[Note: Since I wrote this post, I have heard from other researchers on the Nansemond and Bass Facebook pages that some of this information -which has been widely accepted – is actually not as clear as one might wish. Specifically, I have been told that yDNA has proven that my ancestor Richard Basse’s descendants do not match the rest of John Basse’s descendants. Therefore, if you have a particular interest in this family, let me know, and I will direct you to more knowledgeable researchers. I do not plan to continue researching this line.]
Having traced my mother’s ancestral line back to John Basse’s wife, of the Nansemond Indian tribe, I was certainly curious as to whether this would show up in my DNA. When I got the report, there was no Native American DNA identified, but I know this happens often to people of Native American descent. The reason for this is that less and less of a specific ancestor’s DNA is passed on over time, so you may very well end up with none of it. There is a very tiny “unassigned” portion of my DNA (0.1%) that cannot be identified. I guess that is the Nansemond Indian portion, but I don’t know for sure and probably never will. The Native American ancestry did show up in my brother’s DNA.
The English immigrant John Basse, born in 1616, was brought to the New World as a child by his father, Nathaniel. John later married a Nansemond Indian chief’s daughter, Elizabeth, and kept a record in his prayer book that proves family relationships and provides insight into their sincere Christian faith. It’s a fascinating story that would make a great television show or movie and has been told quite well by Billy Pittard on his blog.
This is the family record that John kept in his prayer book: “John Basse was born ye 7 day of September in ye year of our Lord 1616 ye son of Nathll Basse and Mary his wife … he married Elizabeth dafter of Robin the Elder, King of ye Nansimuns kingdom, a Baptized xtian, in Holy Matrimonie accdg to ye Canons of ye Church of England, ye 14th day of August in the Year of our Blessed Lord 1638.”
My descent [was originally believed to be] from the immigrant John Basse (b. 1616),Richard Basse (b 1658), Thomas Bass (b 1719), Lucy Bass (b 1742), Joshua Nettles (b 1770), James Nettles (b 1796), Margaret E. Nettles (b 1831), Margaret Johnson (b 1871), and then my maternal grandfather. [However, I have since learned that Thomas Bass was not a son of Richard, therefore, not a grandson of John the Immigrant. I have been told that William Bass’s mother, Mary Burwell, was Native American.] The colorized photo is Margaret E. Nettles. With every generation, it seems they moved farther west until they ended up in Texas. As you can see, I am many generations removed from the Native American ancestor. Even if I don’t have Native American DNA, I’m proud they are part of my family.
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