Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What's Your Ancestral Name Number?

Hey ahnentafelists (new genea-word!) - it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I hope more of you do than participated in the SNGF Genealympics the last three weeks), is to:

1)  Determine how complete your genealogy research is.  For background, read Crista Cowan's post Family History All Done? What’s Your Number?  For comparison purposes, keep the list to 10 generations with you as the first person.  

2)  Create a table similar to Crista's second table, and fill it in however you can (you could create an Ahnentafel (Ancestor Name) list and count the number in each generation, or use some other method).  Tell us how you calculated the numbers.

3)  Show us your table, and calculate your "Ancestral Name Number" - what is your percentage of known names to possible names (1,023 for 10 generations).

4)  For extra credit (or more SNGF), do more generations and add them to your chart.

5)  Post your table, and your "Ancestral Name Number," on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

1)  I did this by creating an Ahnentafel Report in RootsMagic 5 (Reports > Lists > Ahnentafel Report) for 15 generations, then saved it as a PDF, opened it, and counted, by hand, the persons on the list in each generation.  The numbers included duplicate persons (due to marrying cousins) and persons I had either a first or last name for.

2)  My chart (if you want a blank chart in Microsoft Word format, please email me!  I'm leaving at 4 p.m. PDT on Saturday, though):

3)  My "Ancestral Names Number" for 10 generations is:

*  Number of known ancestral names = 544
*  Number of possible ancestral names = 1,023
*  10 generation Ancestral Name Number = 544/1,023 = 53.27%

4)  Extra credit:  For 15 generations, I have 2,236 known Ancestral Names, out of 32,767 possible, for an Ancestral Name Number of 6.82% for 15 generations.

It really helps, in my case, to have a New England ancestry for about 50% of my 4th great-grandparents.  All of those New England ancestors have English ancestors and those are the lines back to the 15th generation.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Grandma Margie's Family said...

I was glad when you listed this as your Saturday Night Genealogy Fun event. It was interesting to see several of the professionals numbers so I decided to check my number. I was surprised that the number was so low as I have over 3000 people in my data file. They just are not direct line. I better get to working on the direct line to bring this numner up.

Number of known ancestral names = 101
Number of possible ancestral names = 1,023
10 generation Ancestral Name Number = 101/1,023 = 9.87%

Thanks for all you do for the genealogy community.

Mel said...

Shoot! I thought I was going to be first. LOL My numbers are in the post.

RootsMagic said...

If you don't have cousin marriages, here is an easier way to find the number in RM.

1. Do a Statistics list report
2. For the "People to include" option choose "Select people from a list"
3. Highlight yourself
4. Click "Mark group", then "Ancestors of highlighted person"
5. Choose "Direct ancestors only and the number of generations to mark, then click OK.
6. Click "Generate Report"

You will have a list of how many people were selected, how many were male vs female, etc.

Kathleen Moore said...

Heres mine! my blog entry

Mine ended up dropping off pretty dramatically. Yikes.

Beth Benko said...

I use Legacy Family Tree Deluxe, so I generated a circular Fan Chart and counted the folks in each ring. I was at 100% through generation 5 and then things fell off rather badly after that - 62 total for 6.06%.

Thanks for doing this. Now I have data to show my engineer husband when he asks, "Aren't you done with that yet?" ;-)

Sebastien Comeau said...

Just finished mine Was a fun analysis:

. said...

Ok, that was fun:) Thanks!
See ours (Mom and me) at

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I enjoyed that exercise and was very surprised how low my number was! My post is here:

Unknown said...

A day late, but here it is! I was surprised that my percentage was so low!

Patrick Jones said...

Here's mine:

A thought provoking exercise and shows where some of the gaps are in tracing my family.

Unknown said...

Here goes.

A: I created a txt Ancestor list and did a Find and counted the generation numbers. I did the dame thing for my husband, and did the math for my kids.

2: At 10 generations, my percentage is 56.7%, my husband's is 39.1% and my kids are at 62.17%.

3: My chart is here: (this is my first try at this, so I hope it works).

4: At 15 generations, my percentage is 8.2%. hubby's is 1.25% and my kids' 8.38%.

It was a lot of work, but a great exercise. Thanks for the challenge.

Elizabeth Handler said...

Back from vacation, I finally got to do this one. See From Maine to Kentucky.

Bob Kramp said...

I calculated an Ancestral Name Number of 5.1% (50/1022), but I also gave some excuses. Thanks for passing on the challenge. It was fun.