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How to Count the Number of Ancestors

Question from Janet:

"This question I am sure has been asked before but I have forgotten how to do it. I have 1,100 names in my tree and want to know how to calculate the actual number of direct ancestors there are as opposed to the total in my data files."

This can be done a couple of different ways using either tagging, focus group searching, or GenViewer. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

Focus Group

  1. In the Family View, navigate to the person whose ancestors you want to count.
  2. Click on the Search icon at the top.
  3. Click on the Miscellaneous Searches tab.
  4. Click on the View/Select Focus Group button.
  5. If necessary, click on the Clear List button.
  6. Click on Add an Individual and Ancestors.
  7. Turn off the checkmarks next to Include Other Spouses and Include Siblings. Make sure that Direct Line Ancestors is selected. Click OK.
  8. Click on the Create List button.

The resulting Search List contains all the ancestors of the person. In the upper left is the count of how many are there.


In Legacy's add-on program, GenViewer, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the person whose ancestors you want to count.
  2. Click on the Highlighted tab.
  3. In the Highlighting panel (left), in the drop-down list, select Ancestors of.
  4. Change the number of generations to a high number.

The resulting list contains all the ancestors of the person. The count is in the upper right.

Learn more about GenViewer here.


Back in January 2006 the following question was answered, "Anybody know how to generate a count of the number of descendants of an individual?" The steps are similar, just select the options for ancestors instead of descendants. The article is here.


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Many thanks for the information. Out of 1,100 names in my tree only 100 are direct ancestors and 66 are my husband's direct ancestors.
Just shows how carried away you get adding names! Still they are all connected somewhere along the line.

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