Families really do come in all shapes, sizes and configurations, and it isn't a very recent phenomenon - here's an article in the Guardian that I found interesting, I hope you do too!



Yup, thats definitely a 'like'

I thought it was a scam but appears to be true. At least one set of octets is born somewhere just about every year. I thought that was enough but 11! That's being a man as well, I've only seen it and not done it.

Yup they only ever (ok poss an exception but vvvvvvvv rare) have one baby every 2 or 3 years - so quite a lot like us, really. Also they have individually unique fingerprints, isn't that cool!


11??? Arrrrgh how appalling. I don't think I'd have minded twins - but I don't think most of us are really designed for more than one at a time, like Koalas ;-)

Wow, the picture did not show up earlier - do you reckon it's just a scam? Can't imagine anything worse than more than one baby at once.

It's cut and past, but the flip side of the coin in a way.

The most babies born to one woman is 69.

She was the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev, a peasant from Shuya, Russia who lived from 1707-1782. We can only speculate how many fire safety ordinances he violated by housing all his progeny in his little peasant sized hovel. Presumably, at some point they also had to choose to feed on the weak ones in order to provide food for the strong.

How did she manage this feat given most women only have about 30-ish years of baby making ability? She gave birth to sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets; so basically a veritable baby making factory who scoffs at “one at a timing” it. Amazingly, 67 of her children survived infancy, which was a remarkable rate for the day.

In living memory, Leontina Albina (born 1926) married in Argentina in 1943 and gave birth to her 55th registered child in San Antonio, Chile, in 1981, aged 55. She claimed to have 9 more children, but none of them were registered.[5][unreliable source?] Gerardo Secunda Albina (born 1921) stated that and they had five sets of triplets (all boys) before coming to Chile. Eleven children were lost in an earthquake. Only 40, 24 boys and 16 girls, survived in 1943 and gave birth to her 55th registered child in 1981, aged 55.She claimed to have 9 more children, but none of them were registered. Her husband, Gerardo Secunda Albina (born 1921) stated that they had five sets of triplets (all boys) before going to Chile. Eleven children were lost in an earthquake. Only 40, 24 boys and 16 girls, survived.

Alaouite, sultan of Morocco, said to have fathered 525 sons and 342 daughters with multiple wives and concubines.

Woman gives birth to 11 baby boys at once?

11 Baby boys

Mumbai: An Indian woman gave birth to eleven 11kids baby boys few days ago. Resources have been told that few of them were test tubes babies but it really seems strange at once. It was also rumored that 6 were twins. Doctors were really surprised, shocked and glad to have successful delivery. Well it’s a blessing of God, who gives 11 baby boys to one woman. 21st century record of 2012 year, if the report is true.

So, those of us with two parents and a sibling or two who even think our families are strange might just think again!

About half an hour cutting from about 80 pages I have on a file, then putting it all back together. So I typed about 25%. I am so grateful I learned touch typing. The full thing is a little long and detailed but the whole story is still incomplete and I may work on it one day. I wrote it up originally from a handwritten undergraduate essay and have expanded it for a few years, but translated about 40 pages of this and her stuff with a Portuguese anthropologist friend which she had published in a journal in Portugal with emphasis on the Braganzas.

I can understand that Tracy - my French 'first' cousins (apart from 2 of them who are the genuine article) are actually my mother's first cousins, but as we are the same generation & grew up together we tend to forget it!

Brian, did you type all that just now or did you copy and paste?

Wonderful story Brian! - history is endlessly fascinating & I love the surprises & ironies & loopings-back along the way.

This is a long story, so bear with me. It starts for me as a student and kinship lectures. The man who taught us was a specialist in the topic. He was also a former communicant who trained as a priest but never took office. He was also an historian of the Roman Catholic church and a very devout Christian. However he told us this kinship story. The very last bit is a connection I told him about one day that he laughed his socks off about and said that had he not met so many people of this line then he would love to have met the man. It fascinated me and I have always kept an interest and increased my knowledge over the years. It fascinates me no end. This is a short, potted version. Anyway, here goes, hold on to your seats.

Pope Innocent VIII was born Giovanni Battista Cibo in Genoa to Aran Cibo, a powerful and wealthy former Senator of Rome under the Borja Papal patriarch Pope Callixtus (1455-58). He entered the priesthood under Cardinal Calandnini, half brother of Pope Nicholas V (1447–55). He stayed in favour undera number of Popes when appointed Bishop of Savona in 1473 under Pope Paul (1464-71). Whilst he was Bishop of Savona, Cibo fathered several children, most whom were honestly acknowledged and documented as his sons and daughters, especiallyhis eldest son Franceschetto.

When Sixtus IV became Pope, Cibo garnered support of the powerful and young Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere, who was a son of the Pope, thereby winning his favour and becoming a Cardinal in 1473. When Sixtus launched a war against the de' Medicis in Florence and Ferrara, Cibo used his considerable political skills to stay in favour with both sides. At the end of the reign of Sixtus, Cibo had positioned himself as the key rival against Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere to succeed his father as next Pope. When Sixtus died in 1484, his son fully expected he could count on the support of the majority of Cardinals to guarantee his election as Pope. When the Conclave was announced, Cibo spent most of the fortune that he had accumulated in office to in effect buy the votes of enough Cardinals to block Della Rovere. When Della Rovere failed to win the expected majority at the first election he ordered the Papal militia to arrest Cardinal Giovanni Cibo and his supporters and put them in prison. The forces of other Popes (there were rival Popes at the time, Rome was just one of their centres) intervened and for several days, hundreds of soldiers including priests died in riots throughout Rome. To end violence, Cibo made a truce with Della Rovere whereby he kept his regions as Cardinal and Cibo was elected Pope Innocent VIII.

If Pope Innocent VIII was mistaken if he thought he would be able to replace his family fortunes after the expensive purchase of the Papacy. The Della Rovere family stripped the Vatican treasury bare in retribution for the defeat of their family member. However, Innocent VIII was not t deterred. He contrived a number of new schemes to get money back into his Vatican treasury including investing in the Spanish and Portuguese slave trade from which he received a share of the profits.

In 1484 Papal Bull Summis desiderantes affectibus reinforced existing church law allowing marriage annulment and seizure of assets of any person (usually women) found to be heretic. This effective theft opened up an extremely profitable stream of income as the assets of rich and ancient families were stolen under the pretext of heresy, particularly from noble women with wealth. However, the lack of documents from which church authorities might be able to spread fear and panic concerning devil worship and witchcraft were insufficient. So he commissioned two Dominican monks, Henrich Kramer and James Sprenger, themselves heavily implicated in both satanic practice and ritual murder, to write Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches Hammer) one of the most bloodthirsty books in human history. When it was ready in 1486, he ordered the manuscript copied to every Bishop so they might promote the most profitable fear of witches in their congregations and followed up with a Papal Bull of the same name which stated non-belief in witchcraft as heresy and stated that women were more likely to become witches than men ‘because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh than men’.

Consistently short of money, he institutionalised simony at the papal court, thereby creating new titles of offices that were diplomatically auctioned. One famous example is that he arranged the marriage of his eldest son Franceschetto to Maddalena de' Medici, the daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, who in return obtained a cardinal's hat for his then thirteen year old son Giovanni, who later became Pope Leo X. In the final year of his life, the former Moorish city of Granada in Spain fell. To celebrate he took over one hundred Moorish slaves who were distributed among the Curia and to his friends as gifts. By the time of his death, the Vatican was overrun with more than 100 illegitimate children, with the cost of maintaining his women, sons, daughters and grandchildren causing it a financial crisis.

Pope Callixtus III reappears again now. Pope Alexander VI was born Roderic Llançol i de Borja (Borgia) in Xativa near Valencia in Spain. His maternal uncle Alonso de Borja was of course one Calixtus III. Alexander had a lot of mistresses. The one for whom his passion lasted longest was a Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani, who was wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470 when she bore him four children who he openly acknowledged: Giovanni, who later became Duke of Gandia (1474), Cesare (1476), Lucrezia (1480) and Goffredo (Giuffre) (circa 1481). Three other children, Girolama, Isabella and Pedro-Luiz, were of ‘uncertain parentage’. His son Bernardo, by Vittoria Sailór dei Venezia in 1469, is much less known because his father kept him in hiding. That was probably due to shame because he was a cardinal who wished to become Pope. He gave up hiding his many children after he fathered four more. However, Bernardo received the least attention of his siblings. Before his elevation to Pope, Borgia's passion for Vannozza somewhat dimmed, thus she led a very retired life henceforth. Her place was filled by the beautiful Giulia Farnese, wife of an Orsini, but his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever. It proved to be the determining factor in his whole career. He spent vast sums of money on them and furnished them with every honour. His daughter Lucrezia, who we shall see in a minute, lived with his mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in 1492. Alexander is an ancestor of virtually all royal houses of Europe and directly for being the ancestor of Dona Luisa de Guzmán, wife of the king João IV de Portugal, of the House of Braganza and thus direct ancestor of the entire dynasty.

Between Innocent and Alexander, who were related as well, the shape of European history was shaped for as long as monarchy dominated. Between them many ancient noble families ceased to exist. The inappropriately named Innocent was particularly effective through his witch persecutions, whereby many noble women were proven to be witches and a few of their menfolk followers of Satanism. Alexander's offspring have been widely influential too.

Along the way Lucrezia Llançol i de Borja who is better known as Lucrezia Borgia has already appeared. Persistent rumours have been broadcast about her over the centuries, primarily speculation about extravagant parties thrown by the Borgia family that involve allegations of incest, poisoning and murders all done by her or with her very complicit. Very little is known about her really and the extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her father and brothers is vague. They arranged several marriages for her to powerful men to advance their own political ambitions. She was married to Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglie and Alfonso I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara. The story of Lucrezia’s life tells that Alfonso of Aragon was an illegitimate son of the King of Naples and her brother Cesare probably had him murdered after his political value waned. Nonetheless there is a special place in history for her because who and what she was and all of the intrigues around her.

Her first husband was a member of the House of Sforza who was the Lord of Pesaro and bore the title Count of Catignola. Giovanni was the illegitimate son of Costanzo I Sforza and therefore a Sforza of the second rank. When the Borgia family no longer needed the Sforzas, the presence of Giovanni in the papal court was unnecessary so Alexander ordered his execution. He fled, Alexander asked Giovanni's uncle, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, to persuade Giovanni to agree to a divorce. He refused, accused Lucrezia of paternal and fraternal incest, thus Alexander declared that his daughter's marriage had not been consummated and was thus invalid. She then married the Neapolitan Alfonso of Aragon, half-brother of Sancha of Aragon who was Lucrezia's brother Gioffre’s wife. She had a single child with him who died aged twelve. Alfonso also fled Rome for a while under threat from the Borgias but returned at Lucrezia's request, only to be murdered in 1500. After his death Alexander arranged the third marriage to Alfonso I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara in 1502. She gave him a number of children. Neither of them was faithful. She had a long relationship with her brother-in-law, Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and a love affair with poet Pietro Bembo. Francesco's wife was the cultured intellectual Isabella d'Este, the sister of Alfonso, to whom Lucrezia had made overtures of friendship to no effect. The affair was passionate, more sexual than sentimental which can be seen from their passionate love letters. It ended when Francesco contracted syphilis and sexual relations with Lucrezia had to cease. She had seven or eight children. She is a collateral relative of most royal families in modern Europe including that of the United Kingdom. Through her granddaughter Anna d'Este, Duchess of Guise and later Duchess of Nemours, Lucrezia is the ancestress of Juan Carlos I of Spain; Philippe of Belgium; Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg; as well as the Count of Paris and claimants to the House of Braganza throne of Portugal, as too Austria, Bavaria, Brazil, Parma, Saxony and the Two Sicilies.

During 1502 and 1503 Niccolò Machiavelli witnessed the brutal realities of the state building methods of Cesare Borgia and his father, who were then attempting to bring a large part of central Italy under their possession. The pretence of defending the Church's interests was used as justification by the Borgias and to an extent influenced his writings and appear in The Prince and some of his political works.

To cap it, I once discovered a link. Not my own family but that of an acquaintance. In SW London we had numerous families who had left Goa to settle in the UK after independence rather than Portugal which might have been the natural choice. One of my good friends, Frank, was later to become my brother in law, but what I heard came from his mother Maria. We had a friend locally who was clearly Goan and called himself Carlos, although his name was really something else. His family name was Branganza. I went to Frank’s parent’s house for some kind of celebration once after my sister and he were married. We got talking about Carlos. He was a totally handsome and very persuasive man who had women more or less at his feet. He had fathered a couple of children already and word was out that he had done a bunk because he had two more girls in ‘the club’. Dear old Maria said that it was ‘in his blood’. We listened. His grandfather had been a naval officer in Vasco da Gama city in Goa whilst the Portuguese were still there. He had married an Indian Portuguese local girl and had a couple of children by her, Carlos’s father one of them. Later on it came out that the man also had children in Brazil and Mozambique by his wives. Ultimately it came out that he was a prince of the Braganza family without claim to the throne, so not top line, however he was married to a Portuguese woman of noble birth with whom he had children. So Maria was saying it was in his blood only knowing about his grandfather and none of the history above.

It’s a small world and who are we all related to anyway. I am related to one ‘famous’ person (actually more than one but I am not saying the name of the family) which is my secret and totally uncontroversial anyway.

A great read Véronique! We have a similar situation, my husband is the youngest of 13 despite being only 44 his eldest sister is 75 so he has great nieces and great nephews that are older than him. His mum at the age of 87 is on the lookout or husband no 5 any takers out there?

This is a small family gathering (just 2 sisters and 2 brothers and their children and grand children) we had a couple of years ago to introduce some of the 'fragmented' members to each other as we were fed up of only meeting at funerals and weddings. The hardest part is trying to explain to our kids who don't see their cousins often that its actually the grown up who are their cousins and the children are their first cousins once removed - I think?

Oooooh, I love this topic. Gotta walk the dogs now but one of my favourite bits will appear later. Hold on to your seats people!