52 Ancestors Week 11: Large Family

+20 votes

imageReady for Week 11 of the 52 Ancestors challenge?

Please share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches the week's theme. This week's sharing prompt:


From Amy Johnson Crow:

Any large families in the family tree? Any stories of the challenges or benefits of being in a large family? Or perhaps "Large" is an ancestral surname? 

Share below!

Participants who share every week can earn badges. If this is your first time participating, or you don't have the participation badge, please post hereClick here for more about the challenge.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
I come from large family of 14 kids 7 girls and 7 boys my mom lost 2 sets of twins so there would of 18 kids. My mom who will be 89 this year is still living my dad passed away. I myself have 9 kids 7 boys and 2 girls. So i guess the worden/Smith family is large
We"ve got big families and some one-child families.  But they're all part of our past.  I'm curious, Pamela, did any of the Wordens in your family live in Kentucky?
I'm not sure but I know i have worden family all over check our connection we could possibly be family
I had 11 brothers and 5 sisters. My first brother and my moms first child died when he was only ten months old and I had a brother who died in 1984  and just had a sister who died a month ago. So I have 9 brothers and 4 sisters who are still living. There were a lot of big families here in Newfoundland in the last century.
Wow Pamela, that's a lot of nappies (diapers) changed over the years!
Yes it was very expensive but worth it I love my big family

89 Answers

+12 votes

Thomas William Hart Plain is a distant relative of my partner’s mother.  He was born in rural Pembrokeshire, and had moved to Cardiff by 1850 when he married. While his family may not be overly large (11 children born over 21 years) there are a couple of side stories which I find fascinating. Firstly, the names of the children change over time; a lowly boatman has children named Clara and Jessie, but by the time he is a gentleman ship-builder then Lilian Ada Mary and Ivor Stanley Rudolph are baptised. The second insight, and only recently discovered in Ancestry’s document release, relates to Jessie. I knew she became Mrs Krieger, but only recently realised that she became German by marriage, and the re-naturalised as British when she was widowed. That this took place in 1915 gives added resonance to the document; elsewhere in Cardiff around this time, another relative Anglicised their Maes into Mace (even though Maes is a word in the Welsh language. – meaning wood). Sadly, as in many other large families, not all of the children survived, but here 5 of them didn’t become teenagers. There’s a lot of social history tied up in these 13 souls – rural to urban, poor to wealthy and both national events and personal tragedy impacted their lives too.

by Alison Wilkins G2G6 Mach 2 (29.8k points)
+11 votes

My family has a long-standing tradition of large families.  My 2x great grandfather, William Boswell Scrivener, was one of 12 children of Lt. John Scrivener and Eliza Boswell.  William himself was the father of 10 children. Ironically, no ne of his children had large families, but it picked up again in the next generation. Two of my brothers have 8 and 12 children respectively.  Me, I'm a piker.  I had a set of twins and called it quits. 

by Anne Agee G2G6 Mach 1 (11.8k points)
edited by Anne Agee
+11 votes
After joining Clan Hunter I feel my paternal lineage has grown and is still growing to this day.  My father came from a family of eleven and not knowing while he was alive that his ancestors were the Lairds of Hunterston Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland I have met so many cousins and looking forward to meeting many more at the next Clan Hunter International Gathering in 2020.
by Carol Sullivan G2G6 Mach 2 (24.7k points)
+11 votes

My large families are mostly on my mother's side - she has a total of 72 first cousins, 59 from her father's family and only 13 from her mother's family. To contrast - I only have two first cousins.

My Grandpa Cox had twelve children (eleven with my Grandma Cox). My Grandfather Nathan was the oldest of the full siblings. Six of the siblings had four or less kids for a total of 19 grandchildren, the other six had five or more kids with my Aunt Rosetta having the most - ten of her own. All the grandchildren of my Great Grandparents add up to 60 plus 2 extra for Grandpa. 

Going back a generation, Grandpa Cox had eleven brothers and sisters and Grandma had eight brothers and sisters - most all of them living to adulthood with children of their own. One of Grandma's sisters married one of Grandpa's brothers. Large families continue back in time on this side of the family - no small wonder that the majority of the DNA matches that I have figured out how we are most likely related have some connection to my Cox or Smith families. 

My Grandpa and Grandma Sharp had eight children together unfortunately two of their boys died young. Their six children who lived to adulthood and married gave them a total of 16 grandchildren. 

Grandpa Sharp had six brothers and sisters (four who never married or had children) and Grandma Sharp had two brothers and one sister. 

by Emily Holmberg G2G6 Mach 9 (94.6k points)
+11 votes
I think my 2nd Great Grandparents Edward Shoemaker (Shoemaker-2145) and Mary Milhiser (Millhiser-13) had the largest family.  They were married 5 April 1879 in Berlin, Camden, New Jersey. And during the next 20 years had 9 children.   Their first was born William  in 1878 and their last, Theodore in 1899.
by Cathy Claycamp G2G5 (6.0k points)
+13 votes
"Large" is a relative term. The family I knew growing up was small. I thought that we had almost no relatives in NZ. My maternal grandparents, their 3 children and a total of 8 grandchildren (sadly cut to 6 in one awful 16 hour period). Doing my tree has given me a MUCH different picture. My Grandmother had 8 Aunts and Uncles born in NZ alone. Most of those had 3 or 4 children. And I also discover that, growing up, I was surrounded by  second and third cousins from my estranged fathers side - as in may have travelled on the same schoolbus for several years. When my husband and I did DNA, I assumed that his (Irish Catholic) family would be large and my (Scottish Presbytarian) family would be tiny. I now have 360 matches at 4th cousin or closer, he has a shade over 200.

I guess the lesson is not to make any assumptions about how large or small your family REALLY is. My biggest surprise was a whole extra sibling for me!
by Lynlee OKeeffe G2G6 Mach 1 (16.5k points)
+11 votes
I am only 1 of 4 siblings but my 3rd Great-grandparents Dempsey Odum and Sarah Jordan had 14 children and my 5th Great-grandparents Thomas and Mary (unknown maiden name) Jordan had 15 children.

Also of note is that my ex-husband was 1 of 18 siblings...all from the same set of parents....NO TWINS!
by Tina Hall G2G6 Mach 1 (15.0k points)
+12 votes

Here is my great grandfather's family. They were early settlers and farmers in Iowa. The couple had 14 children, with the last two being twins! You can see a picture of the family here.

by Pat Quinn G2G1 (1.5k points)
+11 votes

I am not succeeding in adding the image here.  It is on the profile of Carl August Schilling https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Schilling-812

The family photo was taken about 1898 in Appleton, Wisconsin, just before Adeline, the oldest daughter, was to be married.  She is the tallest one in the back row.  On either side of Adeline are sisters Anna (left) and Emma (right).  My grandmother Bertha is on the right beside Emma and behind (seated) big brother Daniel.  Sam is in front of Daniel. On the left you see Walter, the standing boy in the big white bow tie, and seated Leonora, in the plaid blouse.  Both Walter and Leonora wrote their family memories.  The parents are Ottilie (Koerth) Schilling and Carl August Schilling.  Great-grandma Ottilie had the most beautiful smile but you don't see it here because they are all trying to look SERIOUS for posterity.  Except maybe baby George on her lap. 

by Margaret Summitt G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
+11 votes
My paternal Great-great-great-grandfather had 17 kids; maternal Great-grandfather had 23. My parents each came from families of 9 children. That must have scared them, because I'm an only child.
by Robert Moss G2G Crew (720 points)
+11 votes

I have some 3rd great grandparents from Tennessee that had 20 children! Workman-311 and Bilyeu-3

No, I did not take after them. I only have 2 children, and they’re adopted laugh

by Jodi Dalton G2G3 (3.8k points)
+10 votes
My 4x great grandfather Elisha Billings (Billings-215)   fathered 14  known children by 3 wives.  2 with first wife Nancy Hawkins  8 with 2nd wife Mahalah (maiden name unknown)   and 4 with 3rd wife Sarah Whitley.   

The children were 4 boys and 10 Girls.

With Nancy-William and Alley

With Mahalah-Nancy, Matilda, Mahalah, Mary, Taturn,  Sarah, Lina and Pherbey (probably Phebe)  

With Sarah-Caroline, Elisha, William and Emily,
by Brandi Morgan G2G6 Mach 1 (18.6k points)
+9 votes

This one is a bit different. My grandmother came from a very large family but was adopted into a small one. Had her adoptive mother not died when she was not quite four years old she probably would have been an only child in her adoptive family. Her father remarried and she gained two adoptive sisters. Just a week or so ago, through DNA, I discovered her birth family and was astounded to learn she was one of 10. She was the only child given up as far as we can determine and we have no idea of the circumstances. I've only just begun working on her biological family so don't yet have her siblings in the tree, but they will be added soon!

Louise Anne (Hackney) Huskey, aka Smith, Western, Lanphar, Tanner 

by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
+10 votes

My Nana Mahoney is one of 8 children.  I need to get profiles added for her siblings. :)

by Sally Mahoney G2G6 Mach 2 (28.9k points)
+11 votes
Is it strange to nominate yourself?

I'm nominating myself.

I'm not the proliferator of a large family, but I'm the baby of a large, extended family of siblings that stretch across 4 decades and coast to coast.

My father was born in the late 20s. I was born in the late 80s. There was PLENTY of time for my father to have a well-established family and grandchildren of his own before he met and married my mother.

My father had 4 children with his first wife, and after they divorced there was a set of twins with a serious, long-term relationship that both passed in infancy. So we're up to 6.

My mother had one child before my parents were together. Now we're at 7.

My parents met and had a daughter, a set of twins (also died in infancy), and myself. Now we're at 11.

After they divorced, they both remarried. My step-mother had 3 children and my step-father had 4.

That is 18 siblings.

I was born in 1987. My oldest sibling, a brother, was born in 1948.
by Patricia Ferdig G2G6 Mach 3 (31.4k points)
+11 votes


This is one of the several large families in my tree. The family of Elon and Annie Pountney who arrived from England to Townsville, Queensland, Australia and on to Ravenswood, Queensland, Australia in 1887. They had twelve children, of which, nine survived to become adults and have families, except for two bachelor sons.


by David Urquhart G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
edited by David Urquhart
+11 votes
My family was small by Québécois standards, we are 4 sisters and 2 brothers. My mother was an only child, very unusual. My father is an adoptee. That however is where the anomaly ends.

Most of my ancestors, both biological and adoptive, come from families of usually 12 or more children and some up to 20 children per woman. Some of my male forebears had 2 or 3 wives consecutively with a large family with each wife.

The very high birthrate was a passive cultural resistance to the English occupation and deportation of Acadians and began about 1755. It is known  as "La Revanche des berceaux". Literally translated as the revenge of the cradle and it was intended to outpopulate the English invaders. It was reinforced by the RC Church and continued until about my generation, I was born in the early 1960's.
by Mama Kiki Lajeunesse G2G6 (9.2k points)
+10 votes

I might be able to one-up Chris... you might need a recliner!! Where shall I start?
Yes, my father was an only child. My mother, however, was the 8th of 9 children. I'll start with HER paternal grandparents.
Joseph Richard OWENS  and Susan DEATON had 8 children. Their second-born was my grandfather, Lee OWENES who married Bertha SANDERS and they had 9 children. 
(See Lee OWENES for pictures of his family as a boy, and his family WITH his kids!)
THEN... my MOTHER, Bobbie Jean OWENES had 9 children! 
As if THAT weren't enough... my father, Jack Gerald TAYLOR, Sr.  married my mother's younger sister, Ada Lona OWENS  when I was 18 years old... and that made her 6 children (my biological first cousins) all our step-siblings - PLUS, Dad and Ada adopted a little boy, with disabilities, in 1976! 
Altogether, I have 9 biological siblings (3 full siblings, 6 half-siblings), 2 step-siblings from our Dad's former marriage, and 6 step-siblings from his last marriage, and our adopted brother. That is 18 total siblings. Sadly, our adopted brother, David, died in 1978. Our step-brother, Loren, died in 2003. Our step-brother, Larry, died in 2009. And, our brother, Jack Gerald "Jerry" Taylor, Jr. died on April 5, 2013. 


by Sheri Taylor G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
+10 votes

My research into my family tree has focused on the nineteenth and twentieth century when family size was decreasing.  No extremely large families come to mind.  But, in the process of looking at this topic, I did find two sets of 2xgreat grandparents Thomas and Mary (Savoy) Thorpe parents of nine children and Joel and Laura (Shipman) Hart parents of ten children.

In the next generation, siblings married. Edwin and Laurilla (Hart) Thorpe had ten children. Ephraim and Sarah (Thorpe) Hart, my great-grandparents, had seven children of whom only four survived childhood so not such a big family.  However, another Hart sister Luana (Hart) Gilmore had twelve children including two sets of twins.    

by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 4 (41.1k points)
+10 votes

My mother's dad was one of 6.  My father's mom was one of 11.  Further back, my 8th great-grandmother Hannah Dustin has 13 children. 

by Bret Cantwell G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)

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