Ancestor Statistics and Brick Walls on WikiTree

There are a couple of new apps on WikiTree that provide some interesting statistics on your family tree. The first is Ancestor Statistics – if you’re a WikiTree member, go here and log in to see your stats. Here are mine:

Ancestor Statistics

I have identified all of my 3rd great-grandparents and have their profiles on WikiTree. After that, it drops off significantly. I only have 45% of my 4th great-grandparents, 32% of my 5th great-grandparents; 22% of my 6th great-grandparents and 15% of my 7th great-grandparents.

The average generation length in my family tree is 30 years. Curious about how that compares to others, I did some google searching and found this article on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) wiki that highlights some studies that show generations to be around 25 to 30 years for females and 30 to 35 years for males. So my 30 year average generation length seems about normal.

The average lifespan in my tree is 69 years, and has gone up the last couple of generations, as can be expected due to better health care. For my parents, the lifespan only includes my father’s data (77 years), as my mother is still living and is in her late 80s. My four grandparents lived to 58, 72, 80 and 87, for an average of 74 years. Prior to that, the average ranges from 64 to 68 years. Since to have become my ancestors, each of these people obviously lived to adulthood, it is understandable that the lifespan of my ancestors would exceed average life expectancies for their time periods, since life expectancies take into account people who die in infancy and childhood.

The 2nd app lists all of the profiles in your pedigree chart that are missing at least one parent. You can find that app here.

Find Brick Wall Ancestors

Out of 2046 possible ancestors in 10 generations, 400 (19.55%) have WikiTree profiles.
20/400 (5%) are duplicates due to pedigree collapse.
109 ancestors are missing at least one parent:


I need to look deeper into the duplicate ancestors in my tree. I can think of a few off hand, but not 20! These are most likely all on my maternal grandmother’s line in Westmorland County, New Brunswick, where everyone’s related to everyone else.

As for brick walls, I am certainly not working on all 109 of them! The main one that I’d like to break through is that of my 3rd great grandparents on my maternal grandfather’s line – John William Kirkland and Elizabeth Weeks. I wrote about my plan to work on that brick wall back in January. I’ve made a bit of progress, but nothing substantial to date. But I’m still plugging away at it, albeit with far less focus than I had hoped for!


Building and Sharing Your Family Tree – Ottawa Public Library

Last April, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) partnered to put on a day-long event called “Discover Your Roots: Genealogy and Local History Fair.” I was one of several BIFHSGO members who gave presentations that day and stayed around afterwards to answer questions and provide advice.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable event!

OPL has invited me back to deliver the same presentation, as part of their Fall genealogy programming. I will be doing so this coming Thursday, October 18 at the Greenboro branch. For more details and to register, please visit the Ottawa Public Library website.

Building and Sharing Your Family Tree

I have a few other speaking engagements in the works, the details of which will be available soon. I’ve created a Presentations page which lists my recent and upcoming presentations. I will update this page as details are finalized. As well, I have listed the talks I currently have available. If you would be interested in having me speak at your event, please contact me.