Cleverly kids melting pot equation solved

For quite a few years now my sister Becca has said she wanted to figure out what our American melting pot equation was. Wednesday night I decided it was high time we figure it out and solve it once and for all.

Using the new FamilySearch.org website I traced each branch of our family tree back until either:

  1. I reached the "old" world
  2. I hit a dead end where the last known ancestor on a particular line was born in the United States or Canada
  3. I reached a native american ancestor

Here is what we are (rounded to three decimal places):

It is quite likely that the vast majority of the dead end unknowns are really (eventually) from England, putting us either at or just over 50% British.

Origin # of ancestors Avg # generations back Min # of generations Max # of generations
CHEROKEE 1 5.0 5 5
DENMARK 1 4.0 4 4
ENGLAND 293 12.2 3 16
FRANCE 47 11.7 9 16
GERMANY 6 8.3 3 11
IRELAND 14 10.4 6 12
ITALY 2 11.0 11 11
NETHERLANDS 9 14.8 12 16
NORWAY 1 15.0 15 15
SCOTLAND 8 11.3 5 14
SWEDEN 2 4.0 4 4
SWITZERLAND 1 5.0 5 5
WALES 8 12.0 7 15

On my father's side of the family tree I ran into dead ends as early as six generations back and as late as fifteen (average of 10.9). On my mother's side the trail petered out in between nine and fifteen generations (average of 12.1).

Among the original thirteen colonies (in colonial times) the trail went cold in eight of them:

  1. Virginia (28 times)
  2. Connecticut (26 times)
  3. New York (16 times)
  4. Massachusetts (15 times)
  5. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (8 times)
  6. Pennsylvania (5 times)
  7. North Carolina (4 times)
  8. South Carolina (twice)

(The trail also went cold a half-dozen times in Canada.)

While I was writing this post Caleb had this YouTube video playing in the other room:

Very apropos!

A final slightly depressing thought: while this calculation holds for all my siblings it is only half the calcuation for my own children...


—Michael A. Cleverly

Comment:

  1. John Cowan wrote (at Sat, 06 Aug 2011, 18:36):
The Pete Seeger song "All Mixed Up" (lyrics , YouTube ) and the John Forster/Tom Chapin song "Family Tree" (lyrics , YouTube ) are relevant and cute.

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