Horsing Around With Animal Genealogy

Those of us that have pets know that they are an important part of our families. The genealogically inclined among us may wish to explore the family history of their furry friends as part of their genealogical research. Unfortunately, I am at a brick wall when it comes to my cat, Patrick. Almost exactly four years ago, I found a young black cat wandering around the yard of the country inn where I was working. I called around to see if he belonged to any of the neighbors, and he did not. He was a skittish little fellow, but one of the maintenance people was able to trap him in the basement before it got dark out. It would have been difficult to locate a black cat in the dark, you know. Three hours later, I had managed to coax him into a cat carrier with the help of a can of tuna. From then on, he has been my constant companion.

Unfortunately, Patrick’s ancestry will forever be a mystery. The vet that I take him to believes that he was not born of completely domestic parents. His physical attributes and his demeanor at the time that I found him indicate that he is most likely at least partly feral and was probably born in the woods near where I found him. So much for making a kitty family tree.

Interestingly enough, even though my companion animal does not have an identifiable pedigree, I live in a very interesting place as far as animal genealogy is concerned. Those of you that are interested in horses may know about Justin Morgan, a man who played a very important role in developing the Morgan breed. It just so happens that Justin Morgan moved to my town, Randolph Vermont, after leaving his home in Massachusetts in the late 1700s. One of Justin Morgan’s stallions, Figure, established many of the qualities that came to be associated with the Morgan breed such as their distinctive look, stamina, adaptability, and willingness to please. Justin Morgan is buried nearby, in Randolph Center, and Figure is buried in the nearby town of Tunbridge. Horses are probably the animals with the best-kept family histories, and while I do not know much about them, it is fun to read about the important historical events that took place right in my back yard. Have you considered researching your pet’s family tree?
Figure

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