Paul J. Gans (
19 Jan 1995 16:20:54 GMT

Earlobe ( wrote:
: wrote:
: : How can we possibly have more ancestors in a coexisting generation than
: : the total known population of the earth?

: : I know for a fact that I have a mother and a father who each has a mother
: : and a father, etc... The direct ancestral chart would look like so:
: : Generation Population
: : 1 2 (Mother and father)
: : 2 4 (grandparents)
: : 3 8 (greatgrandparents)....
: : 20 1,048,576
: : 30 1,073,741,841
: : Going backwards it does not take too long to run into a problem.

: : What am I missing? Please email your response to me. Thanks
: : Art Decker
: :

: Maybe the fact that not all people live forever..

Everyone else seems to be climbing onto this one, so let me
join the fun.

I've enjoyed the fact that so many of us net.folk seemingly
live lives isolated from our past. If you check back even a
little bit (if you are lucky enough to have the living resources
with which to check back) you will find many cousin-cousin
marriages and very many more distant relations. In my family
(besides the fact that my maternal grandparents were first
cousins once removed) there are a fair number of cousin-cousin

In days when travel was more restricted and people tended to
marry within a small geographic locality, second and third
cousin marriages were *very* common. An example (though not
a good one for other reasons) is the ancestral tree of any
royal or noble family.

In the middle ages the Church went to foolish extremes in
prohibiting marriages between relatives, insisting at one
point that 40th degree relatives could not marry. Putting
that aside, the prohibition existed because of the great
tendency for relatives to marry.

----- Paul J. Gans, who is, among other things, his
brother's third cousin... []