How many ancestors do we all really have?

In a post back in May, I discussed how there were not enough people on the earth in about the year 1000 A.D for all the ancestors we theoretically have.

Recently I found a great Utube video via a facebook post that explains the “how many ancestors” problem brilliantly. So here it is:

One can postulate that everyone alive at about 1000 A.D. in Europe, who has descendants, is the ancestor of every European person today. Therefore we are ALL descended from Charlemagne. I have at least 3 documented lines to him, how many do you have? See this page on my family history site for more.


2 thoughts on “How many ancestors do we all really have?

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  1. It’s not exactly on the topic but…
    An idea I was thinking about, was: How many people would live in Germany today without the Black Death(“Pest”) and the 30 years war in the Middle Ages. Maybe Germany would have over 100 million inhabitants nowadays?
    (In South Western Germany for example, people from Switzerland filled some of the empty spaces especially after the year 1648.)

  2. Interesting thought. The plague devasted the entire population of Europe, not just Germany, see this wikipedia article

    a quote from that article:

    “The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1347 and 1350 with 30–60 percent of the entire population killed.[1] It reduced world population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in the 14th century. It took 150 and in some areas more than 250 years for Europe’s population to recover.”

    The figure I have seen for my ancestral Norway is that they lost 2/3 of the population to the black death starting in 1349 and plague was a problem for the next 1500 years. (see )

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