Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Children/Grandchildren in Your Birth Surname Line?

It’s unbelievable that we have already arrived at the last weekend in June. Being a weekend, it’s time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver.

This week’s challenge is interesting and gives a quick picture about the number of descendants in a given line. In Randy’s case, the Seavers are numerous.

In my case, because of the high mortality rate in what is today’s Slovakia, I can tell you, without even looking, that my descendant list is going to be much smaller.

Here is the challenge:

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 provide 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?

First, although my maiden name is Sabo, my great grandfather adopted the surname between 1910-1920 in New Jersey. His birth surname is Kucharik, so there will be a name change along the way. On top of that, his own father used the surnames of Kucharik and Tomko, so there is a second curve in the road, too.

An additional road block is the fact that church records in the village only begin in the 1820s so the line doesn’t extend back very far..

Here is my list:

George Kucharik (born c1793, no burial record found) had one son and 8 grandchildren.
John Kucharik/Tomko (1820-1893) had 8 children and 19 grandchildren.
Stephen Kucharik/Sabo (1855-1933) had 7 children and 9 grandchildren.
George Kucharik Sabo (1893-1936) had 1 son and 2 grandchildren.
George Sabo (1926-1985) had 2 children and 1 grandchild.

I knew my line was so short that I just found George Kucharik in my RootsMagic family tree and followed the line down four more generations.

These numbers don’t reflect the high mortality rate. For example, John Kucharik lost 3 children of his 8 during infancy, one didn’t marry and I can find no further record after the baptisms of two more children.

This is very typical for the 1800s in the peasant farmer villages, especially as cholera and typhoid epidemics swept through about every 20 years. I think the priest didn’t have time to record all the burials or forgot a few names because so many were dying within a couple of months of each other.

Thanks, Randy, for a new look at the family tree.

3 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Children/Grandchildren in Your Birth Surname Line?”

  1. Name changes and record loss can be a hurdle to genealogy research. It’s sad about the epidemics that kept priests from recording burials.

  2. It is sad about the high infant mortality rate. But you do have five generations, so that’s pretty good.

    Your family’s name changes are interesting. Was this common in the area?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.