Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Family Pet Stories

Saturday has rolled around once again and Randy Seaver has given us a new challenge: Your Family Pet Stories.

1) What were your family pets?  What were their names?  How long did they live?  What stories do you have about them?

Until 2001, I’ve always had at least one pet in the house. As a little girl, we had a dog named Mickey, who I only vaguely remember as she died when I was very young.


Mickey was always Mom’s dog. I don’t know if she had MIckey before my parents married, but my mother adored him. I actually have not one single memory of ever doing anything with Mickey. I don’t remember playing fetch or even petting the dog. I do remember that Mickey’s fur was cream colored with some light brown, as you can see in this photo.

The first pet I fondly remember was Missy, a stray kitten that Nana took in and let me care for. Missy had her fifteen minutes of fame in the summer of 1961:

Thanks to my childhood friend, Howard, who still has this clipping!

The funny thing was the newspaper person got several key facts wrong. Missy was about a year old, she was black and white and she went up a maple tree. Other than that, he got the story right. 🙂

When we moved to Wayne, New Jersey, Missy came along, but the previous owners of our house left behind their two cats – Puff and Pepper. Well, Puff and Missy ended up having litters of four kittens each within a couple of weeks of each other. I got to name them, so they were John, Paul, George and Ringo for one set and Mike, Davy, Mickey and Peter for the second set – the Beatles and the Monkees. However, as soon as they were old enough, they went off to live with new families. My parents weren’t about to have 11 cats. Three were two too many!

My father was a dog person, though, and I don’t know if he knew someone with puppies or if he went to the pound, but Skippy became part of the family.

Skippy was never my favorite pet. She was a sweet dog, but my parents never trained her to obey. We had a big yard and it was completely fenced in, but if a gate was left open or the screen door on the front door wasn’t closed tightly, Skippy would run out and take off around the neighborhood. I have many memories of riding in the car with Dad as he drove around looking for the dog.

Dave and I have had two cats and one dog. Jasper was the first to join the family, as she was being given away by a lady in front of the supermarket. Dave and I had only been married for a couple of weeks.

A year later, we decided that Jasper needed a companion and brought Jenny home. Jasper’s first reaction was to walk over and throw up on Jenny, but they came to love each other.

Jasper and Jenny

Jasper was only 8 when she died of a liver disease, but Jenny lived a long life, dying a few weeks after her 20th birthday.

The cats were happily settled into home life when I fell in love with a puppy at the pet store. She was a Keeshond and they had named her Keesha, which seemed to fit her personality.


The day I brought Keesha home after school, the cats were in the house, as usual. They heard some commotion as the new puppy was excited and checking things out.

Here was Jasper and Jenny’s reaction, way high on top of the stereo hutch:

Not amused!

While Jasper and Jenny learned to tolerate Keesha, they never let her get too friendly. Keesha eventually learned to ignore them because if she ventured too close, she’d be greeted with two loud hisses and a couple of swats to her nose.

Keesha was a true family dog. She loved Dave and me and would happily follow us around and roll over to be petted. She was very loyal – except when my mother came to visit!

Keesha Meeting Mom

Mom spoiled Keesha rotten, from petting her for hours on end to having conversations with her and, best of all for Keesha, being fed people food under the table at meal times. 🙂

From her very first meeting with Mom, Keesha remembered her on each of her yearly visits, running to the door to greet her and promptly forgetting the rest of us!

We had Keesha for 12 fun years. She survived Jasper, but Jenny outlived Keesha.

Although Dave and I both love animals, it’s so very hard saying goodbye and losing them. We haven’t had any pets since Jenny died in 2000.

Thank you, Randy and Janice Sellers, for this week’s challenge.


Centennial Remembrance of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

American Experience: Influenza 1918

Did your family lose any members in the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? Today, we are so used to heading to the doctor when we are under the weather, getting a prescription (or two) and recovering fully from whatever ails us in quick fashion.

Even in the 21st century, the flu isn’t anything to be messed with, but 100 years ago, it caused not an epidemic, but a pandemic that spread around the world.

I have found only one family member, my 2X great grandfather’s brother, Nelson James Adams, who died in the influenza pandemic.

Nelson Adams was 67 years old, came down with the flu in early October 1918 and tried to fight it off for five weeks before succumbing to a combination of flu and pneumonia.

I guess my family was lucky to lose just one member. Many others weren’t so lucky.

PBS created a documentary, as part of its American Experience series: Influenza 1918 that is available on Amazon for less than $15.

Although it was the worst epidemic in U.S. history, the effects were worldwide – 500 million people were stricken – and more people died of the flu than perished in World War I. It is estimated that 20-40 million died.

Since this is the centennial anniversary, if you want to learn more about the 1918 Pandemic, you might want to purchase the PBS DVD. However, here are some free online resources:

Wikipedia Spanish Flu

Stanford University – The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

CDC – History of 1918 Flu Pandemic

Brittanica – Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919

History Channel – Spanish Flu: Facts and Summary

World Health Organization – Test Your Knowledge of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

National Geographic: Flu Pandemic That Killed 50 Million Originated in China, Historians Say

Smithsonian – How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America

Chronicling America – 704 results came up for 1918 influenza

Lastly, if you have access to 1918 – 1919 newspapers published in towns where your family lived, that is probably the best resource to learn about its local effects.

Remembering Nelson James Adams, 1851-1918


Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

The Mystery of Paul Metz, Part I and The Paul Metz Mystery, Part II, both by Amy Cohen on Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

So Who Is He? Part IV AND So Who Is He, Part V, both on Diary of a Young Genealogist

“Gershwin Winner Plays for Meals” by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

The Murder of the First Pikholz Family in Tarnopol by Israel Pickholtz on All My Foreparents

William Sterling Estes and the Backwards Tombstone by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Retraction of Allegations Made Against Maisy Vesque (1913-1969) by Cathy Meder-Dempsey on Opening Doors in Brick Walls

Research Resources

Seaman’s Protection Certificates – An Unusual Source on Kindred Past

Video About the 314th Engineers During World War I by Schalene Dagutis on Tangled Roots and Trees

Finding Ancestors in French Municipal Archives by Jacques Gagné on Genealogy Ensemble

69 Years of ‘Saskatchewan History’ Magazine Online by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Recording the FBI by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Church of Ireland Digitization Project by Donna Moughty on Donna’s Irish Genealogy Resources

A Postcard to the Postcard Site by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

5 Ways I Search the Fulton Newspaper Site by Patricia Greber on My Genealogy Life

Using Cadastral Maps of Galicia by Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz on From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Tech News

How Do I Recover an Old iPhoto Library? by David Murphy on Lifehacker

New Features at DNA Painter by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Synium Software Releases a New Update of MacFamilyTree and Logoist for Macintosh Mojave by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Genetic Genealogy

It’s Time to Stop Giving Attention to “Ethnicity” and Genetic Admixture on An American Genealogy

The Leeds Method by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Family Tree DNA’s PUBLIC Y DNA Haplotree by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy


Inside the Guide: Organizing Your Research by Bob on The Family History Guide Blog

Planning for Genealogy Retirement – Video Recap on Family History Fanatics

Update on My Backlog Busting by Janine Adams on Organize Your Family History

How to Do Genealogy Research in a “Dry County” by Melissa Barker on A Genealogist in the Archives

How to Research Around the 1890 Census Record Loss – Part 3: City Directories by Lisa Lisson on Are You My Cousin?

Quick Tip: Life Events May Create Notarial Records by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Education Is for Everyone

Time to Prepare Questions for Next Week’s #AskAnArchivist Day by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Case Studies in Migration: The Homestead Acts by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

What Is a “fi fa” and Why Is It Important for African American Genealogy? by Toni Carrier on IAAM Center for Family History

Kids’ Talk: Who Said Family History Is Boring? by Angelle Anderson on The Family History Guide Blog

RLP 11: Organization by Nicole Dyer on Family Locket

BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel Logs Over 500,000 Views by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

Keeping Up with the Times

The Road to RootsTech: 5 Things to Know for 2019 by Elizabeth O’Neal on My Descendant’s Ancestors

Some Progress in FindAGrave Image Appropriation by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Your Grandmother’s Name Is Not Private Nor Secure by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

Ohio Genealogical Society’s Annual Writing Competition for 2019 by Julie Tarr on Julie’s Genealogy & History Hub