an “Ancestors” report, including generation numbers, in my computer genealogy program, Ancestral Quest. I did not include myself since I’m really not an ancestor yet. Then, I added up the known ancestors in each generation. Details are shown in the table below (click to enlarge).
As you can see, I know almost all of my direct ancestors in the first 5 generations.
Then, my knowledge of the next 5 generations falls off precipitously.
In summary, I only know 5.1% of a possible 1022 ancestors in my 10
Except for the first 2 generations (myself and my parents), most
of my ancestors were born overseas, particularly in Germany. Therefore,
it is quite challenging- in terms of financial expense and time- to
find the names and vital statistics, particularly, of my immigrant
ancestors. See the last two columns in the Table.
Randy Seaver of the blog, GeneaMusings, calls the percent
knowledge of his direct ancestors, “Ancestral Name Number”. That is, he
has knowledge of 544 names (including his own name) out of a possible
1023 names in 10 generations for an overall Ancestral Name Number of
53.27 % (544/1023). Randy beats my Number by an order of magnitude
*Unfortunately, I do not know the PARENTS of my paternal great grandfather, Karl Streich, of Posen or West Prussia.
**Waiting for Ann Robinson’s (and William Hartley’s) 1842 Civil Marriage Registration from GRO (England) to determine her father’s full name. Hopefully, I will be able to find her mother’s first name in 1841 U.K. Census. Thus, the number in this cell may be boosted from 12 to 14 in a couple of weeks. And if I’m really lucky, one of the death certificates I ordered from Pennsylvania Vital Statistics may have the maiden surname of my 2x great grandmother, Augusta (m. Frederick Hohnke), as well as her PARENTS.
As one of the comments attached to Siever’s blog indicated: it’s the story BEHIND these names that is the most meaningful for a family historian. And oh yes, I have photographs for 7 out of 8 of my great grandparents. I know what they look like. And you know a picture is worth at least a thousand words. Maybe we should add another statistic- Ancestral Picture Number.
REFERENCES AND LINKS:
Judy G. Russell posted “More Lost Than Found” in which she came up with an Ancestral Name Number of 12.3% (126/1022).
Randy Seaver’s blog on “What’s Your Ancestral Name Number?": his was 53.3%.
Becky at Kinexxions calculated 21.3% (218/1022) of her direct ancestors were accounted for in her post, “This and that and 21.3%.".
My Pedigree with images.
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