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Progenitors

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A progenitor (one who begets or brings forth) is an ancestor in the direct line, or a forefather. Any man or woman from whom you are lineally descended, such as your father and mother, your four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen 2nd great-grandparents, etc., is a progenitor. Every individual has numerous progenitors as he traces back equally all his various ancestral lines, and we are certain to share many lines in common with our friends and acquaintances.

The amazing increase in the number of one’s progenitors from one generation to another for centuris, provided no intermarriages among these forefathers had occurred, is graphically shown by the following table:

        GENE-            NO. OF
       RATION         ANCESTORS
            1                 2
            2                 4
            3                 8
            4                16
            5                32
            6                64
            7               128
            8               256
            9               512
           10             1,024
           11             2,048
           12             4,096
           13             8,192
           14            16,384
           15            32,768
           16            65,536
           17           131,072
           18           262,144
           19           524,288
           20         1,048,576
           21         2,097,152
           22         4,194,304
           23         8,388,608
           24        16,777,216
           25        33,554,432
           26        67,108,864
           27       134,217,728
           28       268,435,456
           29       536,870,912
           30     1,073,741,824
           31     2,147,483,648
           32     4,294,967,296

Allowing an average of three generations to a hundred years we find that in a generation less than 1,100 years, or back to the year 884 AD we would have had, according to this ratio, more than twice as many people for forefathers as are living in the whole world even today. A skilled mathematician once estimated that the population of the world had averaged a billion for each century. That would mean ten billion for each thousand years, or sixty billion people who have lived on the earth in six thousand years since Adam. If we should carry the above table back from 32 to 50 generations we would have the amazing number of 563,959,785,421,512 ancestors in direct line.

In the Genealogical Library of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City is the largest collection of films of original genealogical records in the world. Most of the records are copied on roll film, 35 mm. In width, there being 100 feet to the roll, each roll containing sometimes 1,300 pages, sometimes 800 pages and sometimes 2,000 pages. In 1956 there were 31,598 rolls of American records, following by Sweden with 27,180 rolls, Great Britain and Ireland with 15,453 rolls, Denmark with 14,027 rolls, Finland with 13, 722 rolls, Holland with 12,787 rolls, Germany with 6,591 rolls, Norway with 3,365 rolls, etc.

Source unknown

June Pelo


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