Whether you associate larger families with crowded dining tables and queues for the shower, or with ready-made friends and a plenty of love, life with multiple siblings is the norm for some people. Throughout the ages and right up to the present day, certain couples have chosen to have many more children than average; here’s a list of the top ten baby boomers on record.
10. Elena and Alexander Shishkin (20 children)
Elena and Alexander Shishkin of Voronezh Oblast in Russia, are one of the contemporary world’s busiest couples. Elena gave birth to child number twenty in April of 2003, when her eldest son was 24.
9. Leonora and Yanosh Nameni (21 children)
As members of the Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarene), Leonora and Yanosh Nameni who live in the Ukraine, do not believe in using birth control. Their 21 children are made up of eleven sons and ten daughters, the last of which was born in 2013.
8. Olivia (née Whitmore) and Arthur Guinness (21 children)
The founder of the Irish brewery, Guinness, and his wife, were married in 1761, they had 21 children together and lived on a huge fifty one acre farm in Ireland.
7. Tabatha Marcum and Silas Mainord (23 children)
Tabitha and Silas lived in Tennessee, USA, and were married in 1811. Together they had 23 children, one of whom, a girl called Syreana, went on to become a mother of seventeen.
6. Anna Theresia Pleyl and Martin Pleyel (29 children)
The first wife of schoolmaster, Martin Pleyel, from Ruppersthal, Lower Austria, Anna Theresia Pleyl had 29 children during the mid-eighteenth century. They had very little money, but when one of their children Ignaz Pleyel turned out to have a talent for music, he was lucky enough to find a patron to pay for his studies. As his career progressed his family were able to move to Paris in 1795 and establish two businesses, one dealing with music publishing and another piano manufacturing. Ignaz Playel is now considered to be one of the most talented composers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
5. Mary Thomas and John Jonas (33 children)
Married in Chester, UK, on 17th June 1839, Mary and John were an ambitious couple who managed to blend family life with running a series of successful furniture making businesses. Over the course of their 52 years together, they had 33 children including 13 sets of twins.
4. Elizabeth Greenhill and William Greenhill (39 children)
In the majority of cases, mothers with many children often had multiple births. However, in the case of Elizabeth Greenhill who lived in Hertfordshire in the UK during the 1660’s, most of her 39 children were single births. This was noted in a book entitled ‘The Art of Embalming’ which was written by her last child, William Greenhill, who went on to become a surgeon. Inside the cover an inscription signed ‘Rich. Ashby, a clergyman’, reveals that Elizabeth and William had 39 children. “They were all born alive, and baptised and all single births save one”, he wrote.
3. Alice Hookes and her husband (41 Children)
According to the gravestone of her 41st child, Nicholas Hookes, his mother, Alice Hookes lived in Gwynedd, North Wales. Nicholas died in 1637, and it is only from the inscription on his gravestone that we know of Alice’s life and the numerous she children produced – sadly no further evidence exists.
2. Leontina Albina and Gerardo Secunda Albina (55 Children)
Also listed in the Guinness Book of Records, this Chilean couple were married in Argentina during 1943. Included in their total are five sets of male triplets, with children being born to Leontina up until she was 55, in 1981. Rumour has it that they went on to have another 9 children, but these are unverified and not included in official records.
1. Feodor Vassilyevsand his first wife (69 Children)
Feodor Vassilyev, was a Russian peasant who lived from 1707 to 1782, although the name of his first wife is not known, records kept by the Monastery of Nikolsk reveal they had 69 children together. Amongst the births were sixteen sets of twins, four sets of quadruplets and seven sets of triplets. That’s a lot of children and although many have doubted the story, Vassilyev’s wife is mentioned in the Guinness World of Records as the woman with the most children ever.