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Walterhill damI grew up feeling that Walterhill, Tennessee was my true home: the place where my roots were deepest. My maternal grandparents Ruth and Blackburn Batey lived at the crossroads of Jefferson Pike and Lebanon Road – which is arguably the heart of Walterhill. I lived the first five years of my life there, and it was my second home throughout childhood. In this area lived not only my grandparents, but also two sets of great grandparents, four sets of GG grandparents, two sets of GGG grandparents, two sets of GGGG grandparents, and three sets of GGGGG grandparents – not to mention an uncountable number of aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives. It remained the place where I felt most deeply connected until my grandmother Ruth Henderson Batey passed away at age 97 in 2008. Continue Reading »

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Charlton Ford 2009

Charlton Ford Cemetery in 2009

On a cloudy autumn day in 2009, Ernie Johns and I set out to find the Charlton Ford Cemetery where we both have ancestors. Ernie had last visited the cemetery in 1971 when he tackled the herculean task of documenting old family cemeteries across Rutherford County. He didn’t remember exactly where it was, Continue Reading »

A view of the family cemetery of Captain William Batey

A view of the family cemetery of Captain William Batey

This is the story of the final resting place of Captain William Batey, veteran of the Revolutionary War, progenitor of the Batey family of Rutherford County, Tennessee, and my GGGG grandfather. Continue Reading »

Oakwell Hall, ancestral home of the Batey/Batte/Batt family in Birstall, West Yorkshire, England

Oakwell Hall, ancestral home of the Batey/Batte/Batt family in Birstall, West Yorkshire, England

Genealogy is a kind of a personal treasure hunt – and in my ancestor, Captain William Batey, I struck gold. Below is a record of thirty generations of his ancestry (I have much more in my files). I owe the discovery of this treasure to William Addams Reitwiesner, the famed genealogist and one of the foremost authorities on medieval ancestry – who coincidentally happens to be a descendant of Captain Henry Batte, an early Jamestowne “Adventurer,” and therefore my distant cousin. Get ready to walk back in time to the meet the Kings of England, William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, and beyond. Continue Reading »

The following family history was originally written by my mother, Annette Batey Pittard on November 1, 1999, and updated by myself in 2014. Captain William Batey is the progenitor of the Batey family of Rutherford County, Tennessee with countless descendants living here today. He is my GGGG grandfather. I am descended from his oldest son, Christopher T. Batey, who was born to Captain William’s first wife Mary Betty. Most of Captain William’s descendants were born to his second wife, Ann Bass. Continue Reading »

Middle Tennessee Ancestor Map

Several years ago I started marking the precise locations of my ancestral homes and cemeteries on Google Maps. I maintain maps of several areas where my ancestors were concentrated. By far, the one with the most locations is my Middle Tennessee map. It’s pretty amazing to see most of my ancestry since 1800 so closely associated with one small area. This map includes both sides of my family. On this map, the latest of my ancestors arrived just after the War Between the States, and all else were here by the early 1800s.

Click here to see the map.

John Basse is my GGGGGGGGGGG Grandfather.

John Basse was born in London, England on September 7, 1616, the third of a dozen children born to Nathaniel and Mary Jordan Basse. Little could anyone know that this well-born English child would be the sole survivor of an enormous massacre in a far-away land, that he would be raised as a member of an Indian tribe, that he would marry an Indian princess, have eight children with her, live to the age of 85, and have countless descendants, many of whom would still tell his story four hundred years later. But he was born in a time of change, and this great adventure was his destiny.

Engraving of Pocahontas, 1616

Engraving of Pocahontas, 1616

Three months before John’s birth, the exotic Indian princess, Pocahontas and her English husband, John Rolfe arrived in England amid great fanfare along with the very first shipment of tobacco from a far away colony in a little-known place called Virginia. Only nine years earlier, the first intrepid band of English adventurers had established a settlement there called Jamestowne. It was to become the first permanent settlement of English speaking peoples in the New World.

John’s grandfather, Humphrey Basse and his brothers, William and Thomas were French Huguenots who immigrated to London during the reign of Elizabeth I seeking religious freedom. Humphrey married Mary Bouchier, daughter of Dominick and Genevieve Bouchier, also French Huguenots. Humphrey was an entrepreneurial man, first as a merchant haberdasher, and then as an investor and stockholder in the Virginia Company which financed settlements in Jamestowne, Virginia. Humphrey invested in the Third Charter of the Virginia Company signing as a founder on March 12, 1612. Continue Reading »