Ruth's Genealogy

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

31 Weeks ButtonIn #31WBGB: Make List Posts Work for Your Genealogy Blog, Week 2, Part 1, my response to this week’s challenge is to create a multi-part list post that discusses how to find and document the relationship of an elusive ancestor, in this case my fourth great-grandfather Joel Dixon of Marengo County, Alabama.

My task is to link Joel to my third great-grandfather, Thomas M Dixon. I have been unable to connect father and son using the usually-reliable United States Federal Census. By Census Day 1850, Thomas was 27 years old and already out on his own. I have located the 1830 and 1840 census enumerations for Joel Dixon, but of course in the years before 1850, only the head-of-household is named. (I have written to Marengo County to get a copy of Joel Dixon’s probate records.)

What to do now?

Plan B involves locating a relative of Thomas M Dixon, perhaps a sibling, that I can directly connect to Joel Dixon, and then link Thomas to that relative. While searching GenealogyBank for Joel or Thomas Dixon, I inadvertently came across an obituary for Floyd Milton Dixon of Marengo County. Here Floyd was described as “the last male descendant of his great-grandfather, Joel Dixon.” Can I use Floyd to link Joel and Thomas? Let’s see…*

  1. Research the life and times of Joel Dixon of Marengo County, Alabama- Done! I have been fortunate with Joel. Thanks to,,, GenealogyBank, the Bureau of Land Management and several USGenWeb sites, I have census, War of 1812, federal land grants, and newspaper clippings that paint a pretty good picture of Joel’s life (considering the small time frame allowed by this week’s challenge).
  2. Research the life and times of Joel’s son Nicholas Floyd Dixon– Done! Again, numerous online sources have defined much of Nicholas’ life and connected him directly to Joel.
  3. Research the life and times of Joel’s grandson William Floyd Dixon– Done! Even found a photograph of William on Linked directly to Nicholas by the 1870 Federal Census for Marengo County.
  4. Research the life and times of Joel’s great-grandson Floyd Milton Dixon– And done! Floyd Milton is also connected directly to William Floyd, here by 3 consecutive Federal Census enumerations.
(click on the links above to view associated documents)

Now, the final step is to link Floyd Milton Thomas to Thomas M Dixon, thereby establishing the parent-child relationship between my fourth great-grandfather Joel Dixon to my third great-grandfather Thomas M Dixon.


*I know, I’m doing this all backwards. But I have already done some quick research to clarify Floyd Milton Dixon’s relationship to Joel Dixon. (Joel Dixon>Nicholas Floyd Dixon>William Floyd Dixon>Floyd Milton Dixon) Kinda like starting the construction of Road B at the far end of the county from Road A and hoping they will meet in the middle!

Blog posts in this series:

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