Valentina Vassilyeva Family Tree Shows She Had The Most Kids In The World

By Ankit Karki | 4 June 2023 05:30 AM

Many newborn kids in one frame
Source : theguardian

Valentina Vassilyeva family tree shows her husband Feodor Vassilyev and their 67 children. Valentina gave birth to 69 children but two died during infancy.

Valentina was a Russian woman who lived in the 1700s. She has the Guinness World Record for giving birth to the most children, i.e. 69 kids between 1725 and 1765.

Today, the cost of raising a family has become so high that most people can only afford to have 2-3 children in a lifetime. Plus, the problem of overpopulation has led to governments promoting small families and the use of contraceptives.

But, there was a time in history the number of children in a family was associated with its strength. At that time, women were treated based on their ability to give birth to sons.

While pediatricians argue if it was even possible to have that many children, official Russian records claim Valentina's case to be legitimate.

Also, follow our list of Celebrities with Most Children.

Valentina Vassilyeva Family Tree

Valentina and her husband welcomed 69 children into their family between 1725 and 1765. 67 of them survived infancy, whereas two of the kids perished at young ages. 

According to official records, Valentina gave birth to 16 twins, 7 triplets, and 4 quadruplets. On average, twins are born at 37 weeks, triplets at 32 weeks, and quadruplets are delivered at around 32 weeks. Therefore, Vassilyeva should have been pregnant for at least 18 years during her adult life which consisted of 27 pregnancies.

Valentina's first child was born in 1725 and her 69th child was born in 1765. The case was first registered by the Government of Moscow based on a report from the Nikolsk Monastery on February 27, 1782. 

Later, the Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle covered the story in their 53rd volume published in September 1783. The magazine also reported that, at the time of the publication, 67 of the 69 children were alive and healthy.

An English merchant based in St. Petersburg admittedly knew the family; he was the one to spread the unbelievable story in England. According to the merchant, Vassilyeva's husband Feodor was scheduled to meet the Empress of Russia, Catherine II.

Many pediatricians and historians have questioned the legitimacy of the record as it didn't seem possible for a peasant couple to have the time and resources to raise the 67 children.

The French Academy of Sciences (FAS) tried to investigate the sources to find out the authenticity of Valentina's story. They contacted a member of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy named M Khanikoff.

However, instead of helping, Khanikoff suggested to the FAS that the investigation was a waste of time and resources. He also added that the family was happily settled in Russia.

Valentina Vassilyeva and Her Husband Feodor Vassilyev

Valentina and Feodor were Russian peasants who lived in Shuya, Russia, in the 18th century. Like most peasants at the time, the couple was primarily involved in farming.

Feodor was born in 1707 in Shuya, Ivanovo Oblast. At the time, Russia was a monarchy and was officially called the Tsardom of Russia. He eventually died at the age of 75 in 1782.

On the other hand, details about Valentina's birth and death can't be determined due to a lack of authentic evidence. In fact, historians question if Valentina is indeed her real name or not. Meanwhile, she was reportedly 76 years old at the time of her death.

According to Find A Grave, Feodor got married to a second wife after the death of his first wife. So, Valentina should have been older than Feodor by at least a few years.

From his second marriage,  Vassilyev went on to have 18 more children, making him a father of 87. The kids from his second wife consisted of 6 twins and 2 triplets.

The family later moved to Moscow where they received several concessions and favors from the government.

Who Has The Most Kids In The World Besides Valentina?

The woman with the most kids after Valentina is the wife of Yakov Kirillov. Yakov was also a Russian peasant from the 1700s.

Today, childbearing is considered a hefty task that not everybody can complete. Even those who want kids think that a couple should not have more than 2-3 kids.

However, before technological advancement, people believed that more children meant more power for the family. This is why only one woman from the 21st century is in the top 20 list of women with the most children.

1. Yakov Kirillov Wife

No. of Children: 57

Nationality: Russian

Yakov Kirillov and his first wife had 57 children from their marriage. The woman was pregnant 21 times, during which she gave birth to ten twins, seven triplets, and four quadruplets.

Reportedly, the peasant couple had their last child in 1755. It was the same year Yakov was honored at the queen's court for his remarkable achievement.

2. Barbara Stratzmann

No. of Children: 53

Nationality: German

Barbara Stratzmann was a German woman who lived from 1448 to 1503. With the help of her husband Adam, she gave birth to 53 children.

Barbara and Adam had 15 daughters and 38 sons from their marriage. She welcomed 5 twins, 4 triplets, 1 set of sextuplets, and 1 set of septuplets, from 29 births.

Among the 53 kids, 19 were stillborn. Similarly, at the time of her last delivery in 1498, her oldest surviving kid was only eight.

3. Mariam Nabatanzi Babirye

No. of Children: 44

Nationality: Ugandan

Mariam is a 42-year-old woman from Mukono district of Central Uganda. She is considered the most fertile woman in the world alive.

Babirbye was married to a 40-year-old man when she was only 12 years old. She had her first child at the age of 13. By the time she reached 36, Mariam had 44 children from 15 deliveries. She gave birth to 6 twins, 4 triplets, and 3 quadruplets. However, only 38 of her children are alive today, which consists of 22 sons and 16 daughters.

Babirye's husband ran off after he couldn't afford to raise 38 kids. This put a lot of pressure on Mariam to hold a job while also taking care of her children.

4. Elizabeth Mott

No. of Children: 41

Nationality: English

Elizabeth Mott was an English woman from Monks Kirby, Warwickshire. She got married to a man named John Mott in 1676.

From 1676 to 1720, the couple welcomes 42 children into their family. Elizabeth eventually passed away in 1720. However, it's not known if she died from complications from childbirth or any pre-existing health condition.

5. Alice Hookes

No. of Children: 41

Nationality: Welsh

Alice Hookes was a Welsh woman currently buried in Conwy Church Cemetery located in Gwynedd, North Wales.

Her last child was a son named Nicholas Hookes who was born in 1553. He passed away at the age of 84 in 1637.

Due to a lack of historical documents, additional details about Alice have been lost in time.

Other Women With Most Children

Besides the above-mentioned women, the list continues with mothers from various centuries, including:

  • Elizabeth Greenhill [39 Children]
  • Mary Jonas [33 Children]
  • Moddie Olivera [32 Children]
  • Maria Addolorata Casalini [32 Children]
  • Madalena Carnauba [32 Children]
  • Maria Benita Olivera [32 Children]
  • Rebecca Town [30 Children]
  • Elizabeth Johnson [28 Children]
  • Mabel Murphy [28 Children]
  • Irene Robinson [27 Children]