Another issue in making such a chart would be defining what constitutes a dulcimer builder. In some families nearly every son either assisted his father in dulcimer making or made a single dulcimer before losing interest. Other dulcimer makers made multiple dulcimers and taught others how to build the instruments.
The lack of surviving instruments attributed to those recalled in oral history as dulcimer builders makes one question who did and did not build dulcimers. The Hicks family is a good example. Several members of the Hicks family were said to have made dulcimers: Ben Hicks, Roby Hicks, Nathan Hicks, Stanley Hicks, Floyd Hicks, Windsor Canada Hicks, James Brownlow Hicks, Edd Presnell, and Frank Proffitt.
But Ben Hicks had two sons: Nathan Hicks and Samuel Hicks. Nathan Hicks was clearly a dulcimer builder, but what about his brother, Samuel Hicks. Did he learn how to make dulcimers?
There is also some question as to who made the dulcimers sold by Nathan in the 1930s and 1940s. Obviously, Nathan made most of the dulcimers attributed to him. But oral history suggests that his father, Ben Hicks; his uncle, Roby Hicks, his first cousin, Windsor Canada Hicks, and possibly others helped him fulfill orders.
The evidence suggests the number of dulcimer builders making more than a handful of instruments was quite small. And the number of surviving instruments can be attributed to a small number of builders. But there were many more dulcimer builders who built only a single or limited number of dulcimers.