Have you ever heard of Feodor Vassilyev? I have a bone to pick with the fellow.
(Unless otherwise cited, all quotes in this post are from the Wikipedia article on Feodor.)
The basics are thus:
Feodor Vassilyev (Russian: Фёдор Васильев) (b. approx. 1707) was a peasant from Shuya, Russia.
The story, still maintained by such sources as the Guinness Book of World Records, begins at:
The first published account about Feodor Vassilyev’s children appeared in a 1783 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine (Vol. 53 p. 753, London, 1783) and states that the information “however astonishing, may be depended upon, as it came directly from an English merchant in St Petersburg to his relatives in England, who added that the peasant was to be introduced to the Empress”
Children? What was so incredible about the youths?
67 of the 69 children born are said to have survived infancy.
16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 births.
So, Feodor had a closet full of handcrafted macaroni art on Father’s Day, but what’s my issue with the long-dead man?
Well – let’s just review the Guiness entry regarding the Vassilyev family.
Most prolific mother ever
The greatest recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (Russia). In 27 pregnancies between 1725 and 1765 she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. Only two of the children failed to survive their infancy. The mother also holds the records for giving birth to the most sets of twins and the most sets of quadruplets.
As I see it, Feodor’s name should only be tangentially related to this bit of knowledge, (which I rather suspect was entirely a fabrication of the apparent father.)
Who was this supposed woman who housed 69 lives? We don’t even get her first name. We have no idea when she was born or died, we essentially know only that she was married to a lusty husband, and likely spent a lot of time lying down – that’s it.
No offense, Feodor, but, this glory-grab is as if history only remembered “Denham‘s ape”, instead of “King Kong”.