It started with a love of family and history, and it’s a journey that Robert Lindsay has been taking for over 50 years.
He started a job in Washington, D.C. with the US Department of Health and Human Services, and during his lunch break on work days he found himself perusing the National Archives. It is there that the Sampson native took the first steps to glean information about his great grandfather who fought during the Civil War. That research gave him the desire to dig further.
Lindsay is now going even deeper than that in his research, and he’s seeking help locally, as he focuses on a book about his mother’s side of the family — the Bass family. He became interested on piecing together her side of the family after a chance meeting with a cousin, Ronald Lindsay who, he said, found out he was working on researching the Lindsay side of the family using the state’s archival records.
Robert Lindsay happened to find this out while at a family reunion at Goshen United Methodist Church, where the two ended up getting together and comparing notes on what they had both been compiling.
“I was born and raised in Goshen,” said Lindsay in a telephone interview Wednesday. “My father ran Buddy Lindsay’s General Merchandise.” Lindsay found himself traveling after graduating from school, spending some time at Louisburg Junior College and in the Navy, as well as graduating from East Carolina University.
“My job required me to transfer,” said Lindsay. “I have lived in many, many places.” When Lindsay started working on his projects, way before the dawn of computers, he had to rely on whatever resources he could get locally.
“I do use the computer some,” pointed out Lindsay. He generally sticks to his local resources, though, a place he said he can pull paper copies of what he is searching for. He uses that hard copy resource to confirm what he gathers online or elsewhere, and he said that he makes a point to double check his work.
“Ancestry.com has lots of info,” he said. “Make sure as possible that it is bonafide.” When starting one of these searches he recommends that the researcher start locally using their family and local library to figure out a good place to start. Interviewing relatives can be a beneficial source of information, and even though some of what one may glean has the potential to be here-say, there is always the possibility that what was once thought fiction could become verifiable fact.
Sometimes that search can lead to finding out something most unexpected, and for Lindsay, hat happened during this search for the Bass family legacy. Lindsay started this search three or four years ago, and he has come across some very interesting information about his family.
“I had an ancestor who came over from England, a Captain Nathaniel Bass,” said Lindsay. Bass sailed out of England and landed at Jamestown, on the Virginia coast. Lindsay said that if you go up the James River, you will come to an area called Basse’s Choice, which became a plantation. The plantation came about through a King’s Grant, which was put into place during colonial times, in approximately 1609.
“Later, on March 22, 1622, Captain Bass returned to England for supplies, and while he was gone some Nansemond Indians invaded the area where Bass’s family was living. In this time period, the Nansemond Indians killed many on the East Coast of Virginia, said Lindsay and 54 members of the Bass family were wiped out. Almost the entire family was killed, except one, who happened to be the 8-year-old son of Captain Nathaniel Bass. The boy’s name was John and he was taken by the Indian tribe.
“When Nathaniel returned (from England), the Indians wouldn’t return (John),” said Lindsay. The Indians kept John from his father until John was 21.
“John married an Indian chief’s daughter,” said Lindsay. Her Christian name was Elizabeth Tucker. After they married, they had seven children together, and some of those children ended up coming south to North Carolina.
“They came to the Berkley, Duplin, and Nash County (areas),” said Lindsay. They ended up settling around the Rocky Mount area.
Even with all the headway he has made with the Bass family history, Lindsay has had his share of disappointment in his research. In fact, his research of the Lindsay family recently hit a stumbling block, he said, where he has had a hard time getting his research to go beyond the Sampson County area. Despite that Lindsay is still working on the project and he is also utilizing DNA to establish relationships with other family members in Nash County. The Lindsay family is from Scotland, he added, but he hasn’t been able to get as far back as those Scottish ancestors yet.
“Keep pushing and don’t give up,” stated Lindsay of his attempts to research the Bass family. “I have been doing it for 50 years and haven’t given up yet. Anything is worth finding, even if it is a needle in a haystack.”
Lindsay is planning on wrapping up his book on the Bass family history this year, and he said that he has hopes to know sometime in late April after a reunion when the book will be finished and released.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.