Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Night Fun - Ancestral Name Numbers

Randy Seaver has handed me an easy way to get back to blogging with this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. Easy, but pretty depressing, were I a negative type of person. (Those who know me are guffawing. I am never the optimist.)

After similar posts made on geneablogs and social media, Randy suggested we calculate the percent of ancestors we've identified going back 10 generations. Luckily I'm in a glass is half-full mode and not too dismayed by my 14% total. Given that my father is a first generation American whose family is from the Carpathian Mountains, I'm pleased I broke the ten percent threshold.

I ran Legacy's Ancestor Book report for 10 generations and started counting. I'm golden through my 2nd great-grandparents, but then the numbers drop off. Precipitously.

In addition to my mystery Rusyns, I have all those lovely Southern ancestors. Ancestors who simply appear in Tennessee with only a few breadcrumbs to follow. Women recorded as Sarah, wife of great-grandpa so and so.  Smiths and Jameses living in the mountains of Virginia. Mountain people are hard to trace.

So 14% is where I am. I don't know if I'll ever get much further, but I've made some progress in the last 25 years. Future breakthroughs will be worth far more than whatever small percentage they add to the number.