Descendants of the Great Dismal

Archives

As a Bass, I was born with one of the most recognizable “Nansemond names.” However, the Bass name was not associated with Nansemond ancestry until John Bass(e) (b. 1616), an English minister, married Elizabeth (b. 1618), a Nansemond woman and daughter of a Nansemond Chief, in 1638. Descendants of Elizabeth (my 9th great grandmother) have become some of the most researched Nansemond people; however, she was one of over a thousand who were… Read More

In genealogy, much of one’s time is spent learning the geographical and historical details of ancestral communities. I have written many articles about life on the Virginia/North Carolina state line, lifestyles, and infrastructure development that transformed the region–but researching these details was merely part of capturing evidence (knowing where to look and what type of records to look for). Throughout this process, I have learned many other details of personal importance that… Read More

When I first started researching my Camden County, NC ancestors it was clear that they had connections to the Nansemond community in Norfolk County, VA but it seemed like an impossible feat to demonstrate how the two groups of people were related. There were numerous individuals with the same names, same general places of birth and residence, and even the same approximate ages. Despite this complexity, I eventually learned to individuate conflated… Read More

The mid 1600s was a transformational period for the Nansemond people. After a series of violent conflicts between the Powhatan Chiefdom and English colonists, the Nansemond community was divided between those who chose to assimilate to a “Christianized” lifestyle and those who chose to remain “traditional.”1 As Nansemond people were displaced from their ancestral land (along the Nansemond River in present day Suffolk) through encroachment, the “Christianized” Nansemond shifted east toward Norfolk… Read More

This is my photo collection from the Nansemond Indian Pow Wow held at Mattanock Town on August 19, 2017. Kay Oxendine was the mistress of ceremonies with Dalton Lynch as arena director and Tatanka Gibson and Sierra Locklear as head dance staff. War Paint (Northern Drum) and Smokey River (Southern Drum) were the host drums for the event. It is worth noting the strong presence of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe (among event staff, singers, and dancers) at… Read More

This is my photo collection from the Nansemond Indian Pow Wow held at Mattanock Town (1001 Pembroke Lane, Suffolk, VA 23434) on August 20, 2016. The day before the event we visited Norfolk and Camden counties and, by traveling across U.S. Route 158 and up North Carolina Highway 32 (through Gates county), we were able to see all four corners of the Great Dismal Swamp before arriving in Suffolk for the Pow Wow.