From the editor’s notes of a recent issue (August 2012) of The Diary:

The Diary has something this month that it has not had for nineteen years! Under BIRTHS this month, you will see that the very first entry is quadruplets! These four girls were born to Amos Masts of Granton, WI.  Congratulations.  And good luck.

Nineteen years ago, Amos Eshs of Lancaster County also had quadruplets.  The interesting part is that both sets of quadruplets have the same names!  What are the chances of that happening?  We scratch our heads, and wonder, did the Masts know of the Esh quadruplets?

This being an Amish publication the BIRTHS section of The Diary is usually pretty long.  August’s listing is eight pages, with 100+ babies on each page (it includes both June and July births, and even a few May babies were reported late here).  In addition to all the singles, eight sets of twins appear in this issue, from Ontario to Ohio.

Amish QuadrupletsHow common are multiple births?  Statistics I found for 2010 put the US twin rate at 33.1 per 1,000 live births, and the “triplet or higher order” rate at 137.6 per 100,000 live births (or for purposes or comparison we could say 1.37 per 1,000).

Since fertility drugs rarely if ever enter the picture, multiple births among Amish are less likely to be caused by artificial means.  On the other hand, I have heard that some Amish have shown very high rates of twinning.  Still quadruplets have to be especially rare.

When you learn of someone having twins, or triplets, the sentiment usually includes two things: “Wonderful for you” and “Good luck”.  Amish are probably better equipped to handle more than one newborn at a time, for at least a couple of reasons–1) they usually have the extra manpower to help, and 2) mom does not have the pressure of a professional career put on hold for her maternity period.  We could add a third factor, I guess:  your average Amish parent has probably had practice with newborn babies before, be it a sibling or previous children, making the whole process a little less overwhelming.  Notice I didn’t say it is easy for anyone, though.   Quadruple voices make quite a chorus at 3 AM.

I have always thought it would be interesting to have a twin.  I think that thought occurs to most twinless folks at some point.  In my family, my mother has a brother and sister who are twins.  Any multiples in your family?

Deer quadruplets photo: carfull…/flickr

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Join the Amish America Patreon for bonus videos & more!

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Britt

      There are twins on my dads side and my grandmothers brothers were twins..There are twins on both sides of my husbands family. We have a 4 year old boy and an almost 2 year old boy.. I always thought It would be neat to have twins.. I guess we have a good chance of that happening ):) My husband and I come from big families. 9 kids in mine and 8 in his.. People usually ask us if we are “done” I always tell them I have to have a little girl! Who knows we may end up with 2 at once!!But if its more boys ill the just as thrilled!! 🙂

    2. Mark

      About what percentage of the Amish subscribe/write in to the Diary?

      1. Number of Diary subscribers and contributors

        It’s a good question Mark, really two or more questions. I’d say most Amish homes will subscribe to some sort of correspondence publication, whether it is the Diary, The Budget, Die Botschaft, or another. I can’t give you a specific % though for this specific publication. While the Budget for example has scribes from car churches in addition to Amish, the Diary is described as “of the Old Order Churches” which would limit it to horse-and-buggy people.

        In terms of contributors, there are literally hundreds of entries in the main “Community Notes” section in each issue.

    3. Alecia Ernst

      My husband has an identical twin and my grandfather was a twin. Matter of fact today is my husband and his brother’s birthday.

    4. Margaret

      My grandfather was a twin.

      When I taught 3rd grade several years ago, there was one year where we had 4 sets of twins in one class alone. That was very unusual for a small town, where there was only about 80-100 kids per grade level. The year they were all born, everyone was afraid to drink the water! 🙂

      Very interesting post, Erik! Thanks!

    5. michele

      The dad’s first names are the same AND the four girls have the same names as the other four girls? That is remarkable.

    6. Leigh

      I love names…what are the two sets of identical names?? 🙂

      1. They all start with “S” 🙂

    7. Maria

      My mom has a twin brother and my husband’s dad has a twin sister. In fact my husband’s grandmother had 5 sets of twins, 1 set of triplets and 8 single births! Total of 21 children!

      1. Five sets of twins plus triplets…incredible. And 21 children, file that under “Those were different times” 🙂

    8. My cousins are twins. As a kid, I always teased them for being short as everyone else in the family is on the tall side (including both their parents). I used to tell them they were short because they were really one person and they had to divide their height. I thought they were lucky though. I think being a twin would be fun!

    9. Lucie

      Two of my cousins had twins – a set of two boys and a set of boy and girl. I’ve always thought twins were neat.

    10. LeeAnn

      Quads! Oh my! Feeding time and diaper changing time will be a handful.

      We have twins in the family but that is way back. No twins since. I do have twin sister in laws, and there were several twins in that family line. Hoping the saying is true and if it skips a generation the next one will have twins. I would become a grandmother of twins! What fun.

    11. Patti


      My dear Mom had twin brothers. I lost twins they were boys
      and my older daughter also lost twins to early to tell
      whether boys are girls for her. We were both sad but guess
      God knew best. God bless Patti in VA

    12. Alice Mary

      Multiple musings....

      On my Dad’s side of the family, there were 2 sets of twins born–one set to his brother (2 boys) and later to his sister (2 boys, though one was stillborn).

      I don’t know how true it is, but like Lee Ann, I was always told twins skip a generation (which would mean my kids might be “doubly blessed.”) So far, I have only one grandchild, though I sure hope she’ll have a sibling (or two) in a couple of years!

      I laughed at Karen H.’s comment about the height (short) of her twin cousins! 🙂 I’ll have to remember that one!

      Alice Mary

    13. My uncle and his wife raised four sets of twins in a family of 15 children. I think genetically twins usually skip a generation. I don’t know whether my aunt and uncle’s grandchildren are having twins or not.


    14. Joan

      I have boy/girl twins and my girl twin has fraternal girl twins. Contrary to popular opinion, twins do not necessarily skip a generation.

      Joan in NY

    15. Carolyn B

      I’m a singleton who loves twin stories but quadruplets—oh goodness, poor tired Mama.

      God bless that family.

    16. Mary

      Oh wow, I can’t imagine! I’ve always said that the most exciting thing about twins is the IDEA, and not the REALITY! I’d love to hear what their names are.

      1. Mary, if you’re wondering about the names of my cousins:

        Ella and Alva
        Mary and Melvin
        Mervin and Ervin
        Alta and Alma

        I also meant to mention that I knew someone in Wayne County who was my “twin” (born the same day and year, but in a different family). I looked her up once when I was a young mother. She had eight children in three years: first a set of triplets, and then quintuplets. I don’t remember their names.

        Oy! I cannot even imagine! I was afraid of having twins… any more than that sounds like torture by sleep deprivation.

        1. Mary

          Saloma, Are quintuplets 5 babies!!? I can’t imagine! Were you raised in Wayne Co? I grew up there.

          1. Yes, Mary, quintuplets are five babies. The mother looked pretty worn out… when I visited them, the triplets were 8 and the quintuplets were 5.

            I grew up in Geauga County, north and east of Wayne County.


            1. Patti

              QUINTS ETC

              I think we would all be worn out with that many children at same time. I use to babysit twins and lol they wore me out and only had them few hours compared to day in and day out. Patti in VA

        2. For any who missed it we also had a post on a different sort of “twin” which is what Saloma is talking about here:


    17. Marilyn from MI

      My mother was a twin, my husband has two sets of twin brothers and one of those twins has a set of twin boys, and one of his nephews (not a twin) has a set of twin girls. Our son has triplets, two girls and one boy.

    18. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      A Handful

      No, I can honestly say I never wished for a twin when I was a kid.

      My sibling and I did everything together and we where one year and eleven or so months separated. We have cousins in British Columbia who are twins, and we knew twins who lived up the road from us growing up.

      As for the number of children I would like when I find a nice girl and get hitched I’d feel blessed with just one healthy kid. I heard a lady I know quip the other day “we’re going IVF” she and her husband.
      Another person questioned her “What’s that?”
      “Expensive.” She sharply replied and then noted the price.

      But on these new Amish kids, I hope TLC stays away from them and the family. God bless them.

    19. Joanne C.

      I am the mother of twin daughters and my third daughter, who was a singleton, is the mother of twins so they definately don’t skip a generation. Both my husband and I have twins in our background or so we’ve heard.

    20. OldKat

      Only one set of twins ...

      There is only one set of twins in my family. My niece, my brothers daughter, has twin girls who are seniors in high school this year. We know of no other twins in our family besides them and her husband said that he knows of no twins in his family either. There are probably some back there on one side or the other, but apparently it is way back there.

    21. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Born to Amos

      The wording of the birth announcement, or at least this entry suddenly struck me. It is curious to me that the mother’s name is nowhere to be seen in the quoted part of The Diary. I do understand that historically even “we English” would announce births similarly; “Warsaw and Boston Wesner entered the world on July 1, 2012 to Mrs. Erik Wesner” [I chose to use two city names because that seems to be a trend within the last 10-15 years among we English, though (perhaps for good reason) the name “Warsaw” hasn’t caught on for either a boy or a girl, and I chose to use Erik’s name because he hosts this blog and people who visit are periodically, once in a blue moon, fascinated by his love life].
      The proud mother isn’t named in the article. Is Amish life that patriarchal that men are still the ones to which births are credited, or is it just the conservatism of the parents at work, do you think? It just struck me as interesting.

      1. Shom it’s actually just typical for Amish to refer to families in this way, by the name of the husband. The Jake Hershbergers or the Amos Riehls for example.

        In the actual birth announcement section, mothers names are listed too.

        1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

          In fairness I didn’t see that. Thanks for the clarity.

          1. Sure thing Shom, it is a good question. And by the way I was not aware of the city-naming trend. I’d agree “Warsaw” might make an odd choice, even if you’re in Poland 🙂

    22. Linda

      a rare family

      My aunt in Missouri had a pair of twin girls. Near their 17th birthday, she had twins again (a boy and a girl). The surprise is she had no children between her two sets of twins.

    23. Linda Northern Illinois

      My Netherlands Grandmother and Grandfather had two sets of twins. Nine boys and one girl total.
      No twins that I know of on my Mother’s Mennonite heritage.
      Grandchildren had two sets of twins, however, they were lost in utero.
      They always say; God knows best.

    24. angie

      We have twins in every generation back to the mid1800s. Except for my kids’. We are waiting to see which cousin ends up with twins.

    25. Katrina

      Multiple Births in my family too

      My great-grandmother had 16 kids. Five sets of twins, one set of triplets, and three singles. My brother and SIL have twins. My sister and I seem to have not inherited the “multiple-birth” gene.