Why You’re Probably Related to Nefertiti, Confucius, and Socrates … and Most Everyone Else

An article by Stephen Johnson in the BigThink web site states:


“The theory of evolution holds that all living things have common ancestors. But just how far back do humans need to go to find a common ancestor of their own: a person to whom all living people are related?

“The answer, for people of European descent at least, is surprisingly recent: 600 years. The common ancestor for every single person alive on the planet today, no matter where, lived approximately 3,600 years ago. That means Confucius, Nefertiti, Socrates, and any figure from ancient history that had children, is in some way your ancestor.”

The article then goes on to describe the findings in a new book by Adam Rutherford titled A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, which explores efforts within mathematics and science to describe human ancestry on a grand scale.

I also wrote about this more than two years ago in an article entitled We Are All Related! So Get Over It. As I wrote at the time, “Of course, most every person in North America whose ancestors have been here for several generations is related to most everyone else in North America whose ancestors have been here for several generations. In fact, you and I are probably related, and we are also probably related to Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, and the local mailman.”

The article is still available at: https://blog.eogn.com/2015/08/25/we-are-all-related-so-get-over-it/.


How does that book explain the Australian aborigines, who who been cut off from practically everyone else for 40,000 years? And the 600 years for Europeans is totally unprovable: mathematics won’t help; you’d have to prove at least that every single village in Europe allowed someone not born there to mate with one of the locals several generations ago. Most villages don’t have records to prove that. Just one unproved village would be enough to shoot the assertion down.


In researching my Scottish ancestress I have fund that almost every branch has married another branch between about 1100 and 1500. Before that time people came from England and previous to that from what is now France, Germany,and Netherlands. There is a mixture from Noway and Denmark.The smaller the population, the more inter marriage.


The reality is that nobody knows when our Most Recent Common Ancestor lived – the calculations wary according to the assumptions that are made about migration and the mixing of populations across geographic, cultural, and religious boundaries.

What I can say is that the claims made by Stephen Johnson are clearly misleading, because he has conflated two different concepts, the MRCA and the Identical Ancestors Point – the point at which everyone who has descendants alive today is the ancestor of everyone living today. The IAP is necessarily much further back than the MRCA. He also talks about everyone who had children, which is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Also, while Adam Rutherford’s book has recently been republished, it isn’t exactly new – I reviewed it in September 2016.

But I do very much agree with the sentiments of your “We are all related…” article.


The concept of recent universal relatedness is something that many genealogists find difficult to comprehend. You might like to share with your readers these two recent blog posts from the geneticist Graham Coop which I think explain this concept very well:


Since my ancestors have been in two counties in Ky since the late 1700’s, and the families we’ve married into have mostly stayed there too. I surely don’t think that Dick E. is related to me..


    Jan: is it possible that a grandparent, or great-grandparent, of one of your earliest Kentucky ancestors was born in New England? If so, maybe you and Dick are 9th cousins, or something -.


    —> Since my ancestors have been in two counties in Ky since the late 1700’s, and the families we’ve married into have mostly stayed there too. I surely don’t think that Dick E. is related to me..

    If you are talking about determining relationships by using DNA, tracing ancestry back to the 1700s would qualify as “recent history.” DNA supposedly shows descents going back thousands of years.

    Where did your Kentucky ancestors come from? England? Scotland? or the European continent? Did they live there hundreds or thousands of years ago? My ancestors were there also.

    So I would argue that we quite possibly are related, not that we will ever find the paper documentation. However, DNA often proves relationships even when the paper trail does not exist.

    Liked by 1 person

If Jan and Dick each posted all that they know about their ancestors on the same public genealogy website (preferably one that Dick has recommended), one or both of them might soon get a pleasant surprise. Jan might even find some familiar names on http://familypedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kentucky/bdm


That is NOT the real Nefertiti but somebody’s recreation of Nefertiti to appease those that want to twist Egyptian history.


It’s true if you were to trace history, we all would find a common thread. Since each generation is multiplied by two and should you go back to your 25 grandfather (great), there’d have to be over a billion of the 25th person. Since there weren’t that many people, Intramarriage had to occur and also since the age of mortality was short, people marred more than one person. I’ve done the genealogical tree and gone back 30 or so generations. There are common threads among family lines, from other countries. Since my husband is directly related to WIliam I, he’s related to 99% of royalty from every European country including Russia and beyond. As for the rest of the population, there’s been studies showing we all have a common gene from wherever we live to the Middle Eastern countries of old. Then when the population grew and towns could not feed them, they migrated in all directions to better food sources. Also, countries continually changed borders. The Roman Empire, the Franks, Brittany, Russian Empire, the Scandinavian countries, even the countries in the Caribbean and South America and Africa have been mapped and remapped. When Queen Victoria had her nine children, they all went and ruled some countries never existing before.

This is my opinion based on factual research. Not all dates are fictitious. Thee are writings from before Christ and the British empire kept accurate ledgers.


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