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Are you the family historian who has inherited the entire collection of portraits of the last 9 generations of each of your ancestors? No? Me neither. I have precious few photos of my paternal family.

I've found some old negatives and some barely discernable photos that I've been able to resurrect. I thought I'd share some of them today.

I thought it might be fun to include pictures taken with their pets.

Here's a photo of my mother and her cat taken in about 1938. The chickens in the background are a nice touch. She grew up on the family farm in Wisconsin.

My mother when she was a stylish teen.

Most of these pictures were taken with the lowest cost camera available in those days. There was no way to focus the camera, the film was slow which meant that pictures required plenty of light, outdoors preferred, there was no such thing as a flash attachment for these cheapie cameras, and to make things as awful as possible, nobody had a clue about how to take a decent photo. No instructions were provided or offered. There wasn't much you could do with these simple cameras anyway.

But somehow, they captured the moment. And we captured a lot more about our families.

Want more critters? Here's my father when he was a toddler, taken in about 1918. The woman on the left is his mother, his aunt is the woman on the right. The picture was taken next to the main house located on a sheep farm, I think. So the dog might be trained to work with sheep. Or at least to be tied to the wicker baby carriage and led around the yard a little.This is one of only three pictures that I have of my paternal grandmother. She died about 3 years after this picture was taken.

My father sporting a stylish Mohawk, apparently.
How about my grandparent's ugly dog. This picture is of my maternal grandparents who were travelling on their one and only big-time tour to the Southwest. In about 1946 or so, they drove from Wisconsin to Arizona and back, towing a trailer and navigating over the then new two-lane US highway that passed through the center of every major town and city along the way. I never knew of their dog, perhaps one of the ugliest dogs I've ever seen. I'm sure he was a nice, well behaved dog.
Somewhere in the Southwest, probably in Arizona.
How do I know that their dog was well-behaved? My grandfather was very patient with animals. Here he is hand-fedding a gray squirrel that lived in the wild near his back yard. I remember him teaching me how to call the squirrel and earn its trust so I could hand-feed a peanut or two myself. I was about 5 or 6 years old and remember everything about thiose times. The squirrel eventually got to be so tame that he'd climb up your jeans and dive right into you pockets looking for peanuts. And you'd better well not disappoint him. He would search every pocket until he found what he wanted.
Yummy peanuts. Nom, nom, nom.
Here's a closer look
My favorite discovered picture. Found in a box of negatives.
Then there's a few professional portraits of animals that my father produced sometime in the 1940's when he was working for a photography studio in Central Massachusetts. He had no recollection of the owners of this gorgeous Sheepdog. I found a box of 4"x5" plate negatives and this one is my all-time favorite.

Floor's open. Any long lost critters that your ancestors loved and cared for? Any pictures magically found and resurrected?

Originally posted to Genealogy and Family History Community on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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