Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning About Their Lives

While I am, like all genealogists, thrilled when we discover the name of a new ancestor, one thing that has always made me smile is learning about actual events in their lives. Having the pertinent information down on paper helps you learn the facts about the events, but pictures allow you to really get a feel for what happened.

While going through my mother's photos, I found one photo album that contained some pictures I don't think I've ever seen before. I tend to believe it was the photo album that belonged to my grandparents, given the time-frame the photos were taken and the things in the photographs. Among the photos were a few from a sale my grandfather had when he sold off all his dairy cows.

In recent years, I was given a copy of a photo of my mother carrying the milkers while her sister pushed the milk cart.

The same aunt that appears in that photo told me that the following photos were taken after she had gotten married and left the farm. They were taken on March 10, 1949, which means my mother was still around home but, at the very least, I'm sure her parents knew that she wouldn't be sticking around much longer since she would be turning 18 the next month. That left just her two younger sisters to help around the farm. Given that he had dairy cows in addition to a crop in his fields and he'd be down to just two helpers around the farm. I'd imagine it was a bit too much for him to handle.

That day, my grandfather, Benedict Panther, sold off his dairy cows. If someone had just told me this, I'd think "Okay. So he sold a few cows. Interesting, but no big deal." But with the photos? Wow! It really lets me know what the day was like!

Looks like quite the event!
The note says anyone showing up now would be a bit late! Look at that line of cars! All because my grandpa was selling some cows.
They averaged $199.50 per cow. Just look at that crowd.
Seeing these photos really puts the cattle sale into perspective. It feels so much more real seeing what actually happened rather than just reading about it. I just love getting into the details of exactly what my ancestors lived through. I feel it helps me understand them as the people they were.



  1. The pictures are really cool. I love looking at how people are dressed and the cars they drive. Do you know what kind of dairy cows he had?

    1. I didn't know and I had thought about his question along with the types of crop he grew while writing this post. Your question encouraged me to ask my aunt. Go back to my earlier post about interviewing your elders! Just do it! Ask them all of these questions! The answer is that he had Jersey milk cows. The names for some of them were Tulip, Spot and Daisy. Seems like perfect cow names! In his fields, he grew mostly corn and wheat, some soybeans and alfalfa for hay for the cows.

  2. Photos really do add so much to telling the story of their lives, don't they? I just found a mention of my husband's grandfather in a 1917 newspaper. The crank on the car "kicked" and broke his arm. I have pictures of him in that era with his car and now wonder if that is the one that did it!

  3. Wonderful! He must have been quite the dairyman. A turnout like that meant that he had something of real value to sell. Thanks for sharing these, as well as all the other things you have shared! Fantastic!