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Family History Therapy by Dr Matt

 Family History Research Help:
Learn Basics for Using Family Search.org

by Dr Matt Moody, Ph.D.  


                     *  Learning Computer Basics Necessary for Online Family History
                     *  How to Search the FamilySearch.org Historical Database.
                     *  Attaching Vital and Census Records to an Ancestor's Person Page.
                     *  Entering or Editing Vital Information for each Ancestor.
                     *  Cleaning Up and Correcting a Confused Family Tree.
                     *  Merging Duplicate Records within the Family Tree Database.

                         Handout: How to Use FamilySearch.org in 7 Easy Steps

                         Handout:  How to Use FamilySearch.org in 7 Easy Steps with Details

                         FamilySearch.org Basic Functions:


King Charlemagne is My 29th Great Grandfather
and You're Likely Related to Him, Too!
by Matt Moody, Ph.D.  

While on a trip to New York, I saw the Broadway play "Pippin." It's a story about how the son of King Charlemagne, Prince Pippin, is trying to find the meaning of life -- to find his "Corner of the Sky" as the song goes. He tries to find life's meaning through money, fame, pleasure, and power, but none of these pursuits bring him happiness. He finally discovers joy in a love relationship with a single mother.

Pippin Broadway Play Pippin and King Charlemagne

Ever since I saw this Broadway play, I've been fascinated with King Charlemagne and Prince Pippin. Recently, I started climbing my Family Tree at FamilySearch.org and just kept climbing through family lines that kept going back and back -- 1600's and then the 1300's and the 900's and I finally found Prince Pippin (785 A.D.) and King Charlemagne (742 A.D.), both born in France.

I found this connection through a random Tree Climbing, and I've since discovered that, beginning from 5 of my 8 great grandparents, I can trace each family line to Prince Pippin and his father King Charlemagne: Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Truth is, most everyone who has ancestors in Great Britain will likely find ancestors across the English Channel into France, and end up being related to Pippin and Charlemagne! Let me explain why.

One reason that all genealogical roads lead to King Charlemagne is because the further you go back in time, it is the "royal lines" that survive -- because the "royals" had the money and means to make sure genealogical records were written and safely stored for posterity. And there is yet another reason why you and I and almost everyone else is related to King Charlemagne: in fact, there are a 100 million reasons!

If you were born about 1966, then your parents, on average, would be born about 1933, and your grandparents 1900. So every hundred years, there are at least 3 generations in an individual's Family ancestry. Now, it's possible that there could be 4 generations in a hundred years period -- when a person's ancestral line passes through children born at the top of the birth order, and when parents married early, around age 20.

For example: You is you were born about 1975, your parent were born about 1950, your grandparents were born about 1925, and finally your great grandparents were born about 1900. But some parents marry later than age 20, and some children are born deeper into the birth order, 10 or more years after a couple has been married. For example, my mother gave birth to me when she was 44 years old.

So the following shows the number of great grandparents you will have in each generation, and also estimates the number of generations per century of time:

                                                                  You                   1
                                                           Parents                    2
                                                Grandparents                    4             born in the 1900's
                                   Great-Grandparents                       8
                           2nd Great-Grandparents                    16
                           3rd Great-Grandparents                     32              born in the 1800's
                           4th Great-Grandparents                     64
                           5th Great-Grandparents                   128
                           6th Great-Grandparents                   256             born in the 1700's
                           7th Great-Grandparents                   512
                          8th Great-Grandparents               1,024
                          9th Great-Grandparents                2,048               born in the 1600's
                        10th Great-Grandparents                4,096
                        11th Great-Grandparents                 8,192
                        12th Great-Grandparents               16,384               born in the 1500's
                        13th Great-Grandparents               32,768
                        14th Great-Grandparents                65,536
                        15th Great-Grandparents              131,072               born in the 1400's
                        16th Great-Grandparents              262,144
                        17th Great-Grandparents               524,288
                        18th Great-Grandparents            1,048,576               born in the 1300's  
                       19th Great-Grandparents             2,097,152  
                       20th Great-Grandparents              4,194,304  
                       21st Great-Grandparents               8,388,608               born in the 1200's
                      22nd Great-Grandparents            16,777,216
                       23rd Great-Grandparents            33,554,432
                       24th Great-Grandparents             67,108,864                 born in the 1100's 
                       25th Great-Grandparents           134,217,728
                  *  26th Great-Grandparents             268,415,456  
                       27th Great-Grandparents             536,830,912                born in the 1000's
                       28th Great-Grandparents           1,073,662,834
                       29th Great-Grandparents            2,147,325,668
                       30th Great-Grandparents            4,294,651,336                 born in the 900's
                        31st Great-Grandparents            8,589,302,672 
                        32nd Great-Grandparents          17,178,605,344 
                         33rd Great-Grandparents           34,357,210,688                born in the 800's

* The earth's population in 1000 AD was about 250,000,000 -- so the mathematical doubling of great grandparents in earlier generations hits a bottle neck at a certain point. This means that further mathematical doubling doesn't really occur because the "doubling totals" are MORE than the population of the earth at a particular time in history.

Even though one person could theoretically have 1 Million 18th great grandparents from the early 1300's, the number of contributing great-great grandparents is actually less, because 3rd or 4th or 5th (etc.) cousins end up marrying due to geographic proximity constraints; meaning, people have a limited number marital-partner choices within a geographical region. Thus patterns of propinquity create many duplications of great-great (etc.) grandparents in a person's family tree.

For example, here's a Relationship Path Chart that shows how my youngest son Devin is an 11th cousin to his soon-to-be wife:

Devin and Harley

If we just kept doubling the number of grandparents every generation, by the early 800's the number of 33rd great grandparents, for one person living in 2015, would be about 34 billion -- but that's impossible, because the population of the earth in the 800's was about 200 million. And the population of the earth in 2015 is just 7.3 Billion.

Again, this means that the ancestral doubling, from one generation to the next, hits a bottle-neck at the year 1000 A.D., where the a person would theoretically have 250 million 26th great grandparents, AND the population of the earth is about 250 million.

So as you climb higher and higher up a Family Tree, your ancestry will naturally begin to narrow, because the SAME 20th great grandparents can appear at the top of your Family Tree multiple times. Further, we know that the ancestral line MUST NECESSARILY NARROW at the top of the Family Tree. Why? Because the Human Family began with just 2 people, Adam and Eve!

So, the reason why most Caucasians in North America and Europe will have Family Lines that pass through Prince Pippin and King Charlemagne of France, is because there are 100's of Millions of contributing great grandparents in every person's Family Tree at the 29th generation.


   Family History Research Help by Dr Matt


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