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Bass Families of the South

                 
    
On August 11, 1999,  I (Mike Crandall) made a posting in the genforum at the address: http://genforum.genealogy.com/cgi-bin/pageload.cgi?crandall::bass::780.html     I had learned about a "Bass Families of the South" website.I was excited, it was the from the book "Bass Families of the South", by Albert Bell! It contained all the genealogy I needed to connect Mary Bass to Humphrey Bass who was born abt. 1565 in England. I was not prepared and I  did understand at first all the negative replies about the book, "Bass Families of the South". I did not even understand when I was first challenged by Preston Holt because I was so excited about the Bell book, I overlooked much of what he said. It took me a little while to learn that he and others were not challenging my acuracy of the Bell book but were actually challenging the Bell book itself! Preston first alerted me to the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association in his posting. As the truth began to sink in I decided to contact the Tribal Association and found them online at: http://www.nansemond.nativeland.com/center.htm   
I found an email address and sent them the following message.

Fred 
    I feel like your people are doing a great service to everyone in finding the truth about the Bass's. I think that all this controversy in the Bass Genforum is healthy and will help more people to understand that Bell's book is flawed. By the way the website of, "Bass Families of the South", has disappeared! 
I wonder why? 
    While I still thought that Bell's book was good. I made a posting about another book called, "Thomas Boon Immigrant and 1,000 of his descendents", just under the posting, "Bass Families of the South website! It listed the same genealogy as Bell's. When I found out about the Bell problem I decided to find the Bass family source for that book. The source was from another book called, "Heritage and Heroes" by Dorothy Boone Tryon. There was much greater detail in that book about the Bass genealogy but I was not able to find the source for that book. There was no Bibliography or source page listed in the FICHE no. 6048176 I looked at in the Mesa, Az., Family History Center. If you would like I could send you copies of the 7 pages by regular mail. I posted all the information The following is copied from the fiche;

John Bass, son of Nathaniel and Mary Jordan Bass, John is our immigrant
ancestor, since Nathaniel did not stay in America.
b. 7 September 1616, London Middlesex, England
d. 2 April 1699 Norfolk County, Virginia
m. 14 August 1638, Norfolk County., Virginia
Keziah Elizabeth Tucker
b. 1618 Norfolk County, Virginia (daughter of Elder Robin Tucker--a pure
blooded Indian of the Algonquin Tribe.)
Issue: (more)=I did not copy the birth, death and some marriages that
were listed
i. Nathaniel (more) 
ii. Keziah (more) 
iii. Elizabeth (more)
iv. Jorden (more)
v. Samuel (more) 
vi. William (more) 
vii. Richard (more) 
viii. John (more) 
    What you have to say is very interesting to me and I am sure others would like to hear from you. I wonder if you would mind if I posted in the genforum part of what you said in this letter? You can edit it if you would like. 
Mike Crandall 
-----Original Message-----
From: FredBright 
To: Mike and Ruthie Crandall
Date: Friday, August 20, 1999 
Subject: Bell's Book

Mike- 
     I enjoyed your email which was forwarded to me by War Chief, Earl Bass. 
You are correct. There are many incorrect entries in Dr. Bell's book. People can say what they want, but the truth is, he was trying very hard to establish a Huguenot connection for a particular group of people, with Bass surnames. There are several reasons I say this. In his book, he presents a copy of the front page of the prayer book (not a bible as some would have you believe, it is in our possession, so we don't have to guess what it says), yet he does not present a copy of the page in which he says John Bass married Keziah Elizabeth Tucker. The entry says John married "Elizabeth, ye dafter of ye King of ye Nansemond Nation" and so on. No mentio of Keziah or Tucker. The Tucker name came into the family with Edward, John's brother who married Mary Tucker, possibly a Nansemond or Chowanoc Indian, but we have yet to prove that. You would think that if he went to the trouble of producing a copy of the front page, he would have also included a copy of the very entries which later came to be twisted out of shape. We do know that Edward and Mary went to live with the Chowans. Bell also gives a genealogy of Richard Bass, reporting that he married Jane Bryant and then Mary Burwell. Yet, we find several deeds and court records indicating that his wife Jane was very much alive in early 1701. So you see, there is much in Bell's book that is in error. He also cited several references to old pieces of paper that noone can seem to find. He apparently talked to Justin Bass when he was here and noone seems to be able to find any of the material he says he saw. We do know that the records are pretty factual concerning Nathaniel Bass, son of Humphrey Basse and the Buschier line. We know that the court records in the London Registrar's office show that particular Nathaniel as passing away with no issue, his brother Luke getting his inheritance, Luke died as a bachelor and the two sisters inherited what was left of the estate. We also know that Nathaniel Bass was in London at the time the indians attacked Captain Nathaniel Basse's place at Basse's Choice. The historical records say that Nathaniel and about 30 other men and women defended the place with whatever weapons they had on hand and apparently did a pretty good job of defending themselves. 
The Jamestown Society is aware of these facts and that's why they will not accept members into their society from the Bass lineage. Anyway, you are correct in you statement that we are trying to straighten out the mess Bell left. Too many people accepted his book as gospel and for too long. Some things seem to become truth if enough people believe it for a long enough time. Lea Dowd and Patti Sylvestri have published several manuscripts dealing with these issues which represent about 35 years of genealogical research, and I mean real research, not the internet kind. All of their work is soundly sourced and documented. Much of this information was already in our membership files and probably could have been found out sooner if someone had been willing to research it and go to the lengths that Lea and Patti were willing to go, at no little expense to themselves. They have been the subject of much defamation and the recipients of much hate mail, usually from the "Bell Book hanger on's" who do not want to accept facts. I suppose it proves the old saying, "no good deed will go unpunished". I am currently working on my certification as a genealogist and every lesson I approach seems to preach against the very things Bell did in his book. Some say it was just human error, but now that I have a better picture of the whole, I now believe he deliberately mixed families together just to prove a particular point. This is not the first time someone has done such things and the only way to reclaim any real trust in our genealogical lines is to find the court documents and other source documents that prove out our lines. We have now done this with several lines and are confident those lines are correct. At least, we have the documentation that would stand a court test, since we have court records to prove out the lines. 
    Since our tribe is now seeking Federal recognition, we have received mail from outsiders who say we will never get that recognition because we have disputed the Bell book. However, they forget that in 1904, several anthropologists conducted a census of several of the Virginia Indian Tribes and the Nansemonds were one of the tribes. We have the documentation we need to prove who we are, so the genealogy is not really that important for the recognition work. However, we do want to be sure that members are blood members according to our bylaws. That is why we are so adament now about getting the proper lineages drawn up and set once and for all. I would guess that it really doesn't make any difference to those who could care less about becoming members of the tribe, and it seems that many of those are the ones who seem to be the most upset about our discoveries. Anyway, I just thought you would like to know. 
    One more thing of note. A local man, James Roth, published a looseleaf book entitled "A Trail of Native Americans, the Nandsamund's of Virginia" which basically copied Bell's genealogy and added several later lines of Bass descendents. However, included in his book is an article from the Daily Press written by a Mrs. Virginia Rollins, apparently a staff writer for the Daily Press, in which she mentions the information about the Lord Mayor's court in London about Nathaniel Bass "lately deceased without issue". I though it ironic that after all the work of putting together his book, he did not think to read the article (dated 9-12-92) and ask questions about it's authenticity. Thanks for listening. 
Fred Bright 
Treasurer, Membership Co-Chair 
Nansemond Indian Tribal Association 

I received another message from Fred Bright later that same day of August 20. 

     As a Family History Center Director and Stake Computer Specialist, I am aware of the records of our church, but let me say here and now, just because it is published by our church, it does not mean it is carved in stone. So far as books are concerned, the church just publishes what others send in. A good example is the IGI files. My grandmother is listed several times, with different birthdates and other differing information. Microfische and microfilm of court documents and parrish records are pretty squared away because they are only copies of the original records, but published genealogies are always suspect. I try to tell people that visit our FHC that they must do their own family research, which means finding primary sources, but few people are willing to spend the time and effort to do the footwork. My own family is a good example. Everyone is interested in our genealogy, but noone in my family is interested in doing the work necessary to prove the lineage. I guess it is a part of human nature to want to know about the past, but few people really want to do the necessary work. The internet is a great tool, but it can be as harmful as well as useful. Most folks feel that just because it is on the net, it is correct. Some also believe that just because it has been put to print, it is gospel. I have a book published on my wife's genealogy (Huddleston) and within that book, I have found many mistakes, all probably well meaning assumptions, but never the less, incorrect. 
      Dr. Bell was paid for his services and he did what he was paid to do. This is not to say that everything in his book is incorrect, because much of it deals with families that I have not done research on. My interest is in my own family lines which go through the Bass, namely William & Betty Perkins Bass and their daughter, Elizabeth. 
     The biggest mistake most genealogists make when working on the Bass lines comes from not understanding how the Nansemond families moved about and why they did so. There are very good reasons why they moved from Southampton County to Norfolk County and then moved into the Carolinas. One must study the timelines and social conditions of the time to really understand why and where they moved as they did. Between Lea Dowd, Patti Sylvestri, myself and some others, we hope to have a complete genealogical history before it is all over, one which will explain the why and wherefores and one that cannot be questioned, that is, by reasonable people who are not opposed to the truth. 
         I think many of my comments are already on the net. Some of our members have made it known that they aren't happy with my interference with the status quo. However, they can think what they like. The Bell book is wrong and I can prove it. We have the court records as well as photo copies of the prayer book. The original is in the Library of Virginia Archives. I am not sure putting any of it on the net will accomplish anything. Anyone interested in finding out the truth can do so with a little research. Those who are willing to let someone else do the work will have to live with what others find. 
     One more thing. You can always tell whether of not someone copied Bells book. The test is in the lineage. If they use the Keziah Elizabeth Tucker name as the wife of John, you can bet it came from Bell. I have attached a short entry from the prayer book. I scanned it and it is not a really nice copy, but you can make it out. You will see that the name of John's wife is Elizabeth, 

"John Basse married a deftar of Ye King of Ye Nansamund nation by name, Elizabeth in Holy Baptis and Holy Matrimony". 

     This way, you cansee for yourself. No Keziah Elizabeth Tucker. This is usually the clue. When you see the Tucker name with Elizabeth, you can bet it has been taken from Bell's book. 
Hope this has been helpful. 
Fred 

I received this on the 24th. 

Mike- 
     Earl forwarded your message to me several days ago and I was interested in your comments. You are correct that there was no problem with the Bass Families of the South way back when because there was no one in the tribe with the desire or where-with-all to do any research to prove it, they just accepted the book as it was written. That's the way with Indian people. They usually trust other people until they are burned beyond recognition, then they become cautious. Our history proves that. Also, at the time, the tribe was young and was too busy with establishing state recognition to be worried about the errors in the Bell book. Our late chief knew about them, and confided in Lea Dowd about them and he took a tearful promise from Lea to get to the truth. She has suffered dearly for that promise. Dr. Bell was trying to do one thing, and that was establish a Huguenot connection for the people that paid him to do the work. He delivered what they wanted. However, since then, the Jamestown Society have found out (as we knew) that Nathaniel Basse, Son of Humphrey had no children and his bachelor brother and sisters inherited his estate. We also know that he forced a lot of lines and crossed them to make things work out the way he wanted. He crossed the lines of John and Edward Basse and made things fit when they didn't. He made some major errors when he tried to make a line for Richard Bass. That's another story. We have the court documents to back up all our claims. However, this doesn't seem to do much good to those who don't want to believe the truth. There were documents in our own tribal records which would prove Bell was wrong if someone had taken the time to do the original research. Fortunately, Lea and Patti did it on their own and put it all together. It took a lot of their time and money, plus a trip across the ocean,to get to the bottom of it all. 
    We have exploded the Keziah Tucker myth as well as the Richard Basse myth, but many still refuse to recognize the truth. Lea Dowd, Patti Sylvestri and myself have been the brunt of a lot of hate mail because we have been working on establishing correct lines for the tribe. Bell failed to follow the movement and trails of our tribe in the early years and that's one of the problems he had when he was doing his work. One thing sticks in my mind. In the Bell book, he published a copy of the front page of the prayer book. We know he had his hands on the book. Yet, he failed to publish a copy of the written page which gives the correct name of Elizabeth, the Christianized Nanesemond Indian, who married John. Yet he quoted her name as Keziah Tucker so he could connect the lineage of Edward Basse's because Edward married Mary Tucker, a Chowanoac Indian. The false connection made it look real good, like maybe Elizabeth was Mary's kinfolk. It looked good on paper, but so did the Richard lineage until you find out that his first wife was still living when he was supposed to be married to a later wife who presented him with a son when he was 61 plus years old. Not likely. Unless he was a very virile bigamist. The truth can be found in Lea and Patti's manuscripts which are well documented and sourced. If you are really interested in the truth, you will find it there. Hopefully, the truth about Richard Bass will soon be found. Until then, we leave the nay sayers and nonbelievers to themselves. The early Catholic church burned people at the stake for saying the earth revolved around the sun, so I guess we are in good company. I know Lea Dowd, and she is a person of honor and integrety and she would cut off her arm before she would falsify her heritage. She has done well and is proof that all good deeds will not go unpunished. I hope this clears up some of your questions. Incidentally, a local man published a semblence of the Bass genealogy and withing his own publication he included an article by a local paper that produced the source that said Nathaniel Basse, descendent of Humphrey, died without issue. Kind of funny isn't it, diluting one's own publication. 
Hang in there, keep looking, walk in love, with clean hands and straight eyes. 
Fred Bright 
Membership Co-Chair 
Nansemond Indian Tribal Assoc.

    Below, I have added a picture of a file Fred sent me on the 20th. Freds describes it in his own words here..
One more thing. You can always tell whether of not someone copied Bells book. The test is in the lineage. If they use the Keziah Elizabeth Tucker name as the wife of John, you can bet it came from Bell. I have attached a short entry from the prayer book. I scanned it and it is not a really nice copy, but you can make it out. You will see that the name of John's wife is Elizabeth, 

"John Basse married a deftar of Ye King of Ye Nansamund nation by name, Elizabeth in Holy Baptis and Holy Matrimony". 

     This way, you cansee for yourself. No Keziah Elizabeth Tucker. This is usually the clue. When you see the Tucker name with Elizabeth, you can bet it has been taken from Bell's book. 
     In his book, he presents a copy of the front page of the prayer book (not a bible as some would have you believe, it is in our possession, so we don't have to guess what it says), yet he does not present a copy of the page in which he says John Bass married Keziah Elizabeth Tucker. The entry says John married "Elizabeth, ye dafter of ye King of ye Nansemond Nation" and so on. No mentio of Keziah or Tucker.

Lea Dowd, who Fred Bright mentioned as one of two working to correct the misinformation about the Bass family, has information in Rootsweb posted by a friend;
http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ifetch2?/u1/textindices/B/BASS+1999+158139+F 
Use the keywords, "Lea Dowd correct information about Bass Family" without the quotes.

She has a website at http://www.tbass.com/basse.htm called "Southern Bass"
In this website she tells us about a Quarterly that she is the editor of, called "Southern Bass"
She says;  It is the aim of this newsletter to assist other members of the Bass family to find 
correct lineage information.