In the old days, like the 1800s or so, medicine wasn't very good and people had a lot of children knowing a number would die and wanting to have some that would live. Men married women who looked like they could bear many strong children. My mother came from a family of 12 children, plus two miscarriages which would have been 14 children otherwise. The funny thing is, my mother's family is so close and they really functioned as a tribe and always had each other's backs and the backs of each other's children. I don't know how it came out that way, but the Gaviolas (my mom's family) is the most loving family ever and when they are together talking of their childhood they are always laughing about pranks they did, etc. I don't know why my grandparents had so many children, but none of the children were troubled. In fact, the naughtiest of them all became an Catholic archbishop. Also, there was no birth control then, that could also explain the large families. But if one thing was proven, large families are really capable of being very happy and providing a good, strong support system that endures through the years.