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Seven of Nine

August 21, 2008

I am the seventh child of nine. Star Trekkies chuckle a dorky chortle when I tell them this fact. Anyone else doesn’t blink (well, except to say whoa that’s a big family). It’s turned out to be a good geek-filter…when it comes to first impressions, telling someone you are seven of nine can actually reveal quite a lot about a person. (Note: I have not made any direct judgments about geeks–I have only stated that it helps me locate the geeks).

Anyway, I stumbled onto a fact that interested me a while ago:

Jane Austen was also a seventh child.

It got me wondering who else was a seventh? (First, second, and even third children can’t play this game, since their kind is too common. Hey–I wonder what the mathematical formula is for decreasing chances of being a 2nd, 3rd, etc and in my case 7th child?)

At any rate, here are the other seventh children I’ve found:


Thomas Edison

Michael Jackson

Robert Francis Kennedy

William McKinley

Emma Hale Smith

Lyman Frank Baum (Author of the Wizard of Oz books)

James Oglethorpe (“Founder of Georgia”)

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Malcolm X

Lou Brock

Ann Bridge (Author)

Betty Rogers (wife of Will Rogers)

John Paul Wieczorek (fiction–Ender’s Dad)

And last but most certainly not least,

Donny Osmond!! : )

Other Seventh Children: (Not of nine, just seventh children)

(in no particular order, except that many of the ones toward the end I’d never heard of, haha)

Ginny Weasley (This link includes some pretty fun folklore about seventh children–I had no idea I was so special!) ; )

James Craig — Lord Craigavon (Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (Incidentally, I lived in Craigavon N. Eire for 6 months during my mission)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Henry Moore (who is best known for his sculptures, and whose art I have always loved–but my favorite are his drawings of Londoners seeking safety in the Underground during WW2. Incidentally, these drawings were turned into exquisite hand-woven tapestries, which I saw (along with many of his sculptures and drawings) (I know it’s bad form to have parentheses within parentheses, but I’m too lazy to make this sentence work any other way) at the Henry Moore estate 3 years ago woven by none other than West Dean students)

Elizabeth Elie was a seventh child born in the seventh hour on the seventh day of the seventh month in the seventh year…which is just plain cool

Roger Joseph Boscovich

Anne Howard

Charles William Siemens

Chris O’Donnell (who currently has 5 children of his own–which discovery has suddenly made me like him quite a lot)

Michael Keaton

Le Ly Hayslip

Jose Rizal

Theodore Sedgwick

Jesse Owens

Thomas Henry Huxley

Abigail Powers Fillmore

Shirley Bassey

Robert Herrick

Roberto Clemente

James McIndoo

Bettina von Arnim

Jacob Bolotin (A blind doctor!)

Berry Gordy (Founder of Motown record labels)

Emmeline B Wells

Robert Herrick


This is what I have found. Maybe someday I’ll actually read some of these links and learn about these people : ) Let me know if you know of any more!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2008 1:36 pm

    Found your blog on your facebook page and I am so happy! I love the thought of Lili!

    I think it IS very special to be the seventh of nine children! I love the list of people and think that you are among the company of many interesting people! (and wow, who knew that Chris O’Donnell had 5 children?!? I LOVE it! If I recall, he also married his high school sweetheart who is a kindergarten teacher…sounds very grounded)

  2. August 21, 2008 3:20 pm

    I feel, um, located.
    I wouldn’t’ve pegged you as a Star Trek fan, but I did chortle.

  3. Carly permalink
    August 21, 2008 3:22 pm

    I’m really glad you included Ginny Weasley. She was the first one that popped into my head. Because of Harry Potter, I know how special seventh children are. Lucky you! :)

  4. Lili permalink*
    August 21, 2008 3:27 pm

    LOL, I’m not a Star Trek fan–but when you are seven of nine, people make sure you know the significance of it. So while I’m not a fan, I do know the lingo–or at least this one reference, b/c I’m chortled at on a regular-ish basis. (Well, okay–I did watch one particularly good season of Star Trek the Next Generation when I was quite a young lass–you know the episode where it turns out that they’ve time traveled so that their enemy wouldn’t have to destroy them, but then all these clues begin to appear, like Warf’s arm having been broken but no recollection of the incident, and only Data knew what had happened but wasn’t able to tell Captain Picard what happenend–because Captain Picard commanded him not to? That was a cool episode. It’s also the only episode/plot of Star Trek that I remember). ;)

  5. Tracey permalink
    August 21, 2008 3:42 pm

    actually Donny Osmond is 7 of 9, Tom, Virl, Alan, Wayne, Merril, Jay 7th DONNY, Marie and Jimmy

  6. Lili permalink*
    August 21, 2008 3:51 pm

    Hmm, I thought he was seven of nine, too–but one site said he was seven of ten…so I didn’t include him… I’m checking the sites again, and you must be right. Sweet Donny is 7 of 9 like me! I’ll fix it. Thanks for the tip.

  7. zstitches permalink
    August 21, 2008 6:58 pm

    A couple days ago I was thinking about birth order theories — you know, the ones that say that you’re more likely to have certain traits if you’re in a certain sequence of your family (like how 2nd children are often the type to have their “sensors out” and be very aware of the emotions of those around them, 1st children are likely to be achievers and follow their parents’ interests, but if they rebel they’re likely to rebel on a grander scale than a kid lower down the chain — I even remember reading once that you should never try to push a third child to make a decision since they like to keep their options open, and I actually found that advice very helpful with one of my mission companions who was a third child.) Oh, and middle children are supposed to be more of listeners than talkers and very independent (like Suzy and Dean.) ANYWAY, I was saying to Dean that I wondered what happens to the birth order theories once you’re talking about the 8th-of-9-children, etc. I think what got me thinking about it was that I was watching Henry and thinking that he has some youngest-child traits (highly-developed sense of humor (I don’t know if that one’s in the boooks, but I’ve formed that opinion about youngest kids,) a bit of a performer, etc., and suddenly I wondered what happens to his youngest-child traits once he gets younger siblings. (For that matter, does the oldest child get all the traits and then they get diffused through the younger kids?)

    Obviously birth order theories are descriptive rather than predictive, and always susceptible to lots of exceptions,but I think they are fun and maybe a little more accurate than, say, astrology.

    That’s a pretty cool list of people you share the 7/9 trait with. (BTW I have no idea what the Star Trek reference is — I must be too close to the front end of the family to have caught that one?) Sadly I think that you will share the distinction with fewer and fewer people as time goes on — or at least most of the people you share it with will have come from the Middle East or from very very observant Catholic families.

    (By the way, throughout most of my mission most people I met had never known a family as large as mine in the same generation (they knew of families that large a couple generations ago) but then there was this one neighborhood in the outskirts of Dunkerque — I never got to spend as much time there as I’d have liked, but when we had to take the bus out there a couple of times and I’d talk to people and say I was one of nine, they’d say, “Me too,” or, “Oh, yeah, I’m one of twelve.” It was very very cool and VERY anomalous. I always assumed it was because there were a lot of devout Catholics in that area, but I’d love to know more about how that came about (like if the whole neighorhood had started out as immigrants from somewhere else, and where that would have been.)

  8. Jill permalink
    August 21, 2008 11:37 pm

    This post looks suspiciously like ‘thesis avoidance’.

  9. Lili permalink*
    August 21, 2008 11:41 pm

    Lol– to the highest degree. In my defense, the bulk of the “research” was done about a month ago (which was still thesis avoidance)–but yes, the actual presenting of it…total procrastination. And I knew that posting it is red-handing myself. Ah well… There’s always tomorrow ;)

  10. Carli permalink
    August 23, 2008 7:27 pm

    You are too funny! I must admit you have a wonderful family of nine! It was really great to see and visit you while you were in town. I love getting together with your sisters when we get a break from our kids (or with them).

  11. Lili permalink*
    August 26, 2008 7:34 pm

    Zina– You win the longest comment award. :) Interesting what you say about childbirth order theories… I have to say I’ve always wondered on that myself, and I’ve always been a bit bummed the theories seem to break down after three or four. I can pretty much only speak from my own experience, which isn’t a very big statistical pool. But I have noticed that I tended/tend to group myself with the youngest three (don’t they say that large families tend to group themselves into/identify with smaller groups?), though I also definitely identify myself as the youngest sister. I know that growing up, one role I tended to fall into was the “I’m okay” role. Since other kids had drama going on, I tended to not ask for much nor give much trouble–to the point that I didn’t really know how to ask for help or attention when I did need it. (At least, in some ways–you’ll laugh and say I demanded plenty of attention, which is probably also true but justifiable). I also see pics of myself as a very young child, and it’s obvious from my face that I loved having lots of older and accomplished siblings who would include me in their games and schemes.

    So, very young: I did like attention, and I didn’t like change–would throw tantrums if I was distraught or change came my way without warning. Bigtime cautious–didn’t like adventure or thrill-seeking.

    Young adolescence: “I’m allright.” Worked hard to be more spontaneous and embrace change. I also worked through a lot of problems and questions through writing, prayer and introspection. (someone in the blog segullah talked about how they weren’t a squeaky wheel–that resonated with me. Yes, I was talkative, but I was well behaved)

    But anyway. I don’t know how much of this is role-oriented, and how much is just my temperament. I can say that Robert Kennedy said “I was the seventh of nine children, and when you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive.” But I’m not so sure. There’s an element of benefiting from older siblings’ “mistakes,” but there’s also an element where peers and leaders compared me to my brilliant older siblings, and I felt expectations to know how to find my way (when a lot of the time, I pretended to be capable, but was actually clueless–example, what classes to take in high school and how to prepare for university…I was clueless…)

    As per the I will be finding fewer and fewer big families as time goes by, I did think it interesting that 2 of the 7/9ers I found were LDS…and I had the same thought as you, that the number of seventh children is only going to decline. Over here, I don’t meet a lot of folks from huge families. One of my Dutch schoolmates comes from a family of 5 or 6 kids, and I also find that when I interact with Africans, they’re less startled by the size of my family than the English. I always feel like I’ve found a friend when I learn that someone comes from a big family.

    Oh, and if you click the “star trekkies” link in the first paragraph, it will enlighten you to the “seven of nine” reference.

  12. August 27, 2008 5:30 pm

    As per Robert Kennedy and survival, Mr. Joseph Kennedy was notorious for pitting his children against one another. Definitely a sink or swim family.

    As per you, what amazing company you find yourself in. I shall have to research if 9th children of 9 are ever illustrious, or if I am doomed to ignomy…

  13. Lili permalink*
    August 27, 2008 5:40 pm

    Jimmy Osmond is a lot of folks’ favorite Osmond ;)

  14. zstitches permalink
    August 27, 2008 5:55 pm

    Donny Osmond is a lot *more* folks’ favorite Osmond. And there are no 9/9 Star Trek characters. (However, a lot of my favorite people are youngest kids (and see my earlier-expressed bias about their having a good sense of humor.)

  15. zstitches permalink
    August 27, 2008 5:56 pm

    Because I hate to open myself up to being wrong about anything (knowingly,) I have to say that of course, technically, 7 of 9’s little group included 1/9, 2/9, etc. all the way through to 9/9 — I just meant she’s the only one of them to get much air-time.

  16. Lili permalink*
    August 27, 2008 6:50 pm

    So I just was a way bad girl and wasted an hour researching 9/9 for thebutteredslice…
    Turns out WAY more famous people turn up under the search “youngest of nine.” Perhaps 7 of 9 is more anonymos–it’s easier to remember if someone is the youngest? Anyway, turns out Spen shares company with scads of musicians, including Richard Wagner, Marky Mark, one of the New Kids on the Block (did I just put Richard Wagner and Marky Mark in the same category?!), Dizzy Gillespie, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Osmond (as already mentioned–oh, and btw Z, Jimmy was HUGE here in the UK, and he was the first of all the Osmonds to go Gold…long haired lover from liverpool…how could they not love the chubby dimpled boy?)

    I finally had to just quit, I was finding so many. I expect him to blog about the findings, and then to post a link here. :D

  17. Lili permalink*
    August 27, 2008 6:58 pm

    Since I’m sure you were just dying to know this trivia…

    “Jimmy may have been the last Osmond to join the group but he was the first to go gold in Japan, when he was only seven, with My Little Darling which he astonished me by singing in Japanese.

    His gold record was the first of six before the age of ten. Long Haired Lover From Liverpool was the Christmas No 1 in this country [UK] in 1972 and he remains our youngest-ever chart-topper.”
    (sorry, I don’t know how to embed links on comments)

  18. UnkieJas permalink
    September 8, 2008 7:48 pm

    Don’t forget Marian Huntington, although she’s seven of only eight. On the other hand, wasn’t John a twin in the womb?

  19. the MomB permalink
    September 9, 2008 8:50 pm

    John a twin in the womb? Wow, I never heard that one. Oh. You were joking?

    Michael Keaton is another 7th child (tho’ not of 9). In his early days when he was first showing up on The Tonight Show etc., I always remember him deflecting compliments by saying “But you should hear my older sisters–everybody in my family is funnier than me.”

  20. Lili permalink*
    September 9, 2008 8:57 pm

    Sweet, I’ll update it. And yeah. The John thing was news to me, too. You _were_ joking, right UnkieJas?

  21. Charles Boisseau permalink
    January 20, 2009 8:01 pm

    Interesting coincidence: Three of those famous 7 of 9s were assassinated: RFK, Malcom X and Wm. McKinley.

  22. Lili permalink*
    January 21, 2009 9:50 am

    Wow Charles, very interesting observation. And Emma Hale wasn’t assassinated, but her husband was…

    (my brother says to me: “don’t go into politics!”)

  23. Charles Boisseau permalink
    January 21, 2009 10:04 pm

    Lilli: I’m getting obsessed with this now — another seven of nine is Lou Brock, famous major league baseball player. You know about him? One of the all-time best base stealers, had more than 3,000 hits and voted to the Hall of Fame.

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