Olof Andersson in the global tree

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The exploration of 100 Circles
- contributes to our knowledge of the Global WikiTree
- investigates the connectedness of the chosen focus profiles
- inspires research questions about the context of a focus profile
This page presents Olof Andersson (1793 - 1860) and his perspective on the Global Tree.


Olof Andersson and his tree

Olof Andersson was born in Solmyra, Gunnilbo parish, in 1793 and died in Odensvi 1860. Olof came to WikiTree in February 2016 as the father of Anna Olofsdotter (1817-1885). Since Anna was already connected, Olof was connected to the Global Tree as soon as the daily script was run.

Olof Andersson was chosen as a 100 Circles focus profile because of being roughly halfway between the "record horizon" back in time where there is no documentation for individuals of the common folk in Sweden and the "privacy horizon" of the still living. Olof has a well rounded family tree with just one vexatious gap for a couple of great-grandparents in the fourth generation. On the other hand, there are several branches going further back than four generations.

At the outset of the Circles exploration, 14 November 2020, Olof's descendants had not been fully explored, although the descendants of daughter Anna, were in WikiTree as far as they have been found, without including living people. In the course of filling out Olof's circles the branches of his other children were brought to the same state.

Olof's ancestors were all farmers / foresters in one limited area of Sweden, mostly within Gunnilbo parish. Initially owners of their land, they slowly drifted towards cultivating land owned by others. Olof's father owned the land he farmed, but Olof, being a third son, became a contract farmer. According to Svensk Uppslagsbok 1949 the Gunnilbo area is forested, with many lakes; no more than 5% being cultivated fields. In 1945 there was a population of 829, having gone down from 1,560 in 1856 (which may have been the peak). This little parish is represented in Wikitree by 1982 profiles, born between 1560 and 1919 (WikiTree+ search 2021-06-06). This must still be far from complete coverage - but the density of the network is sufficient to make Gunnilbo a good place to look for a connection.

Olof Andersson moved from Gunnilbo to the southern neighbour, Odensvi. The descendants of Olof Andersson lived in times of increasing mobility, due to industralization and urbanization. Some few emigrated. Olof's eldest brother Anders Andersson (1782-1847) remained as self-owned farmer in Solmyra. He was the fifth generation in the male line from Tyris Andersson (abt.1598-1695). The farm remained with eldest sons in this line for three more generations, to Anders Gustaf Andersson (1857-1886), who died unmarried. His sister married and stayed in Solmyra. Her grandson, who remained single all his life, still lived in Solmyra in 1975. These are Olof's blood relationships.

The Global Tree of Wikitree is not limited to blood, but includes relatives by marriage in its kinship network. The Connection Finder counts four types of connection to an individual profile: parents, siblings, spouses and children. The Connection Finder will by default show the shortest path between two chosen profiles. This path will often meander up and down between generations or include chains of the spouses of siblings - or second spouses. Looking at the Alternative View: Generational Path may be helpful for understanding how Connection Finder is different from a pedigree or a descendancy. However, for the purpose of counting "degrees", the nature of the relationship does not matter. All that counts is the distance to the profile in focus - and all profiles at the same shortest distance are on the same circle.

The following (hand made) sketch is abstractly modelled on the first two circles of Olof Andersson. There should be 22 dots on the inner circle and 98 on the next one, unless we have miscounted. Olof's parents and siblings, his spouse and children are shown as dots on the inner circle. The parents, siblings, spouses and children of those in the first circle are shown as dots on the second circle. Nobody appears twice and nobody has more than one connection to the previous circle. (This connection, on the other hand, is necessary.) As you can see there are several dots in the first circle that do not have any connection to the second circle. These represent siblings or children of Olof who never married or had children - most of them died in infancy. You should also be able to spot the person (a brother) who had a spouse but no children. For the rest, the size of families varies - at this time large families were quite common. Olof's third circle with over 400 profiles just wouldn't fit into the picture ;-)

Connections, naturally, depend on the profiles being entered in WikiTree in the first place - but the profiles entered in WikiTree in their turn will depend on the availability of documented real-world people. This does make one curious about the actual kinship and social networks around a focus profile:

Filling in Olof's close circles

If you start looking at a profile like Olof, centrally positioned between ancestors and descendants, with a fairly complete ancestor tree and lots of descendants, you may be surprised by how much in the second and third circle that still remains to fill in - because you haven't included the families of spouses and siblings yet. At the start of our circles exploration, 5 November 2020, Olof had 21 profiled individuals in his first circle (plus one child, dead in infancy, and so far only mentioned as one of nine children in the obituaries of the parents. The vicar may have miscounted, so this hypothetical child gets no profile.)

Olof's first circle of 21 profiles was reckoned as complete from the start of our circles exploration. But already the second circle was incomplete to begin with. It took 54 new profiles to fill it up, which was done in a couple of weeks. There are now 98 profiles in his circle #2.

A spreadsheet was used for keeping track of created profiles in the third circle and individuals named in sources, but awaiting profile creation.

The third circle had a population of 86 profiles at the beginning. It was reckoned complete after six months, 10 May 10 2021, at 410 profiles: an addition of 324 new profiles. A small handful of "hypothetical children" have not been profiled; a source was recently found for one single girl, who died at age ten, so the profile count is now 411.

In the process of populating Olof's third circle, his fourth circle also received many new profiles. Other circles, slightly further away also grew a bit due to single lines being explored out from the first circle, or children of Olof's age cohort in his birth parish being connected to the Global Tree and thus to Olof. Then, from the summer of 2021 to the summer of 2022 there was in principle no research specifically concentrated around Olof Andersson's circles. But in the summer of 2022, something happened to make Olof's closer circles grow.

The circles 1 to 3, have not changed since they were completed in May 2021. Circles four and five didn't change a lot from May 2021 to May 2022. Then, between May 2022 and November 2022 - when fourth great-granddaughter Eva started working on her own CC7 - quite a lot of new profiles have turned out to be in Olof's circle 4 and up:

Olof's place in the Global Tree

Olof's place in the Global Tree is probably best described by his mean distance to all other connected profiles. His initial mean distance of 32 was probably a bit over average. He certainly couldn't compete with Samuel Lothrop Esq (1622-1700) - the known profile with the shortest average distance to the rest of the tree - who was at 17.51 in November 2020.

As the "density" of the tree grows with the continual addition of new profiles, a slow but steady reduction of the mean distance for any profile is to be expected. Olof's mean distance has gone down from 32.09 to 25.07, where Samuel Lothrop's mean distance has only gone from 17.5 to 17.2 - looks like there isn't much scope for change in Lothrop's distribution.

Currently (July 2022) the average mean distance between randomly chosen profiles is in the interval [22-25], as explained below the table on the main 100 Circles page. So Olof with his current mean distance of 25.07 is now one in the mass of average profiles, where previously he was a bit "peripheral. The following table concerns the population of his closest circles over four six-month intervals, and some aspects of the distribution of the population of all his circles.

Circle1 Circle2 Circle3 Circle4Circle5PeakMean disteDate

This table differs from the table on the main 100-Circles page by showing the population for each circle 1 to 5 instead of using cumulative numbers. (This is the way we made the tables in the beginning). The rest is the same - these are shortened versions of the explanations at the main page:

  • Peak value is tfor the most populated circle.
  • Mean value is the average of all distances to the Focus.
  • e is the eccentricity of the profile, the radius of the greatest non-empty circle.

Distribution graphs of all Olof's circles over time (this is what the Tree population has looked like from Olof's perspective over time). Seen through a "window of 100 circles by 2,500,000 profiles - this leaves out 9 circles at the tail end of the first sample and cuts off the top of the two final samples. Red marks the peak circle.

From Olof's perspective the population of the Global Tree forms a nice hill, which keeps roughly the same shape as it grows. The hill has crept slowly closer to Olof - with a noticeable leap in the last six months.

Comparing the circles of Olof Andersson

In the course of exploring 100 Circles, the data for Olof's circles were samlped regularly from the beginning of November 2020 to the end of May 2021, when his third circle was completed.

Other profiles have been sampled less frequently - just when we got curious about some aspect of the circles diagrams. In the end of November this "snapshot" was taken, comparing Olof Andersson with a few companions.

Diagrams of the samples look much the same for any connected profile: there is a smooth "hill" formed by the heavily populated circles representing the bulk of the Global Tree from the viewpoint of a chosen profile. The up-slope of the hill is somewhat steeper than the down-slope. There is a longer or shorter "inroad" to the left of the main hill (representing the circles closest to the focus profile) and, to the right, a tail, which is often quite long, representing the most distant circles. While the "hills" of different profiles are visually very similar, there are marked differences in the length of the inroad - and corresponding differences in which circle has the peak population.

  • More about the "inroad" to the "hill" on the page about Bridges from Sweden - featuring Olof and comparing him to the others in the "Olof, Stina, Apollonia and Bill" diagram. This page has been updated with data from November 2022, showing an interesting change over the two years.
  • More about profiles with even longer inroads: The long and winding path
  • Our tail-chasing adventures are described on this page about the outer rim of the Global Tree
  • The page about how Ten circles meet each other contains more about our current understanding of the global growth.

Connections to faraway lands

It used to be that the Connection Finder was limited to ten Degrees of connection plus three anchor profiles. In the new and improved version launched in September 2020 it shows connections between any two Globally Connected profiles you can think of. The Connection Finder makes it possible to explore Olof's connection to any other profile, as long as it is also connected to the Global Tree. By default it shows the shortest connection.

Some shortest paths are very long. This is Olof's path to one of the featured profiles of the week 14 November 2020, Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank. With 42 Degrees of connection it was one of the longer paths to a featured profile that week.

As is almost always the case with Swedish profiles, this path from a Jew born in Germany and dead in Switzerland goes through America in order to reach Sweden. Otto Frank had a sister who emigrated. On the Swedish side Olof's wife had a great grandmother, whose brother had an emigrating descendant five generations later. In America the path winds back and forth through marriages and up and down generations.

In the beginning of June 2021 the shortest path was 40 Degrees, due to a new bridging connection from Olof to America. In the beginning of May 2022 the path from Otto to Olof was 36 degrees. In the beginning of November 2022 the shortest path is down to 28 degrees. The improved representation of the American connections of Olof's emigrated granddaughter Hedvig Vilhelmina Persdotter (1860-1903) must have contributed to this - but who knows what useful bonds have been made elsewhere in the tree! The Global Tree is certainly no static thing.

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