Wednesday, July 22, 2009

600+ Years of Marriage

When I was in grade school my favorite book was the Guinness Book of World Records. I read it religiously. My favorite copies were the editions from the 1980’s, where the books were filled with FACTS and not a bunch of pictures and hype for random records.

Among the thousands of records I read through and tried to commit to memory, one jumped out at me. It was the record of “most siblings to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary.” It jumped out at me because the record was 10, and I knew my Grandma Elenbaas was one of 11 siblings. At the time I wasn’t aware just how unbelievable it would be for all of my Grandma’s siblings to reach their golden wedding anniversary.

Fast forward to 2009: This year my Grandma told me that her youngest sibling just made it to his 50th wedding anniversary. Reminded of the World Record, I submitted my Grandma’s family to the Guinness Book for tying the record. Unfortunately, the oldest sibling passed away after 49 years of marriage so only 10 made it to their 50th. I also contacted the local news and coordinated this short news piece on my Grandma’s family.

It is likely that this accomplishment of 10 siblings reaching their golden wedding anniversary will NEVER happen to another family again. What are the odds???
  • According to the US Census, 5.8% of marriages reach their 50th wedding anniversary
  • According to the US Census, only 2% of families have 5 kids or more. I couldn’t find any more detailed information, but I think it would be generous to say that 0.1% of families have 10 kids or more.

Using those numbers, the approximate odds of a family having 10 siblings reach their golden anniversary is 1 in 2,300,000,000,000,000. That is 1 in 2.3 QUADRILLION. I know I have a lot of flaws and assumptions in my numbers, but you get the point. Families and marriages have changed a lot in the last 60 years and I doubt we’ll ever see anything like this again. AMAZING!!!

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