The 20 children of Johann Sebastian Bach

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
Johann Sebastian Bach

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) had a total of 20 children.

He had seven with his first wife, Maria Barbara Bach (who was his 2nd cousin). Four of these children survived to adulthood.

  1. Catharina Dorothea (1708-1774)
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-1784)
  3. Maria Sophia [twin] (1713)
  4. Johann Christoph [twin] (1713)
  5. Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788)
  6. Johann Gottfried Bernhard (1715-1739)
  7. Leopold Augustus (1718-1719)

The other 13 he had with his second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcke. Six survived to adulthood.

  1. Christiana Sophia Henrietta (1723-1726)
  2. Gottfried Heinrich (1724-1763)
  3. Christian Gottlieb (1725-1728)
  4. Elisabeth Juliana Friderica (1726-1781)
  5. Ernestus Andreas (1727)
  6. Regina Johanna (1728-1733)
  7. Christiana Benedicta Louisa (1730)
  8. Christiana Dorothea (1731-1732)
  9. Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-1795)
  10. Johann August Abraham (1733)
  11. Johann Christian (1735-1782)
  12. Johanna Carolina (1737-1781)
  13. Regina Susanna (1742-1800)

Do you like any of these names? If so, which ones?


  • David, Hans T., Arthur Mendel and Christoph Wolff. The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.
  • Schulenberg, David. Bach. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

6 thoughts on “The 20 children of Johann Sebastian Bach

  1. I really like most of the names, but all the repetition makes me wonder what was going on. Were they honoring family members by using certain names over and over, or did the first children with those names not survive infancy? For instance, was Regina Johanna still living when Regina Susanna was born?

  2. I’ve just done a bit more research and added years of death for all the children.

    It does look like names were sometimes recycled if an older child with that name had passed. For instance, the second Regina was named after the first Regina was gone (sorry it took me so long to address that question, Diane!). And the name Christiana was recycled twice: the second Christiana was named after the first Christiana was gone, and the third was named after the second had died.

    The name Johann, on the other hand, was bestowed much more liberally. :) The three later Johanns were all born while the original (#6 on the first list) was still alive.

    It’s curious to me that “Sebastian” was never passed down…

  3. Greatest number of children alive at once was 9. Years when depend on the months. But parts of 1732, 1733, 1737, 1742 and 1763 had 9 alive and all of 1743-1762 (which include the year of Bach’s death, 1750).

  4. If you have bestowed a name twice and both times the child died, I think it might be prudent to just cross that name off the list of options for subsequent children.

    I do find the thought of the various Johanns (+ Johanna) running around at the same time rather amusing. Sort of a George Foreman situation for the 1700s

  5. I have read that a lot of German kids of that era had a first name of Johann, but were known by their second names. (I wasn’t there to verify this) One version I read stated that people close enough to Bach to use a given name, likely addressed him as “Sebastian.”

    This was from only one source of unknown provenance. Anyone know more?

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