I have always been interested in the history of my family, but have never really done much with it. Recently, my niece went through Ancestry.com to put together a family tree under the free trial period. It got me interested, so I went through and started poking the bear. Here's what I found, in shortened terms-
I can trace my paternal Grandmother back 23 generations to the early 1400's. The 21st generation back were a pair of first cousins married- their fathers were brothers.
I had a step-grandpa named Justin Case, and another named Charlie Brown. Both were married to the same Grandma- my Great-Grandma on my paternal Grandfather's side.
My paternal Grandfather's side fizzled out when they immigrated from Canada, because I didn't spend $30 to access World records, as opposed to English records.
My paternal Grandmother's family came over from England in the early 1600's, at some point between 1613 and 1639.
My maternal Grandmother's family came over from England in 1620- on the Mayflower. Not just 1 relative, but 10 so far. This line is listed as my pedigree- a direct line from them straight to me. They were:
John Aldan - crossed as the ships Cooper, and decided to remain in the colony.
Priscilla Mullins - crossed with her brother and parents. Soul survivor of the 1st winter in the colonies. Later married John Aldan.
John & Priscilla became the ancestors of Luna West.
John Howland - crossed as a servant to the Governor.
Elizabeth Tilley - crossed with her parents, aunt, and uncle. Sole family survivor after the 1st winter in the colonies. Later married John Howland.
John & Elizabeth became the ancestors of Jabin Bosworth.
In 1773, Jabin Bosworth married Luna West. They were 9 generations directly back from me. The name Bosworth was my family name through to my Great-Grandma, who was born a Bosworth, and married a Brooks.
At some point, my Maternal Grandmother's family inter-married, but they were at least 3 generations apart from being immediate family, so at least there's that going for them.
Thus far, we've come across some unique names, including:
Jabin (twice- this was a Mayflower descendant)
We found French, Canadian, English, Dutch, Jewish, and more floating around.
I'm really surprised at just how far back I'm able to go. In fact, the hardest part is getting past the previous 3 generations. Finding people alive who remember real names, birthdates, etc. That was the challenge. Once I had those, it was pretty easy going, unless the family tree crossed the border, then they stop.
Once I fluff out my HUGE family tree, I may spring for the extended records and see if I can reach back further.
On my Paternal Grandfather's side, I am currently 6 generations back, but have some leads to go further.
On my Paternal Grandmother's side, I am currently stuck at 23 generations back, which is when the family immigrated from France to England.
On my Maternal Grandfather's side, I am currently stuck at 6 generations back. I am hoping to find out a bit more that will hopefully push be through to more generations.
On my Maternal Grandmother's side, I am currently 14 generations back, with more leads to go further.
All in all, it's been easy so far. Once you push past the more recent generations, the chances are high that you'll discover someone has already done some of the work for you in researching their own family tree.
You do need to try and verify what you find- when you find a common name, some history gets mixed up with each other, so you have to pay attention to birth year, parents, children, death dates, and more.
I'm LOVING it, though.