Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fun with math!

I happen to love algebra so today I am going to give you a cute little equation.

2n = x

So what can you do with this?  You can figure out how many direct line ancestors you have in a given generation.  All you do is plug in the generation number for n.  x will be the total number of direct line ancestors.  You are generation 0, your parents are 1, grandparents 2, great-grandparents 3, etc.

For example, how many direct line ancestors are there in generation 6 (4th great-grandparents)?
26 = 64

How about generation 10 (8th great-grandparents)?

How about generation 30 (28th great-grandparents)?
230 = 1,073,741,825 (that’s over a billion)

When you factor in normal/expected inbreeding you will have some overlap so these numbers will be a bit inflated.

For a bonus you can figure out how far back in time this is by giving each generation an average age. This is highly variable but let’s just say that everyone in your direct line had your direct line ancestor at age 25.

I was born in 1962 (don’t tell anyone).  30 generations will put me at the year 1212.  (30 generations x 25 years per generation subtracted from my starting year of 1962).

So how many generations is it for me to be at the time of Jesus?  Scholars put Jesus’ birth at around 4 BC.  That means I need 1966 years to get to Jesus.  That puts me at 78.64 or 79 generations.

If you have your family tree back this far I want to see the paper trail.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dear Part II

You can read Part I HERE.

I wanted to give you an update of where I am thus far.  I have received many responses and all but one have been very nice.  EVERY one has told me they copied from another tree but I was able to do a little gentle teaching that was well-received.  I had one person who told me I was wrong because there were over 100 trees that say that Samuel was the son of James so that was correct.  I might have messaged him back a little more forcefully than I did the others. 

I have only found one person this is actually a direct line descendant of Samuel and he is very interested in taking a yDNA test after I explained to him what a DNA test could tell us.  My uncle took a yDNA test for me and he is in the direct line of a known son of James so I have something to compare to. Maybe I will luck up. 


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 24, 2016


blog 1

There are 77 public member trees that show Samuel Simmons, born 1800, as the son of James Simmons and Ellenor Lee.  There are also an additional 20 private member trees where I can’t see enough of the information to tell what they have as the parent-child link so I am not bothering with them for now.  All 77 of the public member trees either have no source or their source is another Ancestry tree.  How is this research?  If Samuel were the son of James Simmons and Ellenor Lee this would be a critical piece of information.  James and Ellenor had three known sons (proven with indirect evidence case studies) but they also had other children who are not yet identified.

I realize of course that you have no control over the quality of research that gets uploaded.  However, there are a couple of things you do have control over.

After you have brought up a list of possible matches it takes three mouse clicks to get where you can send the person a message.  There is no way to bulk send a message to all of the hits so after clicking 3 times, defaulting in the subject line (there is autofil), and then pasting the message, you have to back click to the list and start the process over.  Contacting 77 people is a very time consuming endeavour.

Then there is the problem of people uploading duplicate trees.  They make updates to their tree and then upload a new copy without taking the old tree down.  I might have messaged the same person a dozen times for all I know. Surely you could put some sort of warning message when someone uploads asking the person not to upload duplicate trees.  Another problem is that when you click on a tree link in the list the link color does not change making it very easy to lose your place in the list.  And most importantly, I don’t think you should allow people to link to another tree as their source.  All it does is cause an endless loop and utter frustratation.

I am pretty sure that all of this was for nought considering no one has a source.  However, I still have to do it because of that pesky GPS step, "conduct a reasonably exhaustive search."  On the 0.000001% chance someone has proof of this relationship I have to investigate it.  You could make that task a little easier.


Michele Simmons Lewis


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Saturday, January 2, 2016


I have threatened to join the DAR for quite some time but I finally did it.  My lineage is on its way to Washington for final approval. I have several Patriot ancestors but I decided to use the one that I only recently discovered. I was so excited about finding the parents and then grandparents of my 4th great-grandmother (her grandfather being the Patriot) that I went ahead and wrote it all up.  The local DAR registrar is happy with it so off to Washington it goes.  So here is my lineage.Lineage from Patriot Reuben Radford to Michele Simmons

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis