Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

1 gazillion = 64, it seems . .


It is easy to estimate how many ancestors one had any number of years ago by applyng the rule of thumb that 1 generation = x 2 people the age one is now per 30 years.

1783 is 234 years ago = 8 generations so I had 2 to the 8th ancestors my age (70ish)  = 256 or half that (128) of (just about) military age, of which half (64) would have been male.

So 1 gazillion = 64, it seems.  The actual number of ancestors would be smaller because of the common practice of marrying one’s first or second cousins.

None of them,I am confidents, fought on the Spanish side - my mother’s family were Huguenots, refugees from Catholic persecution and my father’s rural Yorkshire all the way back. If any fought for the British, they are unknown to us today but we do have this pleasing fiction instead:

' . . She was reputed to be the daughter of old Captain Squire RN whose ship was said to have been paid off at the end of ‘the Napoleonic wars at Whitby, whereupon Captain Squire had picked up an oar, put it across his shoulder and set off to walk across the North Yorkshire Moors and it was not until he was just south of Northallerton on the Ripon Road that a man said to him these blessed words "Eh Governor what is that thing that you are carrying on your  shoulder?’ and then Captain Squire knew he was far enough from the sea to settle down and spend his last days.  

So he acquired land nearby, built a house, married, had a daughter and in the end died quite happily far from the sea — well sixty miles anyway. Miss Squire the daughter left Southfield to father’s father, provided only that he took the name Squire and he is reputed to have said that "he would take any name so long as it had some land attached to it”.

In fact she was the last of a line of money-grubbing lawyers/men of business who had lived in Ainderby Steeple  ‘since the parish registers were first kept . . ‘ but the sea captain is much more romantic.
Thank you for the excerpt from yr ancestor’s book, which has the authentic tones of the 18th century - please supply a reference or even better a working link - you'll need to use to shorten the URL for Ceilidh.

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