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klompie avatar
edwardssl book

Leave the blood feuds at home


family treed
My gr gr grandfather is Isaac Basye born about 1816 . The surname has an unusual spelling. When I started out researching my family history in the 80's, I found Isaac in the 1850 census records in Mississippi. He was 34 years old, a farmer, father of six, with the oldest child 18 yrs old. Do the math. Isaac conceived his oldest child when he was fifteen yrs old. I was really curious about him.  

Although I learned a lot about his children, I was stuck at 1850 for Isaac.

In the early days of geneology, i subscribed to a couple of genealogy publications.  I had seen a book on the Basye Family. but it was almost $100.00 and I didn't want to spring for it and find it wasn't my family.

Well, this is my tip for this diary. If you have an unusual surname, don't forget to peruse phone books wherever you go. I found three listings for Basye in the Tucson phone book, and I called one who lived nearby.  She had married into the family, so she gave me the number to another family member, who directed me to the grandson of the man who wrote the Basye book I had seen advertised.

I called him.  We had a great chat.  He lived in San Mateo, CA, where my husband grew up. He said virtually all Basyes are related regardless of spelling. (Count Basie? Yes quite possibly. The Basyes were slave owners in Virginia.)  Best yet, his grandfather, Otto Basye had done great research on the family.  He had many copies of the book advertised at $100.00 for $40.00 dollars. I took a chance.

I got lucky.  I found my Isaac as a child, named in the will of his father and mother and in the estate of his brother. To make a long story short,  Isaac was orphaned at a very young age. It appears that both his father and mother passed away when he was very young, as did his brother who became his guardian. In 1831, when Isaac would have been about 15, his brother passed away.  Isaac was on his own. Partial answer to my question about being a father at 16.

The book was well worth the money. It took me back five additional generations to the original immigrant, Edmond Basye, born 1645.  His first American record is in 1669 in Virginia.

So, don't forget the phone book as a resource if you have a unique surname spelling. You never know where that call may lead you.

Thanks for reading. Share your own phone directory stories.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the diary and for the phone book (9+ / 0-)

    tip. I think it could be a great resource for many. And how fortunate that you made the call and were able to find that the book was, indeed, about your Basyes. I can only imagine your excitement at finding Isaac. There has been so much work done by family genealogists over the years that I am so thankful for. Bless them all!

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:21:06 AM PDT

  •  I've always been shy about trying (7+ / 0-)

    to contact people, even though I've been told time and time again that it's worth the effort.

    Another big part of my problem, though, is everyone that I haven't been able to track further back before the 1750s were located in Germany.  Although I've taken German classes, I'm still not confident enough in my German language skills to approach anyone by email/letter.  

    I have a distant cousin I met online while researching one German family, the Tenspoldes of Vreden (I diaried them a couple of weeks ago).  At the time, it was early in my search.  Shortly after we communicated, she had accompanied her husband on a business trip to that area in Germany with my research in hand, and so they took a couple of days to drive around.  She spoke no German, but her husband was fluent.  In Vreden, they pulled over to ask an elderly farmer-looking guy walking along the side of the road if he knew Tenspolde.  The old man said, "Ich bin Tenspolde!" (I am Tenspolde!) and gave them all kinds of info, including the name and address of the town's unofficial genealogist, who was able to fill in a number of holes in my research.

    It certainly pays to be politely assertive at times.

    •  I've used the online whitepages (6+ / 0-)

      a couple times. Like edwardssl, I'm shy about that sort of thing. The first person I tried to call a few times but kept getting the answering machine. I actually felt slightly relieved each time they didn't answer! Haven't tried calling back in several months.

      The other times was right after the 1940 census was released. I finally found the name of the grandchildren of the person I think is the half-brother of my grandfather. I talked to the grandson's wife who seemed to have been interested in her genealogy, but said her husband didn't know anything about his family and never really cared. She said his sister was the same.

      I also finally called the nephew who lived with this guy pretty much since he was born (in the '20's). But he knew more about his aunt's family (his mom's sister) than his uncle's.

      Both of the people I talked to were very nice and more than happy to talk to me. I just wish I was better at interviewing (and that they actually knew more than they did about the family).

  •  Great diary and great reminder (8+ / 0-)

    that old technology (like phonebooks) are still useful. My Dad's family name is fairly unusual ...  it is more than 90% probable that anyone with that name in this country is a relative. Even in "the old" country, the spelling (going back to the mid-1600s) is a Germanic phonetic spelling of a Dutch word, so it is fairly easy to weed out who the likely "cousins" are.

    It would be very interesting to see if the ancestors of "Count Basie" had some ties to Isaac's family. And Isaac ... 16 seems so very young to be in charge of a family.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:38:51 AM PDT

    •  Hi klompie. (7+ / 0-)

      Thought of you on my recent driving trip across Iowa when I saw the road signs advertising the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, IA. Have you been there?

      Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

      by figbash on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:44:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey figgy! (7+ / 0-)

        No, I didn't know there was such a thing...I will have to look into it. There was an old Danish immigrant center in Mpls ... Dania Hall ... which burned to the ground in spectacular fire a number of years ago...very unfortunate.

        My own recent Danes arrived directly in Wisconsin through Racine--they stayed there a couple of years before moving to Juneau Co. Apparently, there was a whole network set up in the 1840s where they advertised in newspapers in Denmark, people would go to Racine where they could work long enough to get money to move on. I need to track down if those records are still available--maybe then I could narrow down which of the gazillion Jens Petersons born between 1842-46 who arrived in Racine/Chicago/Milwaukee in 1870-71 is mine, so I could maybe discover a hometown to search in. /rant

        "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

        by klompendanser on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:53:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We're nutin' without our volunteers, so (6+ / 0-)

    we're currently taking orders to host one of our Friday GFHC Open Threads.

    Current schedule

    June 8    GrumpyOldGeek
    June 15  mayim
    June 22  Jim H
    June 29  klompendanser
    July 6     open for adoption
    July 13   open for adoption

    How's 'bout it?  Got a good story to tell?  Got more great research tips (this community's full of 'em!)?

    We're waiting to hear/read all about it.

    Volunteers, anyone?

  •  Years ago... (8+ / 0-)

    ...my grandfather wrote a brief genealogical memoir in which he tells of having contacted someone via the phone book who turned out to be a long-lost cousin. And in his case the surname was extremely common. I don't know how he selected the individual to call, whether it was some sort of premonition or just dumb luck. But it worked. :-)

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:57:52 AM PDT

  •  sorry to have been MIA lately. (5+ / 0-)

    things at casa de larmos are chaotic. house is a wreck, boxes everywhere...have been too busy packing, painting and finishing cabinets to spend much time on family history stuff. :-(  

    I have occasionally done an Illinois page or two of 1940 indexing. last I checked they were on Knox County, and I'm holding out for Logan (those are my people, and I know the names).

    BUT, for mothers' day Mr. Larmos sent me to see George G. Morgan (of Genealogy Guys fame) do an all-day seminar for the Seattle Genealogical Soc. It was great fun. I was entertained all day, and when I have some time plan to write up a diary about going to an all-day seminar. (In case other newbies want to know what it's like). I learned a great deal too.

  •  Great diary, (7+ / 0-)

    I remember as a kid (in the 1970s) being in hotels and looking at phonebooks. I always looked up our last name and wondered if we were related. How brave you were to call--I'm such a chicken. Bravo to you--I need to be more courageous.

  •  I was gone last week, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slksfca, Jim H, Desert Rose

    wondered if the group talked about the Warren controversy?

    From the joking I've noted on both the Genealogy Guys' podcast and FYR it seems that the "serious genealogists" talk as if it is common for lay people to believe that they have Native American ancestors.

    There have been some geneabloggers discussing it, one Cherokee genealogist in particular seemed to get more attention than others. It seemed as if there was an underlying political dislike of Warren, in addition to her dislike of Warren's claim of Cherokee heritage.

    So, I was just kind of thinking...family lore is often incorrect, and a genealogist of all people I think would appreciate how someone who is NOT a genealogist could screw things up. It just seems some are not being very forgiving or understanding. Is it just me?

    •  Oklahoma (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slksfca, Jim H, larmos, Desert Rose

      She's from Oklahoma.  In Oklahoma, it is extremely common to have Indian ancestry.  Not so much the case anywhere else, but in Oklahoma, Native blood is more common than not in Oklahoma, especially amongst anyone whose family's been there a few generations.

      Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 06:55:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actual Cherokee heritage is not in question here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      Alfred Hitchcock used to refer to something he called "the Macguffin" in constructing his scripts. This was a plot turn that the characters in the dramas cared about but that the audience watching the movie would not. In "Psycho," for instance, the Macguffin is the money that is stolen in the beginning of the film. The stealing of the money sets other actions in motion but is not central to the actual, real plot of the movie.  

      The Macguffin of the MA Senate race is this non issue over Prof Warren's ancestral heritage.  Whether or not Warren has actual Cherokee ancestry means nothing. This is a polite way of refering to a bundle of topics that can't be raised under their own banner, such as class, gender and authenticity claims.

      Truth is not a defense here because this is not about the facts in this case.  If an ironclad document emerged that completely exonerated her, the controversy would not end. It is not about truth, it is about tribal, gender and class politics in MA.

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