A generation is defined as the average time between a mother’s first offspring and her daughter’s first offspring. The generation length is 25.2 years in the United States as of 2007 and 27.4 years in the United Kingdom as of 2004.

“Imagine a dinner table set for a thousand guests, in which each man is sitting between his own father and his own son.  At one end of the table might be a French Nobel laureate in a white tie and tails, and with the Legion of Honor on his breast, and at the other end a Cro-Magnon man dressed in animal skins and with a necklace of cave-bear teeth. Yet each one would be able to converse with his neighbors on his left and right, who would either be his father or his son.  So the distance from then to now is not really great.”  (From Bjorn Kurten, Singletusk: A Story of the Ice Age, 1986)

The above passage intrigued me — there are only a few generations in our family known to us.  Yet we are all somehow connected.  If we could only speak to each person on our left and right….

So what is the average length of a generation in our family?  It is hard to come up with an overall average.  But if we measure from the birth date of say, Jamie or Phoebe (2003), we can create this table:

Person Birth Year Generation # (Jamie = 1) Length of Generation
Ernst H.G. Minden 1817 6 37.2
Andrew Robeson Jr. 1654 12 31.7
Jerman J. Dupss 1550 15 32.4
Eggbrecht Mechler 1365 21 31.9
George Worthen 1563 14 33.8
Catharina Merentz 1755 9 31.0
Julia Mitchell 1847 6 31.2
Thomas Stapella 1832 6 34.2
Edward Roeding 1891 6 22.4

(The above is calculated thusly: (2003 – BY) / (Gen# – 1) = Length)

What does the above show?  With a rough average of 32 years to a generation, we would only need to have about 800 people at the dinner table for Jamie or Phoebe to talk to a Cro-Magnon dude!  Other than that, it only suggests that the Minden line had children at an older age than the Roeding line.

I’m just curious about what the people would eat at this feast!

Just as an aside, as I write this (July 2010), I have access to the statistical reports in TMG.  It shows that for my male ancestors, the average lifespan is 75, with a minimum of 57 and a maximum of 93.   I should quit worrying about what my Cro-Magnon ancestor wants for dinner, and I should go for a run!  And then I should keep working on this!  🙂

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