Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on August 26, 2013 in Research

I love my two dogs, Coco and Belle.  I remember the dogs I had as a kid:  Boomer, Peppy and Caesar.  I can remember my dad talking about his dog Smokey and how he claimed that the one time he ever got in trouble was because he tied Smokey to the water heater.    I believe the “one time he got in trouble” is a bit of a family legend.

I recently obtained this picture of my great grandmother, Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie, and her dog Mickey that was taking in 1950, when she was 73.  And I just love this picture.

What dog stories did your ancestors leave behind?


Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at She is an active blogger on and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.


  1. Johnnie Tate

    I love the idea of National Dog Day. I love pictures of people with dogs. How about a place to show off the special pictures of family members with their dogs

  2. Kim Zornow

    My favorite picture of my Dad is one of him (~8 yrs old), His Father, and the family Dog standing by their farm house. The picture was taken in the 1940’s. We always had dogs while growing up.

  3. RH LeSesne

    I have pictures of family pets of 5 generations going back to the 1880’s. It’s too bad that Family Tree Maker doesn’t have a way to support pets either as a feature of a generation or as members of the family!

  4. Patricia Empson

    My dad always had a dog and I have pictures of him from when he was very small and there is always a dog with him. He got me my first puppy when I was very young also.

  5. Paul Brady

    I have 4 gen of pics of us with our dogs on Schroeder side;3 gen on Brady side. As I sit here with my furbabe, Charka, a proud GSD, I would like to think we are ‘people of the dog’ 🙂 Happy dog days!

  6. Marti Biegler

    When searching the Vital Records of Lee, Maine, I happened across the dog licenses. Interesting to see which ancestors had dogs and what they named them.

  7. Terri

    My family is from SE Ky and there were a lot of hunting dogs. Anyway, my dad’s favorite’s were these two blue tick hounds he named Lee and Grant. They were from the same lineage as the blue ticks his deceased father had owned. Really sweet.

  8. I have a wonderful photo of my grandmother with her dog Pancho, circa the 1930s, and a photo of my great-grandfather with his puppy in the very early 1900s. I love seeing pets in old photos.

  9. Kathy Jo Bryant

    My grandfather had two miniature Doberman Pinschers. Their names were Lum and Abner. They loved to take walks with him down to his fish ponds in Southern Alabama. On the way back from the walk, he playfully tossed Lum in the fishpond. Of course he swam right out. However, Abner would have nothing to do with him for a long time, thinking my grandpa had been mean to his pal. I do have a picture of him with his dogs, but I don’t know just where it is. I would love to share it.

  10. Andrew Kolstee

    I have a few photos of my great-great grandparents from the 1920s and/or 1930s with their dog. My great-great grandfather was a farmer.

  11. Carla White

    My great-grandfather had a dog named “Shep”, who walked with Great Grandpa Steve on his mail route, and delivered the mail to his upstairs customers. Shep had a harness fitted out with a little bear holding a flag. Shep wore this bear-harness in parades in my hometown early in the 20th century. Shep also was known for his love for donuts. He was quite famous in our small Kansas town, and people were very fond of him. Shep died saving Grandpa Steve from a wild boar in Georgia. His photo and story are in the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC. Grandpa Steve, his son Alva and his grandson Bill were all postal workers.

  12. Judy Burns

    I have a photo take of one set of great grandparents standing outside their farm house (as photos were taken back in that time period) with their dog, Babe, sitting on a chair between them. It makes me chuckle every time I look at it. I never knew these great grandparents but the photo tells me a lot about the kind of people they were. We are all attached to our dogs, aren’t we?

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