Recently I took an ‘Ancestry’ DNA test, for a reason unconnected with the Dixies.

Looking through my matches I was astonished to discover a 5th-8th cousin (which means we have a common ancestor about 10 generations ago) who was a direct descendent of Sir Wolstan Dixie, the 3rd Baronet 1657 - 1713. Now 10 generations ago we each have 1,024 ggg . . . . .  grandparents, so I have 1,024 and my cousin has 1,024, and one of his and one of mine are the same person; and one of his (not necessarily that one) was the 3rd Baronet. Whilst the odds against are large’ish a pool of 2,048 people is hardly the population of Leicestershire, and I find the fact I have a family myth of being a dispossessed Dixie beyond coincidence.

However, this clearly pushes the origin of the myth much further into the past than my gggrandmother being ‘Lady Jane Dixie’. Examining the Dixie family tree my eye is caught by the 5th Baronet 1738-1806 declared insane in 1785 by an action in Chancery which broke the entail and assigned the inheritance to a distant cousin. The tree says ‘direct line died out’, implying he had no legitimate children, and Peter Foss says ‘died single and far from home in a London lunatic asylum’ - but one wonders . . . Any legitimate children would certainly have a lifetime grudge they “should be in their lands at Bosworth”, which would be transmitted down the generations, becoming progressively more garbled. One wonders what exactly his ‘lunacy’ consisted of - insisting on marrying the Under Parlour Maid perhaps? Wealthy people with scheming relatives were incarcerated for less in Georgian lunatic asylums.

The clincher of course would be for the 13th Baronet’s daughters Eleanor or Caroline to also take an Ancestry DNA test and see if I am a match. Perhaps they will, to put both our minds at rest?