This is an interesting question Karen. For Switzerland, we did not have wars, it is generally assumed that anybody can go back easely to 1650, and with some luck and brain to 1550. For specialist anyone can go back to Charlemagne, Emperor of Europe, 742-814 after Christ. For myself I count included me and Charlemagne 39 generations, with evidence of course. For super-experts it is generally assumed that Charlemagne was a small nephew of the Roman Emperors. For super-super-experts it is generally assumed that the Roman Emperors were related to the Kings on Egypt. For super-super-super-expert the Kings of Egypt came thousands years ago from Kenya, spreading to the North of Africa and organising themself as a Kingdom. For super-super-super-super-expert billions of years ago the monkey became a men according to Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, which I agree because many genealogical specialist still do believe that we come from ? or maybe God. For super-super-super-super-super-expert the earth and everything was created 5'000'000'000 years ago. Before that there is no more expert, it is too difficult for the moment.
You see in fact genealogy is easy, all depends on your time, luck, brain, because the Net is too recent we still can not get online many Swiss archives records but I am confident that it will come. The Mormons, see; http://familysearch.org/http://familysearch.org/, are much clever and updated.
Serge de MULLER Buenos Aires/Fribourg NB: I duplicate your query and this message on the Fribourg forum, rootsweb.com