The Mists of Time

I often tell people using Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) that searches for persons born prior to 1600 are unlikely to be successful, given that few records of genealogical value were collected prior to that time. I decided to put this theory to the test by doing this Basic Search:

Birth Year: 1600 (Exact) [200,878 hits]

200,878 hits might seem like a fair-sized number, but given that Europe’s population at the time was approximately 74 million, it’s literally a drop in the bucket. Here are the numbers for 1500-1700:

Birth Year: 1500 (Exact) [568 hits]
Birth Year: 1525 (Exact) [2,427 hits]
Birth Year: 1550 (Exact) [25,249 hits]
Birth Year: 1575 (Exact) [105,448 hits]
Birth Year: 1600 (Exact) [200,878 hits]
Birth Year: 1625 (Exact) [267,805 hits]
Birth Year: 1650 (Exact) [366,987 hits]
Birth Year: 1675 (Exact) [484,162 hits]
Birth Year: 1700 (Exact) [790,938 hits]

Given that the population of Europe in 1700 was an estimated 81 million, even the 790,938 hits for that birth year are not especially impressive!

You may use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

Here’s a complete list of SLPL reference databases.

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