Relationships

Please see my 'Contact' page re email address.

Have you ever wondered what relationship a distant relative was to you? Well, here’s where you can find out if they are a second cousin twice removed. All relationships shown are from the point of view of ‘Self’. Each pair of rows represents a generation, up or down from ‘Self’. Those in the same line as ‘Self’ are the same generation. This chart also shows the percentage of DNA shared with each relative (see note below re accuracy). I hope this helps.

Example: If your shared ancestor, with another person, is your ‘great grandfather’ and that person is in your generation, they are your ‘second cousin’; their parent is your ‘first cousin once removed’ (i.e. your parent’s first cousin); their children will be your ‘second cousins once removed’.


great great great
/
grandparent
\
great great
3.125%
great great
/
grandparent
\
grand uncle/aunt
\
great
6.25%
great grand
3.125%
1st cousin
/
grandparent
\
uncle/aunt
\
3 removed
\
grandparent
12.5%
great uncle/
6.25%
1st cousin
1.563%
2nd cousin
/
25%
\
great aunt
\
2 removed
\
2 removed
\
parent
uncle/aunt
12.5%
1st cousin
3.125%
2nd cousin
0.781%
3rd cousin
/
50%
\
25%
\
1 removed
\
1 removed
\
1 removed
\
Self (100%)
brother/sister
1st cousin
6.25%
2nd cousin
1.563%
3rd cousin
0.3815%
4th cousin
|
50%
\
12.5%
\
3.125%
\
0.781%
\
0.19075%
son/daughter
nephew/niece
1st cousin
2nd cousin
3rd cousin
50%
25%
\
1 removed
\
1 removed
\
1 removed
\
|
  \
6.25%
  \
1.563%
  \
0.3815%
  \
grandson/
grand nephew
1st cousin
2nd cousin
3rd cousin
granddaughter
/grand niece
2 removed
2 removed
2 removed
25%
12.5%
3.125%
0.781%
0.19075%




































NB. The percentages of inherited DNA look very convincing methematically, but are not going to be accurate. This is because each generation inherits 50% of their DNA from their father and 50% of their DNA from their mother, but it is a 'lucky dip' 50%; in theory the entire 50% could be all from of either the grandmother or the grandfather of that child via its parent, and not necessarily half from each. So, to be more accurate, we inherit between 0% and 50% from all of our ancestors. The likelihood is that we get a bit of our DNA from every one of them, but this is not guarenteed, any more than two siblings will necessarily get any of the same DNA from either parent. Siblings usually share a good chunk of their DNA, but have suffient differences in which parts they receive from each parent (again on the 'lucky dip' principle), that they don't look like identical twins. This is also why two cousins may look more like siblings than the actual siblings in the same family. Sorry that this may seem confusing and may need a few re-reads to take the concept in.

There are a total of 65,535 direct-line ancestors in just 16 generations including yourself in just 500 years of your own family history!
This is calculated by adding all the people that would be in your tree, as shown below.

However, as the numbers of potential ancestors increase the likelihood of duplicated entries increases, since distant cousins often marry locally. 1,000 years ago you would potentially have over 4 billion ancestors in that generation, and 2,000 years ago there would be over 24 billion, billion ancestors in that generation (see below). However, since there are only about 7 billion people in the world today and the world population becomes fewer and fewer as you go back in history, most of these ancestors would have duplicate entries in your tree and, logically, you would find the majority of their names in most other family trees around the world. So, we are all distant cousins.

1st generation: 1 (you)
2nd generation: 2 (parents)
3rd generation: 4 (grandparents)
4th generation: 8 (great grandparents) taking you back about 125 years
5th generation: 16 (2x great grandparents)
6th generation: 32 (3x great grandparents)
7th generation: 64 (4x great grandparents)
8th generation: 128 (5x great grandparents) taking you back about 250 years
9th generation: 256 (6x great grandparents)
10th generation: 512 (7x great grandparents)
11th generation: 1,024 (7x great grandparents) taking you back to the English Civil War
12th generation: 2,048 (9x great grandparents) taking you back about 375 years
13th generation: 4,096 (10x great grandparents)
14th generation: 8,192 (11x great grandparents)
15th generation: 16,384 (12x great grandparents)
16th generation: 32,768 (13x great grandparents) taking you back about 500 years

17th generation: 65,536 (14x great grandparents)
18th generation: 131,072 (15x great grandparents)
19th generation: 262,144 (16x great grand parents)
20th generation: 524,288 (17x great grandparents) taking you back about 625 years
21st generation: 1,048,576 (18x great grandparents)
22nd generation: 2,097,152 (19x great grandparents)
23rd generation: 4,194,304 (20x great grandparents)
24th generation: 8,388,608 (21x great grandparents) taking you back about 750 years
25th generation: 16,777,216 (22x great grandparents)
26th generation: 33,554,432 (23x great grandparents)
27th generation: 67,108,864 (24x great grandparents)
28th generation: 134,217,728 (25x great grandparents) taking you back about 875 years
29th generation: 268,435,456 (26x great grandparents)
30th generation: 536,870,912 (27x great grandparents)
31st generation: 1,073,741,824 (28x great grandparents) taking you back to the Norman Conquest of 1066
32nd generation: 2,147,483,648 (29x great grandparents)
33rd generation: 4,294,967,296 (30x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,000 years

34th generation: 8,589,934,592 (31x great grandparents)
35th generation: 17,179,869,184 (32x great grandparents)
36th generation: 34,359,738,368 (33x great grandparents)
37th generation: 68,719,476,736 (34x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,125 years
38th generation: 137,438,953,472 (35x great grandparents)
39th generation: 274,877,906,944 (36x great grandparents)
40th generation: 549,755,813,888 (37x great grandparents)
41st generation: 1,099,511,627,776 (38x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,250 years
42nd generation: 2,199,023,255,552 (39x great grandparents)
43rd generation: 4,398,046,511,104 (40x great grandparents)
44th generation: 8,796,093,022,208 (41x great grandparents)
45th generation: 17,592,186,044,416 (42x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,375 years
46th generation: 35,184,372,088,832 (43x great grandparents)
47th generation: 70,368,744,177,664 (44x great grandparents)
48th generation: 140,737,488,355,328 (45x great grandparents)
49th generation: 281,474,976,710,656 (46x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,500 years

50th generation: 562,949,953,421,312 (47x great grandparents)
51st generation: 1,125,899,906,842,624 (48x great grandparents)
52nd generation: 2,251,799,813,685,248 (49x great grandparents)
53rd generation: 4,503,599,627,370,496 (50x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,625 years
54th generation: 9,007,199,254,740,992 (51x great grandparents)
55th generation: 18,014,398,509,481,984 (52x great grandparents)
56th generation: 36,028,797,018,965,968 (53x great grandparents)
57th generation: 72,057,594,037,931,936 (54x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,750 years and the arrival of Christianity in Britain
58th generation: 144,115,188,075,863,872 (55x great grandparents)
59th generation: 188,230,376,151,727,744 (56x great grandparents)
60th generation: 376,460,752,303,455,488 (57x great grandparents)
61st generation: 752,921,504,606,910,976 (58x great grandparents) taking you back about 1,875 years
62nd generation: 1,505,843,009,213,821,952 (59x great grandparents)
63rd generation: 3,011,686,018,427,643,904 (60x great grandparents)
64th generation: 6,023,372,036,855,287,808 (61x great grandparents)
65th generation: 12,046,744,073,710,575,616 (62x great grandparents) taking you back to the Roman occuption of Britain
66th generation: 24,093,488,147,421,151,232 (63x great grandparents) taking you back about 2,000 years

99 generations would take you back to the Bronze Age in Britain
132 generations would take you back to the first permanent settlements in Britain
330 generations would take you back about 10,000 years
396 to 495 generations would take you back to arrival of homo sapiens in Britain as hunter-gatherers
1,320 to 1,650 generations would take you back to the first homo sapiens in Europe: the Cro-Magnons who painted hunting scenes in the caves of southern France and northern Spain
3,300 generations would take you back about 100,000 years, about the time when Homo Sapiens first left Africa
5,610 generations would take you back about 170,000 years, about the time when Homo Sapiens first extisted in Africa

The above numbers make you realise how little you are likely to inherit from any single ancestor. People who can claim descent from someone very famous 200 years ago are unlikely to have much of that person's DNA in them, if any, unless that person is their direct male-to-male or female-to-female ancestor (Y-DNA or MtDNA). All your other ancestors, to a greater or lesser degree, are part of the 'soup' of DNA that makes you up.

You can take it with a 'pinch of salt' when someone says, "We have done our family tree." Sorry to dissapoint them but, after over 40 years of research, I can state that there is no such thing as 'finished' in family history research, unless you have come to a complete halt on all lines, which means you are just 'stuck' not 'finished'. I have to admit that there are some barriers to research that cannot be passed, since some records no longer exist, but you could always have your DNA checked and undertake subsequent research into the races that make you up as an individual. Also, you could add some regional, local, military, occupational & trade history to your tree to put your ancestors in context. Also, tracing distant cousins who are alive today can have its rewards, as they often have information and photos that are no longer in your branch of the extended family. Many people give up tracing their family history, having reached the 18th century, having come to an abrupt stop; this is often due to spellings being phonetic (by sound) back then and can have considerable spelling variations, often several times in the same document - so, just think how the name might sound and try all spellings that might make that sound, including with a regional accent.

As far as DNA is concerned, it is an interesting fact that if you sampled the Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA - the direct female-to-female line), of any two male 'silver-back' gorillas living within 20 miles of each other in a West African jungle, their MtDNA would be more different than any two human beings on this planet; even though the gorillas look alike and we don't. This is because we are a far younger species and have had much less time for our DNA to change. It is a sobering thought, when you see racial hatred in this small world, even between people who look very similar, let alone those whose appearance differs quite dramatically.

There is only a 1.3% difference between human DNA and that of our ape cousins: Chimpanzee, Orang-utan, Gorilla & Bonobo are the closest living relatives of humans. Also, more than 3% of human DNA is more closely related to either the bonobo or the chimpanzee genome than these are to each other. See Bonobo's genetic code.

We need to remember that all humans share 99.9% of our DNA; it is just that one-tenth of 1% that makes us different.