Just who is on your family tree?

Charlemagne DNA GenealogyI’ve just come across a fascinating website http://nautil.us/ , it’s theme is “What Makes You So Special: The Puzzle of Human Uniqueness”. It is a science based website, but several of the pages concern themselves with DNA and other subjects dear to a genealogists heart. One page in particular addresses the fact that statistically it can be proved that we are all related to one another.

A particular sentence caught my attention – “anyone who was alive 2,000 – 3,000 years ago is either an ancestor of everyone who is now alive, or no one at all”. This makes sense when you think that working backwards each generation doubles the number of direct descendants, so when you go back 40 generations (not likely on a typical family tree) then you would have a trillion direct ancestors when the world population is estimated to have been only about 300 million.

So we are all related to Charlemagne, Edward 1st, Cleopatra and so on. Makes for a colourful family tree!

Here are links to two articles I think you’ll find thought provoking –



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