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A Genealogist In The Archives: When Genealogy has Gone to The Dogs!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Genealogy has Gone to The Dogs!

As genealogists we are constantly searching for records for our ancestors that we have not seen before. Records that are unique and will fill in those gaps in our ancestor's timeline.

Archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, libraries, University archives and museums are full of these types of records. One such set of records in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives is a "Dog Registration" book.

Houston County, Tennessee Dog Registration Record Book spine, Houston County, Tennessee Archives

This particular "Dog Registration" book dates from 1901-1923. The purpose of this record book was to register dogs who were over 6-months old. The owner had to pay a fee or tax which started out in 1901 to be $1.00 and by 1923 was up to $3.00 per dog.

W.H. Griffin dog registration entry, July 16, 1907, Houston County, Tennessee Archives

The fees that were collected were put into what was called the Sheep Fund. The Sheep Fund was there for any farmers who had a sheep killed by a dog or had one damaged by a dog. The owner of the sheep would be able to ask for funds from the Sheep Fund to replace the dead or damaged sheep. At the end of the year, if there was still funds left in the Sheep Fund, it would be given to the local schools to help purchase books and supplies.

W.R. Boone dog registration entry, May 16, 1901, Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Information that can be found on the dog registration receipts include the dog owner's name, the owner's address, the name of the dog, the description of the dog and the date of the receipt. Who knew that our ancestor's dogs could help us with genealogy information today!

As genealogists we can get some great information from records sources like this "Dog Registration".




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