Ho hum. Forbes magazine is the latest to run an article that tells how two prominent Americans are related. If you want to read this drivel, go to http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/14/ancestry-genealogy-internet-technology-internet-ancestry.html.
Let's look at realities for a moment. Every person has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and sixteen great-great-grandparents. Do you see a progression there? Let's keep going back.
Let's assume 25 years between each generation:
|Number of Gen.||Number of Years||Number of Ancestors in the Generation||Total Ancestors to Date|
European settlers first appeared in North America roughly 400 years ago. If each of us could research our family trees completely and document every single ancestor in the past 400 years, each of us would find 131,070 ancestors.
That assumes no duplication of ancestors in our trees but, of course, there is always duplication. For this exercise, let's ignore the duplicate ancestors and assume that each of us has 131,070 unique ancestors in the past 400 years. If we go back 800 years, each of us has 8,589,934,590 ancestors. That's eight and a half billion!
Brad Pitt has 131,070 ancestors in the past 400 years. Barack Obama also has 131,070 ancestors in the past 400 years. Since Obama's father was from Africa, we can consider Barack Obama to have "only" 65,535 ancestors from North America or Europe in the past 400 years.
What's the odds that each of them has at least one ancestor in common with the other? I don't know the answer but I am sure it is a very high probability. In fact, I'd be surprised if they were NOT related. I'd also be surprised if they were not related ten or twenty or even fifty different ways!
Let's face facts: most everyone in North America is related to most everyone else in North America. You and I are probably related. I bet we are both related to Brad Pitt and I bet we are both related to Barack Obama and I bet that we are both related to thousands of other notables. I haven't proven that yet but with numbers ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the billions of ancestors, how can we NOT be related?
Perhaps if your ancestry is 100% from Asia or India or perhaps from Africa, you might have to go back a lot further to find a common ancestor but, in theory, you still could do so. We are all related and most of us with ancestors who have been in North America for a couple of centuries or more are rather closely related (tenth cousins or so).
This latest news story is "no big deal." So what if the two are related? We are ALL related to each other!
I'd be more interested in reading an article that claimed "Brad Pitt And Barack Obama Are Definitely NOT Related." I don't expect to ever see that, however.