How Many G-G-G-G-Grandparents did YOU come from???

If you want to figure out how many direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and so on) you have, you can start adding

“(one generation back) 2 parents + (two generations back) 4 grandparents + (three generations back) 8 great-grandparents + ….”

OR, you can use the shortcut 2n+1 – 2, which means:

“add 1 to the number of generations back you want to go; raise 2 to that power; and subtract 2.”

For example, if you want to go back as far as your great-great-grandparents:

* the number of generations back is 4, so n=4.
* Adding 1 makes 4+1=5;
* raising 2 to that power means 25 = 2×2×2×2×2 = 32;
* and subtracting 2 makes 32 – 2 = 30.
* So up to 30 people since your great-great-grand-parents are responsible for you being here. (The number is smaller if any pairs of parents had common ancestors.)

How many direct ancestors do you have going back 8 generations? When you figure it out, send your answer to newsletter@

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