Notes from the past…

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Doesn’t make it Gospel….

…but it sure is nice!

This is the 1860 Federal Census entry for Dr Thomas Jefferson Bettis of Clarke County, Alabama. Dr Bettis was the 1st husband of my 2nd great grandaunt, Edna Earle Dixon. There is a genealogical gift here, hidden in plain view. His is the final entry on the page. Do you see it?

(click to view full-size image)

Look closely at Column 10, Place of Birth…

His county of birth is listed! I have never seen that before, and I have studied hundred of census sheets.

A special thanks to the late Andrew J Turner, Asst Marshall, the man who asked the right question!


#31WBGB: Make List Posts Work for Your Genealogy Blog (Week 2, Part 3)

31 Weeks ButtonThis week’s challenge for Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog is to write a list post. My post actually has 3 parts, as I try to link suspected fourth great-grandfather Joel Dixon to proven third great-grandfather Thomas M Dixon, both of Marengo County, Alabama.

In Part 1, I laid out my plan of attack. Unable to link father and son through census records (Thomas was already out of the house by the 1850 Federal Census), I decided to use a relative, in this case Thomas’ grandnephew, Floyd Milton Dixon (Joel’s great-grandson) to try to indirectly bring Joel and Thomas together. I had accidentally stumbled upon Floyd’s obituary, which described him as the last male descendant of his great-grandfather, Joel Dixon. If I could trace Floyd’s ancestry back to Joel, perhaps along the way I might connect Floyd to Thomas, which would then connect Thomas to Joel.

This was my plan.

In Part 2, I described my research findings as I examined the four generations between Joel Dixon and Floyd Milton Dixon. The relationships of Joel Dixon, Nicholas Floyd Dixon, William Floyd Dixon and Floyd Milton Dixon to each other have been proven satisfactorily. though not in great depth. (I only had a week, folks!)

The final step was to somehow connect the dots and prove that Joel Dixon was Thomas M Dixon’s father.

Was I successful?

At this time, the answer unfortunately is… no.

Although I have collected quite a bit of evidence to shore up and extend the Dixon branch of my family tree, I cannot in good faith claim Joel Dixon as my fourth great-grandfather. Not at this time. Though I do believe that Joel belongs in my pedigree, and the overall mountain of data certainly leans in that direction, I still need one document that can conclusively tie the two together.

Awaiting a package from the Marengo County courthouse….

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#31WBGB: Make List Posts Work for Your Genealogy Blog (Week 2, Part 2)

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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