I have been lucky in my experience having been obsessed with where my parent come from all the way back.
Although I live in a country that only established proper infra-structure about a century ago, both sides of the family has been very diligent in keeping records.
My mother and all her ancestors have been keeping track of all their kin since the larger family landed in the early 19th century. That means for almost two hundred years there has been detailed records and even a family book printed with pictures. This book is updated about every generation or so and then there is a big gathering.
My father on the other hand was born in the Netherlands. This was a bit more trickier but lucky those authorities keep MUCH better records. There I was able to have my lineage traced back to the 17th century. I do not have the comprehensive list, but I have the name and profession of every male predecessor all the way back sine they started with the records keeping. Their records are so updated that it even has my generation on there that was not born in the Netherlands.