Talkin’ ’bout My Generations

Familial generations vary in length across the world but also within nations and societies. One of my self-imposed tasks in this blog is to compare Kath Gomersall’s Filey “community tree” on FamilySearch Pedigree Resource File with the information about the same individuals that is currently on the World Tree Wiki. One way of doing this simply is to create a graphic that has columns for parents in just the male line (Y-DNA) and female line (mtDNA), side by side as represented in both databases. The ‘start person’ in these comparisons will typically have been born any time between 1800 and 1950 so it may be helpful to place everyone in a universal generation schema even though many pedigree lines will stray outside the set bounds eventually.

When I first began researching community genealogy I was surprised by how late couples in the Victorian “lower classes” married – and how late in life the women bore children. I don’t have the stats to hand but from memory the average age at marriage for both sexes was around 24 and child bearing typically continued for 20 years (and longer for those who married earlier). For the purposes of this project I have decided to set the familial generation extent to 30 years. (By chance my father was thirty when I appeared on the scene and I was that age when my first child was born.)

The pace of human life has picked up recently and generations are shorter. However you wish to label them, echo boomers, millennials, Gen X, the MTV and Doom generations aren’t as long lived. Their time limits vary depending on the fount of online wisdom you drink at but I have chosen to start Generation Z at 2001, Y (Millennials) run frenetically from 1985 to 2000 and Gen X trend set from 1965 to 1984. I have further decreed that the next generation going back in time – Baby Boomers – are Generation 0 (zero) from 1945 to 1964. The majority of this cohort will be alive still and therefore not visible to the public on the FamilySearch Tree.

Generation 1 is the last of the thirty year generations (or the first if you are going back in time), suffering various “developed world” horrors from 1915 to 1944. And on the civilized humans go in their regimented chronological groupings until reaching the people of the 30th numbered generation, born before or after 1066.

You may object that my 30 year span is too great but the first family I have looked into that broke out of the straightjacket did so because, sometime in the 18th century, the male didn’t marry and sire his first child until he was in his early fifties, thus forcing a skip rather than requiring an extra generation to keep on track.

I’ll post my first simple graphic example tomorrow. Proof of the pudding?

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