I was just going over my family history research, and I noticed that my family tree currently contains two hundred and forty-two names. These are obviously not all direct descendants, as my research has only taken me as far back as the early eighteenth century. The total number accounts for various branches of my family tree, meaning that distant cousins are included.
For example, my great-great-great grandparents, Thomas Cummings and Sarah Arbuckle, had eight children. After researching my direct line through their son John, I then turned my attention to the offspring of John's brothers and sisters. Carrying out research in this way has greatly increased the number of ancestors in my family tree.
Looking at all of the names of the various individuals got me to thinking. My family tree contains many connections between ancestors. If just one of those connections hadn't happened, for whatever reason, I wouldn't be here today. My Cummings ancestors come from Northern Ireland. If my great grandparents hadn't emigrated to Scotland my grandfather would never have met my Scottish grandmother.
When people research their family history they usually find ancestors originating from different areas of the world. My own ancestors came from Northern and Southern Ireland, England, Russia, and all over Scotland. Think about all of the migration that was required for your ancestors to meet, and all of the hardships that had to be overcome.
My, and everyone else's, existence is down to a huge amount of chance and luck, and that blows my mind. This realisation is one of the reasons why I love genealogy. It really is an amazingly interesting hobby to have. The thing is, I'm hoping to discover much more about my ancestry, and to find generations of relations going further back and coming from different places.
That means many more connections to think about...