1    Jun 20128 comments

Pets: Part of the family?

girlwithdogMany of us have pets, and we feel an incredible affinity with them.

We love them as family members, take them on trips and integrate them into our daily routines.

The most popular family pets are dogs and cats.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39% of all American households own at least one dog, while 33% own at least one cat. In the UK, the PFMA notes that 46% of homes have a pet and of those, dogs account for 22%, cats 18%.

Technically, a family tree is a place for human relatives, and a human cannot be physically related to a pet. However, there are numerous stories of people including their pets in their last will and testament.

Maria Assunta (Italy) left $13 milion to her cat. Countess Karlotta Libenstein (Germany) left $106 million to her German shepherd, Gunther III. And if that's not bizarre enough, by the time Gunther IV was born, via some clever investments by trustees, the inheritance had grown to $372 million.

But what if you feel that your dog is part of the family? If your dog walks down the aisle at family weddings, if it is in all of your holiday photos and goes everywhere with you, how do you acknowledge their place?

Some MyHeritage members build specific family trees (pedigrees) for dogs, but we've also had members request the ability to include pets in their tree.

What do you think? Do you want to include pets in your family tree? Should people include animals in their family trees?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. Woof!

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Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I think this should be an optional pet family member.Each member of the site can choose to add their pet or not.
  2. If you could include them as loved familymembers with pictures as an clickable extension, like as notes under persons, families.
    Think of a parrot who mabee live longer than their owners and stay in the family as a member. How to make a note of that?
    Maybe a notetype with pictures can tell about the animalmembers of a family.
  3. my fury friends are like family to me, but I don`t think so many will enjoy it..
  4. I love pets. All my critters are a part of my family - they're my little babies, no matter how old they get. If they need something and money is tight, they'll get it and I'll go without; however, I don't think they belong in the family tree.

    Maybe if the world was perfect and there was a 'pet' option when adding, but most likely a lot of people wouldn't check that option. If the options included specific species, no doubt some would get left out. (Ex: Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Mouse, Lizard, Frog, Horse, Alpaca, etc...)

    Since MyHeritage is also used for expanding one's family tree through matches and by checking for similiarities and differences between multiple matches, I would see adding pets as a possible hindrance to this function.

    That being said, with enough work and planning, it could be possible to add a pets option with minor flaws, but the likely hood of that is slim. If it's done wrong, it could have negative effects on the reliability of searches and a key function of this site. (Albeit, other people's research - if not cited - may need to be taken with a grain of salt anyways.) I know the more current branches are usually (more) private, but perhaps someday, in later generations, they'll be doing genealogy, too.
  5. Thank you for this article! When I started our family genealogy project, it was because my partner and I won't be adding children to our future generations as a same-sex couple. Therefore, it seemed only logical that we would take up the investigation to find our heritage so future generations would have that history. I started interviewing family members - and whilst talking with my sister - we discussed our pets. She has always invested greatly in the love her pets have given her - in addition to her two beautiful, intelligent, vibrant and successful children. My partner and I have had pets who played VITAL roles in our lives and our history together.

    It would be interesting to be able to include them as a 'sub-tree' of our individual immediate families. My sister commented that she would appreciate this too. I have such memories of the pets of my mother, my grandmother, aunts and uncles. When I look back, many of their stereotypical behaviors associated with the various breeds of their pets - are someone reflective of some of the personality traits those family members exhibited, or exhibit.

    We said that it would be nice to have a little circle, or diamond under each name that would permit us to add significant pets through our history. Some of which are better documented than the people themselves through family photos, letters and stories shared amongst the family.

    Pets have played a huge part in my life. Sources of inspiration to just be better people - caring, emotionally-open, transparent and honest. They've comforted me at times of loss and sadness; they've inspired and reveled with me at times of pleasure. They have caused me great consternation, as well as much of the happiness that I have known.

    I am interested to learn how others respond and view the role of pets in the family history over time and their inclination to include or exclude their pets in the records they are completing.
  6. Growing up with a pet teaches a child responsibilities, trust, to care for others, and most important of all Brotherly love. In my opinion they deserve a branch of their own. I feel sad for children that don't have pets :(. Besides who else will eat your sister's cooking, Ha Ha HA!!!!
  7. It looks like I'm the unmarried mother of 18 children because I insist upon entering my pets as my children. Too bad it will be confusing to future generations, but my pets are that important to me.
  8. I wish pets could be on my tree.

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