Your True Ancestry and Genealogy For 50 Generations


by Jayaram V

Can you imagine how many ancestors you might have had over 50 generations?

A hundred?

Two hundred?

A thousand?

If you are thinking that the number will be in thousands, you are mistaken.

There are some obvious facts about our lives and the world, which we miss because we do not think deep enough. The answer to this question falls into that category.

In the following table, we have shown how many ancestors you might have had in each generation up to 50 generations into the past, starting with you and your parents.

That is, considering that you represent the current generation, and you have two parents, who in turn have two parents each and so on. By ancestors we mean all the people who contributed to your gene pool through successive generations.

As you can see from the table, you must have had about 1.02 trillion ancestors over 50 generations, from whom you derived your ancestry and genealogy.

In other words, starting with your parents, about 1.026 trillion ancestors should have contributed to your gene pool over just 50 generations or roughly in about 1200 to 1500 years.

If they were all alive in the same time period, it would require at least a hundred planets of the size of the earth to house them.

If this is the case with just 50 generations, imagine what the number will be when we stretch the timeframe to 500 generations or roughly about 10,000 years.

These trillion plus human beings who were your ancestors not only contributed to your gene pool but also to your unique characteristics and personality traits, which can be genetically traced to them, and which distinguish you as a person with a distinct identity.

Unfortunately, beyond two or three generations, you may never know any of them, where they lived or what they did. Most of them are buried deep in the unknown and unsung history of the planet, leaving you as a remnant of their forgotten existence. You are the only evidence that they ever existed.

There is no magic or speculation in what we have stated here. The number of your ancestors is not an approximation or conjecture. It is derived from pure mathematical calculations. All that you have to do is to do the calculations, starting with your parents and multiplying the number each time with two.

Your birth is nothing short of an oddity, a chance or random event, which was made possible by a number of random factors.

Imagine the odds of you coming into existence or taking birth at the appointed time from your biological parents in a universe whose dimensions we cannot comprehend.

Even if one of them was missing in the link or if anyone among the billions of ancestors failed to marry the same partner and create the chain of succession, you would not have taken birth at all or had an opportunity to experience life consciously.

If one of them had a certain genetic defect, it would have permanently altered your physical or mental condition. If they lived in a different place or region, you would not have born.

What can we learn from this?

Firstly, we must stop feeding our egos or taking pride in our national or cultural identities and humbly acknowledge the underlying unity of all human beings. We must remember that trillions of human beings are hidden in the genetic constitution of each person, not just his or her parents or their parents.

Secondly, we must acknowledge that we have a shared ancestry, and probably a common origin, which is often traced in our scriptures to the one source in the heaven. Thereby, we can at least learn to practice humility and tolerance and stop discriminating against others because of their color, appearance, gender, nationality, status or origin.

It is natural on our part that after we are born, due to circumstances and various factors we become constricted in our thinking and attitude. We assume many identities to fortify our egos and use them to identify ourselves and establish relationships with others to promote and protect ourselves and our worldly interests.

In the process, we ignore the extent of our genealogies and the diversity of our ancestors. Having become lost in the pursuit of material goals and having developed attachments to many things such as our names, family names, castes, races, regions, religions, languages, ethnicity, etc., we forget that we have a lot in common with other people even if they belong to different backgrounds.

It is common to see that a lot of people become attached to their national and religious identities. If you become too attached to your faith, nationality or your social background, you can pause and remember that your ancestors were probably not practicing the same faith as yours. They might not have belonged to the same soil, spoke the same language or engaged in the same profession.

This awareness should be reason enough to consider that your life is a great blessing.

It is good for your soul to ground yourself in the knowledge that your existence has been made possible by countless and unknown human beings.

You owe to them your existence and all that you have and you enjoy. In itself it should be a good reason to feel grateful and show gratitude to all those who in their own ways created conditions and possibilities for your birth upon earth.

Even if you assume that your birth was a chance event, you cannot ignore that it was made possible by countless human beings.

Whether you are black or white, male or female, high or low, you are a part of one large family tree, which is described in the Upanishads as the Asvattha tree, with its roots in heaven and branches spread everywhere.

We belong to one universal family, which the Vedas describe as the Vasudaika Kutmubam. Your family consists of trillions of ancestors. You owe to them your existence.

Scholars may keep debating whether we originated from Africans, Indo Europeans, Dravidians or some native, indigenous population. The fact is that all these discussions seem frivolous when we look at our ancestry over several thousand years from this perspective. What difference will it make when you know that so many ancestors are hidden in your design and configuration?

We may take pride in our particular genealogies, but the truth is that our ancestors come from different backgrounds and across many nations, tribes, ethnicities and continents, and most of us at some point in the long history of human beings upon earth may have one or more common ancestors, if not several hundred.

Even if one of the ancestors from those millions was missing, your birth would not have become possible. In other words, because of many random events and the births of millions of ancestors, your present birth and existence have become possible. Therefore, if you want to cultivate tolerance, compassion and universal friendliness (kalyana mitrata), please remember this.

Genealogy Table for 50 Generations

G.No No of ancestors at each generation Period of existence Estimated World Population
51 1,025,899,906,842,620 500 A.D 190,000,000
50 562,949,953,421,312 530 A.D 200,694,661
49 281,474,976,710,656 560 A.D 213,504,958
48 140,737,488,355,328 500 A.D 227,132,934
47 70,368,744,177,664 620 A.D 241,630,781
46 35,184,372,088,832 650 A.D 257,054,023
45 17,592,186,044,416 680 A.D 273,461,726
44 8,796,093,022,208 710 A.D 290,916,730
43 4,398,046,511,104 740 A.D 309,485,883
42 2,199,023,255,552 770 A.D 329,240,301
41 1,099,511,627,776 800 A.D 350,255,639
40 549,755,813,888 830 A.D 372,612,382
39 274,877,906,944 860 A.D 396,396,151
38 137,438,953,472 890 A.D 421,698,033
37 68,719,476,736 920 A.D 448,614,929
36 34,359,738,368 950 A.D 477,249,925
35 17,179,869,184 980 A.D 507,712,686
34 8,589,934,592 1010 A.D 540,119,879
33 4,294,967,296 1040 A.D 574,595,615
32 2,147,483,648 1070 A.D 611,271,931
31 1,073,741,824 1100 A.D 650,289,289
30 536,870,912 1130 A.D 691,797,116
29 268,435,456 1160 A.D 735,954,378
28 134,217,728 1190 A.D 782,930,190
27 67,108,864 1220 A.D 832,904,457
26 33,554,432 1250 A.D 886,068,571
25 16,777,216 1280 A.D 942,626,140
24 8,388,608 1310 A.D 1,002,793,766
23 4,194,304 1340 A.D 1,066,801,878
22 2,097,152 1370 A.D 1,134,895,615
21 1,048,576 1400 A.D 1,207,335,761
20 524,288 1430 A.D 1,284,399,746
19 262,144 1460 A.D 1,366,382,708
18 131,072 1490 A.D 1,453,598,626
17 65,536 1520 A.D 1,546,381,517
16 32,768 1550 A.D 1,645,086,720
15 16,384 1580 A.D 1,750,092,255
14 8,192 1610 A.D 1,861,800,272
13 4,096 1640 AD 1,980,638,587
12 2,048 1670 A.D 2,107,062,326
11 1,024 1670 A.D 2,241,555,666
10 512 1730 A.D 2,384,633,688
9 256 1760 A.D 2,536,844,348
8 128 1790 A.D 2,698,770,583
7 64 1820 A.D 2,871,032,536
6 32 1850 A.D 3,054,289,932
5 16 1880 A.D 3,249,244,608
4 8 1910 A.D 3,456,643,200
3 4 1940 A.D 3,677,280,000
2 2 1970 A.D 3,912,000,000
1 1 2000 A.D 6,020,000,000

World population in 1999 was six billions. We have shown it as 6.02 billion for 2000, which is an estimate.

Estimated world population count in 500 AD is as per the historical estimates of McEvedy, Colin and Richard Jones. For historical estimates of world population, you may visit :

Estimated world population count from 500 AD to 2000 AD is based upon rough estimates. These figures should not be taken seriously for any academic exercise or research. They are presented here for comparison purposes only.

Underlying assumptions

30 years for each generation based on the expectation that the average age difference between parents and children would be 30 years and the average age difference between grandparents and their grandchildren would be 60 years. The years taken into account for each generation gap may vary. However, irrespective of how of old a parent or grandparent would be when a child is born, or how many centuries were involved, the calculations for the previous 50 generations would be the same for each and every individual, thereby proving the point that we all share some common ancestry at some point or the other in the history of the humankind.

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