In May 2018 I calculated a simple index of my family tree’s so-called ‘completedness’: how many of my forebears could I name?

I was especially interested in the number of forebears I could name in the previous ten generations, that is, up to and including seventh great grandparents. The possible maximum, if you include yourself, is 1,023 individuals. [Cousins sometimes marry, so there might be duplicates, which in practice could reduce the actual number considerably.]

Looking at our tree from our children’s perspective the figure was then 31%, 319 of the possible 1,023 forebears.

In July 2019 introduced a tree function to generate trees and calculate tree completedness. This tree function can also be be used to mark ancestors shared with genetic cousins.

As of 31 March 2020 my tree shows 344 of the possible 1023 forebears, 25 more. This just is 33.6%, slow progress of 2% over nearly two years.


Direct ancestors whose names I know are coloured; blanks represent those whose names are unknown to me.

These numbers of course don’t show all we’ve learned about our forebears and their relatives. I have done a great amount of research about the lives of people in our tree. Moreover, our family tree including indirect relatives has grown by almost half again, from around 6,000 people to 10,481 people.

The large increase is mainly due to my adding genetic cousins to the tree, among these many descendants of my forebears. I try to verify all connections. Our tree on now includes 16,099 records, 2,109 images, and 289 stories.

Not all of the forebears in our tree have associated genetic cousins. Some cousins have not tested their DNA. Some have tested but I have been unable to verify the connection.

Even for the cousins where I have found a connection, the shared DNA is not necessarily attributable to a particular ancestor. [There are ways of developing confidence about these attributions, some of which I described in my account of the triangulation technique I used to verify that Matilda Sullivan formerly Hughes née Darby was the mother of Henry Sullivan.

I have made the least progress on my German forebears. My mother very kindly submitted her DNA for analysis, but dissappointly, I have made no connections through her DNA. She has very few cousins and they are not close: her father was an only child, and her mother’s siblings had no children. DNA testing is not popular in Germany. On the AncestryDNA site my mother has only 27 4th cousins or closer and 12,882 matches in total; her closest match shares only 50 centimorgans. By contrast my father has 358 matches of 4th cousin or closer, his closest match shares 570 centimorgans, and he has a total of 43,912 matches on the AncestryDNA website. My suave and handsome husband Greg (editor of this online research journal) has 320 matches that are 4th cousin or closer, his closest match shares 1003 centimorgans, and he has a total of 31,875 matches on the AncestryDNA website.

On the MyHeritage website my mother has 2,035 DNA matches and her closest match shares 39 centimorgans. My father has 10,244 matches and shares 777 centimorgans with his closest match. Greg has 5,976 matches and his closest match shares 1,035 centimorgans of DNA.

On Greg’s side of the family – the left hand side of the fan – I have still to make progress on his Young, Cross, Sullivan and Morley forebears.

DNA_Painter___Tree_-_2020_March_tree genetic

There is still lots of work to be done in identifying the relationships with genetic cousins, building the tree, and filling in the family history.

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