GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - In a season that celebrates family togetherness, two Alberta grandparents have more to celebrate than most.
Viktor and Aneta Urich of Grande Prairie welcomed the birth of their 100th grandchild earlier this month — newborn Henry Urich, ninth child of Tatjana and Heinrich Urich. Heinrich is one of Viktor and Aneta's 16 children.
How does he keep them all straight?
"Good question," laughs Viktor, 62. "Sometimes when I look, I say 'What's your name?' "
Viktor and Aneta originally come from Kazakstan, in Russia, and have lived in Canada for the last 17 years. All his grandchildren have been born in Canada and he admits Russian names are easier for him to remember than English ones.
But nobody minds when grandpa stumbles a bit over names.
"It's no problem," he chuckles.
The Guinness Book of World Records does not list a record for most grandchildren on its website. Media reports from earlier this year cited a woman from the Philippines who had 107 grandchildren and 138 great-grandchildren.
Most of Urich family lives nearby. But a clan this size has trouble finding a place to get together, Viktor said.
"I live in a small home," he said.
Mostly, they meet up outside in a park or at the local Russian Orthodox Church. That's where they'll congregate at the end of January, to have their first family gathering with the 100th grandchild.
"We will have a party in church, all people together," said Viktor. "We will pray together, a big thank-you to God."