Set aside the common misconceptions about our ancestry we have all grown up with, and consider the following thoughts, which appear to be highly likely from exploring the recorded history mapped out within the Family Forest(tm).
It has been estimated that a typical couple living in the early 1600’s who had children and grandchildren can have, as a rule of thumb, more than one million living descendants today.
If it were possible (it only rarely, if ever, is) to see a map of all of one’s own ancestral pathways back to the early 1600’s, most of us would find that we descend from literally hundreds of different early 1600’s couples. For simplicity, let’s just round that off to only one hundred different couples for now.
Most, if not all, of those early 1600’s couples on an individual’s chart have a number of descendants who would also trace their own ancestral pathways back to a number of the other early 1600’s couples on an individual’s chart.
So it is probably an overstatement to say that each person today shares early 1600’s ancestors (which makes them varying degrees of distant cousins) with 100 million other people.
But it is probably safe to say that each of us shares early 1600’s ancestors with at least ten million other people, and most likely tens of millions of other people.
So how many of the ten million or more people who share early 1600’s ancestors with Katharine Hepburn (or Humphrey Bogart, or Clint Eastwood, or Tom Hanks, or Reese Witherspoon, or Britney Spears, etc.) know it? How many will be delighted when they find out?
How do you think you will feel when you discover that some of the very famous people you see on the big screen and on television are actually your own cousins?