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!

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