I remember how delighted I was when I discovered my 6 x great-grandfather Samuel Borton who ran the Dolphin Inn, Oxford, sometime during the 18th century. I felt a connection with him and, perhaps more importantly to the site of the inn he ran.
Then I discovered his father, Richard, who died (possibly in Holywell, Oxford where Samuel was born) in December 1714 when Samuel was just 8 years old. Imagining this man as a relative, as one might think of one’s grandparents or great-grandparents (if one was lucky enough to know them), I had to remind myself recently, that Richard Borton was just one of 512 people alive at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries from whom I’m directly descended.
To think of it another way. Imagine that in the year 2315, my direct descendent is born, then there are 511 people – including, of course, my wife – alive today who will also play a direct part in that person’s birth.