You see 5 children, two boy, three girls. On the left is the oldes boy, next is the oldest girl. Next is a girl, than a boy again and finally a girl. They are on the floor and they are looking to the photographer. All children are smiling.
You see 5 children, two boy, three girls. On the left is the oldes boy, next is the oldest girl. Next is a girl, than a boy again and finally a girl. They are on the floor and they are looking to the photographer. All children are smiling.

20 Children of Johann Sebastian Bach


Not a single child of Johann Sebastian Bach lived in what is now the Bach House in Eisenach in Thuringia. Not even in Eisenach. You can find out why here.


The question of how many children Johann Sebastian Bach actually had can be found here and there on the internet, and you will also find wrong answers here and there. That's just the way it is on the internet. You find a lot of answers, but you always have to check carefully what is correct. And what is not. 20 children is correct. And what you must not confuse – in fact this happened to me while writing the two websites about JSB – is the difference between the number of Bach's siblings and the number of Bach's children. By the way, these two websites are Bach über Bach with 50 language versions and the English variant Bach on Bach.


So, very close together, so that you can remember it well: Johann Sebastian Bach was the eighth of eight children of Johann Ambrosius Bach. So that were eight siblings. But Johann Sebastian Bach himself had 20 kids. Difference clear? He was the eighth child, he himself had twenty.


What is somewhat strange is how many children died early back then, that is, in their first year of life, or even at birth. Or they never grew up. Of course, not everyone grows up today, and many children still die: fewer in the highly technological countries, more in the developing countries. But back then it was different. With his first wife Maria Barbara – by the way, a cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach, but a second cousin, so she was called Bach before marriage and Bach after marriage – Johann Sebastian Bach had seven children. Of these, three died before their mother also died unexpectedly at the age of only 35, before Johann Sebastian returned home from a business trip.


At that time people had married much more often because a woman became pregnant or because a daughter had to be taken care of, or several children at once and what other reasons there were. If the wife died after some children were born, then these men very often married again very soon, so that the children and the household were again better "provided for". Many Bach biographers thought that Johann Sebastian also remarried for this very reason. One biographer, however, believes that it was quite different with Bach, and he thinks that, firstly, a long18 months – that's how much time Bach and his second wife took – does not indicate that it was about a "new" mother for the children. Second, Johann Sebastian's second wife, Anna Magdalena, was also a well-known singer and earned her own good salary at the same princely court as Bach. And finally, after a year and a half, Bach's kids had certainly long since become accustomed to a household without a mother and had organized their daily lives better and better. I think this one Bach biographer was right: Love was the reason for a second marriage.


With Anna Magdalena Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach had 13 more children. But again, more than half of them died before they were adults. So it was a very different life compared to what we – that is, at least most of you – know today. So back to the Bach's: Every few years one of the siblings died, and Anna Magdalena was also pregnant "practically around the clock" for the first few years. You could actually calculate that. At the FAQ and in the profile you can find all birthdates: One is pregnant for nine months and whoever writes to me first – and proves how many years and how many months Anna Magdalena was pregnant from her marriage with Johann Sebastian Bach until the birth of her last child and how many months she wasn't, will be "immortalized" here – if you want to with your name – for all times. Why I do not calculate this for you?


I used to be the fastest at math. But ... it was just always wrong. And whether I got stuck once or twice is absolutely not revealed here.


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