I thought I would put this page in because I have asked several people this question and I get such a wide variety of answers anywhere from 40 on up and never the right answer and as I think the numbers involved are so astounding that it deserves its own page and then afterwards I will make a comment. I will go back 20 generations using my parents as the first generation:

Gen. #1=2
Gen. #2=4
Gen. #3=8
Gen. #4=16
Gen. #5=32
Gen. #6=64
Gen. #7=128
Gen. #8=256
Gen. #9=512
Gen. #10=1024
Gen. #11=2048
Gen. #12=4096
Gen. #13=8192
Gen. #14=16,384
Gen. #15=32,768
Gen. #16=65,536
Gen. #17=131,072
Gen. #18=262,144
Gen. #19=524,288
Gen. #20=1,048,576.
Now we are not quite finished. You have to add up all the numbers to get the total number of people who were involved in you being on this planet, sitting at your computer, connected to the internet and reading this page and that TOTAL SUM IS: 2,097,150.

Now lets look at this question from a different point in time. As my first grandchild was born this year I'm going to use the year 2000 as a starting point. Now assuming a generation is on average between 20 to 25 years we will go back to the early 1500's when the 20th generation was inhabiting this planet. ( Beam me down Scotty). Okay, I'm back here in the 1500's gee they dress funny. Now what I see here are 1,048,576 people, half male and half female. Some are located in the United Kingdom, some are scattered through continental Europe,some are in the Middle East maybe a few are up in Siberia or Canada or the United States but wherever they are fate has brought them together to form 524,288 partners. These 524,288 relationships produced a lot of children, however, only one child from each set of partners is soley responsible for you being alive and in actuality is the 19th generation which is the same number as above 524,288, now you just keeping breaking it down until you arrive at the first generation, which of course is your parents.
Now these are all your direct ancestors and if you wanted to add aunts, uncles and cousins you would probably come up with the answer that equals the total population that has existed since the 1500's.The moral of the story is the next time you meet someone regardless of race, colour, creed or religious background be kind to them because they are most likely your cousin.
Well I don't know about you but I have to go and do some researching as I am missing well over 2 million ancestors in my family tree and that my friends is a lot of surnames.


Now, somebody wrote me and told me he was fooling around with figures like this and in fact went back to about the time of our Lord. He came up with a figure which I could only read as a gazillion gazillions. Now hypothetically the figure would be right if the ancestor tree was ever expanding like the universe, but it is not. So my question is if we evolved from two people at what point in time does the ancestor tree start collapsing inward. Its graph should actually look like a semi circle. Just wondering that was all.