Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission: Impossible! music!):
(1) Consider your birth surname families: the ones from your father back through his father all the way back to the first of that surname in your family group sheets or genealogy database. List the father's name and lifespan years.
(2) Use your paper charts or genealogy software program to create a descendants chart (dropline or graphical) that provides the children and their children (i.e., up to the grandchildren of each father in the surname list).
(3) Count how many children they had (with all spouses) and the children of those children in your records and/or database. Add those numbers to the list. See my example below! (Note: Do not count the spouses of the children.)
(4) What does this list of children and grandchildren tell you about these persons in your birth surname line? Does this task indicate areas that you need to do more research to fill out families and find potential cousins?
(5) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook. Be sure to provide a link to your post in a comment to this post.
Because my grandfather was informally adopted by Elmer Sellers and was not a biological Sellers, I chose not to go back to the earliest Sellers (or Söller, the immigrant German's original family name), who was born in 1615, for this exercise. Instead, I started with my grandfather, because I no longer emphasize the Sellers family prior to him in my research.
Given that, here is mine:
A. My Sellers surname list is:
• Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr. (1903–1995) had five children (four who lived to adulthood) and 12 grandchildren.
• Bertram Lynn Sellers, Jr. (1935–2019) had four children and 9 grandchildren.
B. I determined the numbers manually, because I only had two generations to work with.
C. What does my list tell me?
• The two generations had a total of nine children (average of 4.5) and 21 grandchildren (average of 10.5).
• The numbers for the two generations are not substantially different. Both are 20th-century men.
• Only one child died young, which did not have an effect on the number of grandchildren, as my grandfather still had more grandchildren than my father did.
• Neither my grandfather nor my father lived and worked on a farm for their professions, so I did not have the contrast between farm versus city families.
• I am very sure that I have accounted for all children of both my grandfather and father (notwithstanding comments that my father's first wife used to make about "little Lynns" running around). I'm also pretty up-to-date on the subsequent generations and am in contact with many of my cousins. What I still need to work on is determining my grandfather's biological father.