How likely is it that I am related to a specific person who was living 20 or 30 generations ago?

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I have discovered that I am related to someone specific who lived in 1066. How likely is this? In other words, the answer could be “No big deal. When you go back that many generations,the math shows that you are X percent likely to be related to anyone, where X is large - say 50-90% - because you have so many ancestors and the population then was so small.” Or the answer could be “WOW, that’s significant. Because the likelihood of that is small, where X is low.” So maybe the general question is “What is the likelihood that Person A, living now, is related to Person B, living in 1066?” And to specify even more narrowly, let’s constrain to the European/ Scandinavian/ Finnish populations that existed then.

PWD

Posted 2018-06-27T23:50:56.203

Reputation: 23

Question was closed 2018-06-28T07:04:33.027

1Do you have a paper record that supports you being "related to someone who lived in 1066"? – PolyGeo – 2018-06-28T00:13:55.297

11066 is a lot more than 20 generations ago. It's probably closer to 30 generations (@ 30 years per generation) – sempaiscuba – 2018-06-28T02:16:08.613

I do have a record through FamilySearch.org. And good point about 30 vs 20. Thank you. To specify: Given that I have found an ancestral connection to someone prominent living in 1066, what are the odds of this? Is it significant in any sense, or do the statistics imply that a large proportion of people living today can trace their ancestry to any person living that long ago? And to specify even more narrowly, let’s constrain to the European/Scandinavian/Finnish populations that existed then. – PWD – 2018-06-28T02:22:31.907

1Please use the [edit] button beneath your question to revise it with any requested clarifications, and any additional information you wish to include in your question to make what it is asking clearer. – PolyGeo – 2018-06-28T03:34:12.947

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The research target is not named, but I would like to note that celebrity genealogy is not on-topic for this site. See https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

– Jan Murphy – 2018-06-28T03:56:55.973

1There are actually 2 questions here - how likely is it that I am descended from someone around in 1066 (to which the answer is, assuming that you have significant European ancestry, very likely). But the 2nd question is, how likely is it that I can prove it? There is considerable debate over the accuracy of most trees going back that far. We know very few names of knights at the Battle of Hastings. The one guy there with lots of known descendants today is Duke William, and I think there is at least one other non Royal with known descendants. The rest is medieval wishful thinking - probably – AdrianB38 – 2018-06-29T23:45:09.770

Answers

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I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you are "related to someone who lived in 1066", and to a very large number of people who were living in 1066.

Whether you are related to a particular person who was living in 1066 is very hard to prove, and at this point in time I think the best evidence that you will be able to muster are paper records that support every link in the lineage that you have assembled from that person to you.

PolyGeo

Posted 2018-06-27T23:50:56.203

Reputation: 10 741

I have the paper record for a specific ancestor. so the question is “How much of a coincidence is that? How likely or unlikely?” I have edited the question to clarify. Thanks for pressing for clarity. Much appreciated. – PWD – 2018-06-28T12:53:20.693

The paper records will be a large number of documents. It is usually very hard to find these for ancestors before church records were kept. – PolyGeo – 2018-06-28T12:57:21.227

Clarification. I have the link through FamilySearch.org – PWD – 2018-06-28T12:59:03.843

It sounds like a tree by someone else. Can you provide a link to it? – PolyGeo – 2018-06-28T13:02:09.853

2Telling us "I have a link through FamilySearch.org" tells us very little. It could be FamilySearch's FamilyTree, a user-submitted genealogy, someone's unsourced FamilyHistory book. What exactly did you look at? If you don't want to cite what you are looking at specifically, at least say the type of source (an online tree, a user-submitted genealogy, an authored work, etc.). – Jan Murphy – 2018-06-29T20:19:58.177

Hi Jan, apologies for the imprecision. Yes. It is familysearch.org’s familytree. Sorry! – PWD – 2018-06-30T00:51:24.600

PolyGeo - it is a tree done by myself on FamilySearch's Family Tree. – PWD – 2018-07-01T10:30:14.820