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I had come across a 1947 death certificate for a Dorsey Pinkard a while ago. (Well, the name on the death certificate was Dawsey, but it’s common knowledge that Dawsey is Southern for Dorsey).Having been born in 1933, I knew that he was too young to be my great-grandfather; my great-grandfather was born around 1875. But since they shared a name, I figured there had to be a connection.

Later on, I found a census record for my great-grandmother, Adlina Pinkard. The year was 1940 and she was living in Stewart County, Ga., with four sons, two daughters and three grandchildren. One of them was named Dorsey, apparently after her husband and the child’s grandfather.

Then everything clicked. The other Dorsey Pinkard was in fact one of my mom’s first cousins. His mother– Ina Bell Pinkard– and my mom’s dad– Willie Pinkard– were siblings.

The other Dorsey Pinkard died in July 1947 after he was kicked by a mule.