Sometimes I get unusual reactions to
my "Descent From Charlemagne" chart.

How many ancestors would I have if I go back 36 generations?
Take 2 to the 36th power:
236 = 68,719,476,736

I decided to create a table to literally "show the math"
in regard to just how many ancestors one can count.

Ancestry charts are of course geometric: We have 2 parents,
4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, and so on.

For example, when you make an ancestry chart,
if you go back 5 generations, there are 32 "slots"
to fill in names. Many family historians can easily
show some overlap of the same person showing up in
more than one of these slots, especially if they can go
back many generations in the same general living location.

If you go back to Charlemagne's time, you would have to
fill in billions of slots, more than the entire population
of the earth!

2Parents10th =1,02419th =524,28828th =268,435,456
2 x 2Grandparents11th2,04820th1,048,57629th536,870,912
238 Great-Grandparents12th4,09621st2,097,15230th1,073,741,824
2416 GG-Grandparents13th8,19222nd4,194,30431st2,147,483,648
2532 3G-Grandparents14th16,38423rd8,388,60832nd4,294,967,296
6th64 4G etc.15th32,76824th16,777,21633rd8,589,934,592
7th128 etc. etc.16th65,53625th33,554,43234th17,179,869,184

Charlemagne was my 36th Great-Grandfather, and at
that level of past generations, there would be well over
68 billion "slots" to fill, which would
have been over 100 times the population of the entire earth
(it is even over 10 times our present population).

There are probably thousands of ways to connect to
Charlemagne. I was able to uncover the "paper trail"
to show only 1 of them... Just how many descendants
might he have? I recently read an estimate of over
600 million people currently alive today.

Back to my Charlemagne descent page.

Back to my home page.