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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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