Although a lot of people tuned in to the Duggar family's older shows (19 Kids and Counting, plus other variations as the family grew to that point!), they've earned more attention than ever as the eldest children move out of the family home and get married.
Now that so many of the Duggar kids are adults who are growing their own families, there is more interest than ever in their lives. Of course, the family was pretty interesting long before the cameras started rolling, though.
And while reality TV didn't document the first dozen children's births or the family's origins in a small home that was barely enough for the first three kiddos, there is photographic evidence of the kids' upbringing!
Michelle and Jim Bob did a better job than most parents of capturing their kids' adorable moments, starting with the oldest Duggar boy, Josh. He might have five kids of his own today, but it's been a long road getting there!
They've grown a lot over the years, so in some snapshots, they're nearly unrecognizable. That said, here's a collection of 25 photos of the Duggar kids as they grew up, from baby number one all the way to modern times and the youngest of the clan!
20 The First Taste Of Twins
While Josh was the Duggars' oldest child, things were pretty typical for Michelle and Jim Bob with their first son. They had decided they were ready to start a family and welcomed Joshua in 1988. But in 1990, twins Jana and John-David were born, giving the family their first taste of twins!
And while some of Michelle's deliveries were at home, the twins were born in the hospital. Overall, Michelle has had a variety of birth experiences, but most of them were not quite as eventful as the ones TLC captured on the family's reality show. Back when she had her second and third babies, the only camera on Michelle was Jim Bob's!
19 Three Under Two: Where It All Started
Looking at this photo of a toddler Josh and infant twins Jana and John-David, fans of the family can now see where the next generation gets their looks from! It's safe to say that the Duggar family genes are pretty strong, even if most of the babies seem to look alike for the first few months.
And although a lot of fans are familiar with the giant, sprawling 7,000-square-foot home the Duggar clan resides in today, back in the 1990s, the family was living a little more modestly. It wasn't until 2000 that the giant house's construction started, so Michelle and Jim Bob were living pretty cozy with their three kiddos in the early years!
18 Welcoming The Fifth Child Just Two Years Later
Yep, that's baby Jessa! And unsurprisingly, she's the only unrecognizable face in this throwback family photo. By this time, you can already tell who Josh is, plus the twins Jana and John-David, and Jill is featured as well. It's almost uncanny how much the little girls look like their nieces in the photos, and here again we can see how strong the family genes are!
By this point, the family was still living under the radar. Throughout the '90s, the Duggar family businesses included a used-car business, towing and real estate activities, and dabbling in politics (though Jim Bob's work in the House of Representatives didn't start until 1999).
17 And Jinger Makes Six
By the time baby Jinger came along in 1993, the Duggars were likely outgrowing their modest home! And for those who have watched the older episodes of 19 Kids and Counting or its earlier incarnations, these were likely the times when Michelle developed her most frugal habits.
The family spoke a lot about shopping second-hand, perusing thrift shops, reusing what they could, favoring hand-me-downs, and even turning to DIY methods for household products. For example, Michelle is famous for her baby wipe trick; she used rolls of paper towels mixed with a baby soap solution for wipes rather than purchasing store-bought.
16 The Duggars & Bates Have Been Friends Forever
No, the Duggars didn't have that many kids yet in 1995. This photo features the Bates and Duggar clans back before either had 19 kiddos. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell which children belong to which clan! And the Bates family wound up welcoming just as many children as the Duggars, seemingly stopping at 19.
Throughout the Duggar family's fame, the Bates were frequently shown on their show, and at one point, the Duggars helped the Bates renovate the family home. Even then, there were whispers of blending the two families through marriage, but as of yet, none of the kids have paired off yet!
15 And Cousin Amy Was A Staple, Too
Although Jana, Jill, and Jessa are adorable in their matching dresses, cousin Amy's hair is really stealing the show here. But in modern times, cousin Amy is more like a parental figure to the kids, tagging along on family road trips and dropping by for some shopping with the girls who are now moms themselves.
Of course, back when the Duggar family's show was in its early years, Amy was featured often on the program. Many sources now suggest that Amy is feuding with the family, as she wasn't spotted at Jinger's wedding to Jeremy Vuolo. But the cousins later attended Amy's boutique store opening, so it looks like family bonds are forever.
14 The Little Girls Had Big Personality
By the time TLC picked the family up, the eldest girls were already tweens and older. But this throwback highlights how big their personalities were, even then. Just look at Jinger's grin, Jill cuddling her siblings (most likely little brothers Joseph and Josiah), and Jessa looking like she's mid-laugh.
If critics of the family's show noticed how demure the girls, in particular, seemed on the show, their throwback childhood pictures tell a different story. Plus, now that the older girls are married, they're branching out and doing things like wearing jeans and riding dirtbikes! We knew their fun-loving spirits were in there somewhere.
13 Jana Has Always Doted On Her Siblings
While all of the Duggar girls, in particular, are very tender toward their siblings, it started young with Jana. In this photo from 1996, she's feeding her little brother Josiah, who was just a couple of months old at that point. Josiah is the family's eighth child, which most of us can hardly imagine managing. But the Duggars would go on to more than double their family size less than 10 years later.
And even now, Jana is one of the few older siblings who remain at home. She's the only Duggar lady who reached the age of 25 without welcoming a kiddo, and so far, there have only been rumors about potential courtships for the doting sister.
12 Then Added A Few More...
Honestly, it's tough to create a timeline of the Duggars' childhoods because a lot of the kids are so close together in age. However, there's no shortage of cute (and color-coordinated) family photos to enjoy. If you were one of the viewers who started watching their show on TLC, you might recall this snapshot of when there were "only" 16 Duggar progeny.
Back then, all the younger towheaded boys were practically identical, and it was all riding bikes and swinging from tire swings in the backyard. These days, the kids are way more mature, helping their families around the house and starting their own professional lives, too.
11 Everyone Knew Jill Would Be A Great Mom
Fans of the family's show know that Michelle relied a lot on her older girls while the younger ones were little. She had a buddy system where older siblings would help out younger ones, and the ladies in the family were always up for the challenge. Naturally, we knew Jill would be a great mom one day, and it all started back when she was an awkward teen.
Sure, these days we see Jill mothering her own kiddos (she has Israel and Samuel so far!), snapping pics for IG, and earning her Certified Professional Midwife certification! Clearly, her love for kiddos and her family has shaped her life to this day.
10 Joy-Anna Was Just A Tot When Mackynzie Arrived
Although Joy-Anna is enjoying the spotlight these days due to her marriage to Austin Forsyth and the arrival of their baby Gideon, back when the first Duggar grandchild arrived, Joy-Anna was a mere tween — she was only 11! And thanks to the Duggars' buddy system, by which they raised their own kiddos, it seems like Joy-Anna was totally ready to babysit her little niece.
This one is a throwback of first Duggar grandbaby Mackynzie, too; these days, Mackynzie is a big sister to four younger siblings and runs with the 'pack' of younger Duggar kiddos, including Josie, Jordyn, and Jennifer.
9 Joy-Anna Enjoyed Cake With Mom And Dad, Too
With so many birthdays to plan for (and remember in the first place), we can imagine Jim Bob and Michelle got really tired of cake. But here's Joy-Anna enjoying birthday sweets with mom and dad, a snap that fans of the TLC show might remember. To most of us, Joy-Anna is more familiar as an awkward tween than a married mama!
What's sort of funny about this image is Joy-Anna is showing her tomboyish side, with the nondescript t-shirt. And fans love this about Joy all the more now that she's being filmed renovating her home with her hubby and getting out and enjoying nature.
8 Endearing Birthday Moments Were A Big Part Of Growing Up
With so many of the older siblings leaving the nest, that likely means younger kids like Jackson got to spend more time with mom and dad than the older kids. And for Jackson, that meant a special birthday dessert with just a few siblings. And as he enters his teens (Jackson is the 15th Duggar kiddo and turned 14 in 2018), he'll no doubt have even more room to spread his wings in the expansive (and emptier) Duggar family home.
At the same time, he's not on camera much, since the new reality show centers on the older (married) siblings' lives. But fans did get to watch Jackson grow from a precocious preschooler into a respectable teen!
7 Baby Josie's Arrival Marked A Turning Point
For years, the Duggar kids were always "surprised" by mom and dad's announcement of another sibling to join the brood. But with the arrival of baby Josie, the family was welcoming its final member. After Josie was born premature and experienced many health issues while growing up, it became clear that if Michelle and Jim Bob tried for another baby, things could get worse.
They did wind up pregnant with baby number 20, but that child did not survive. Therefore, Josie's arrival became even more significant as she would be the last biological child that Jim Bob and Michelle would have — emphasis on biological!
6 And We Can't Forget About Jana
Jana has also been a mom-in-training for just as long as her now-married sisters, but as yet, she's the only one of the of-age girls to not be wed. Back when Josie came home after a long stay in the hospital, Jana was one of the girls who was front-and-center when Josie experienced health issues.
Alongside Michelle and her sisters, Jana helped care for Josie through breathing challenges and even seizures. These days, Josie is much healthier, but Jana is still at home with her siblings, helping to run the household while enjoying her own hobbies and personal growth pursuits.
5 19 Kids And... Done?
When it first aired, TLC's show about the Duggars was titled differently. At one point it was focused on how many kids the family had, plus the fact that Michelle was pregnant. Then, it became 17 Kids and Counting, 18 Kids and Counting, and then what we know it as today.
The show might have been called 19 Kids & Counting, but Jim Bob and Michelle did complete their family with their 19th child. They did go on to attempt a 20th, but their daughter Jubilee was born sleeping in 2011. After that, Michelle noted that she and Jim Bob would continue to follow God's path with growing their family, whether that meant more children or not.
4 They May Have Stopped At 19, But There's An Extra Kiddo
These days, things have quieted down at the Duggar house quite a bit. After all, eight of the older Duggars have married and left the nest. But that doesn't mean Jim Bob and Michelle are necessarily done adding to their brood! They've welcomed another child into their family, but there's a bit of mystery surrounding his presence in family photos.
The boy featured in many of the family's photos is Tyler Hutchins, who was born in 2008. According to Jim Bob Duggar's Wikipedia page, the couple adopted the child, who is Michelle's great-nephew. Apparently, Tyler's mom is a woman named Rachel, Michelle's niece. But really, what's one more, right?
3 The Younger Kids Are On Their Own
Although this is an older snapshot of the 'little' Duggars, it showcases what many fans already know: the Duggar home has changed a lot in recent years! Not only are there fewer kids living there, but things have also relaxed a bit when it comes to what the family wears and how the kids behave.
Clearly, the addition of shorter dresses (and leggings underneath) is a fashion move forward for the littlest Duggar ladies. The family is still strict with their modesty standards, but it also seems like they've loosened the reins a bit as their children leave the nest and the younger ones earn more freedom, too.
2 But Dad Makes Time For Them
Jim Bob and Michelle still have 11 kids at home to care for, plus 12 grandkids (with more on the way), so they're pretty busy overall. But out of the 11 who are still at home, the older ones are fairly self-sufficient. So the youngest ones (pictured here, Josie, Jordyn, Jennifer, Johannah, and Jackson) tend to hang out with their parents in smaller numbers.
Adopted kiddo Tyler is also included in this count, as he fits right in between Jordyn and Josie, the two youngest biological kiddos in the clan. Just imagine though: Jim Bob can now take the younger kids out somewhere without needing multiple passenger vans to accommodate everyone!
1 That Time Michelle Said She'd Love More Kids
Even after welcoming 19 children (plus a "bonus" kiddo), Michelle had told The Today Show that she was totally open to having more. She is likely done having biological children, but there is always the possibility of adoption, right? Just like they've done with Michelle's great-nephew, the family can open their home to other children in need, if they happen to find that it's their calling.
And hey, fans wouldn't be opposed to another reboot of Kids and Counting, even if it turns out the number far exceeds 20! Because at the end of the day, Counting On just isn't enough Duggars for all of their fans.
Sources: TLC, Celebrity Insider, Duggar Family Blog