Animals in Family History

We often think of and treat our pets as members of the family

Growing up part of my enjoyment in going to visit my grandparents was not just in seeing my grandparents but enjoying the chance to spend time with the giant collie dog, Tramp, they had the entire time I was growing up

He was a magnificent beast and I’m sure that when news finally went through the family grape vine that he had crossed over that rainbow bridge there were more than a few of us who shed a quiet tear over his loss.

He was not a pet he was family

As an adult I am animal lover. I have a house full of critters. My senior mini dachshund has traveled more than a lot of humans I know.

He’s 13, half blind and has trouble getting around but if he sees me packing a travel bag, he’s the first one at the car ready to go.

He has been a part of the family longer than my youngest child.

He is in countless family photos over the years showing how he’s aged as children grew.

Long after he is gone Oscar will still be a topic of family conversations and memories because he’s more than a pet. He’s family and has earned his place in the pages of family history.

My mother and her siblings and cousins will reminisce about their childhood and while I’m not sure anyone has agreed what type of dog “Tippy” was, I know each of those kids enjoyed that dog.

For the record while I consider Oscar my fur kid I will not be adding him to the family tree.

What do family pets have to do with family history?

Pets make a great topic starter.

If a family group had a beloved childhood pet, it’s a good place to break the conversation ice to get people strolling down memory lane for interviews.

Another way that family pets can be very useful in family history is when it comes to dating photographs.

Pets have shorter life spans so if you have a photo with a certain pet pictured then it can be a useful tool for narrowing down a date range.

Have any animals played an important part in your family history?

Throwback Thursday

I decided a few old photos would be a good way to fill the void while I continue working on my latest blog.  These are some of my favorites.

Barefoot and Bearing Serpents

This photo strikes me as interesting because it is a 4 generation family photo.  The old lady in the back right is Jennie Osborn Brown and she is surrounded by 3 generations of her descendants.  The man in the black suit is her son, James C. Brown.  The two younger women are his daughters Della and Minnie.  The children are Della and Minnie’s children.

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Early 4 generation photo

It is everything one would expect of a family photo for the time and region at a first glance.  A closer inspection reveals the stick with the large snake dangling from it.  I’m still researching but I don’t think the snake is related.  Unique photo prop to say the least.

Grandpa Needs a Safety Lesson

This second photo is of my paternal Grandfather, Jay Dee Fulkerson Sr.  He died 3 years before I was born so I didn’t know him and know very little about him.  He was killed in a horrible accident.  Despite the unfortunate photo pose, no he did not suffer a firearm injury.  He was cut in half by a malfunctioning street sweeping machine while working for the city of Flint.

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Jay Dee Fulkerson Sr a pose worth a thousand words

Strong Genetics

The final photo is actually of one of my hubby’s paternal ancestors.  This picture actually made me look twice the first time I saw it.  It’s uncanny how much my hubby’s aunt resembles her Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Nancy Penrod (1798-1868).  It’s amazing how strong some physical traits can be.  I enjoy looking at old photos and watching physical characteristics that are passed down generation after generation.

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Nancy Penrod my hubby’s GGGGreat-Grandmother