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Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie


Every once and awhile, it’s really good to do something different in your research. I find it keeps me from getting burned out on my larger goals and lets me have a little bit of fun. I was on my way home from a frustrating day at the DMV when I decided I was going to find out once and for all who Bell Brodie is.

Bell Brodie Letter 1st and 4th pages
Bell Brodie Letter 1st and 4th pages
Bell Brodie Letter, 2nd and 3rd pages
Bell Brodie Letter, 2nd and 3rd pages

My first step is to gather what I can from the letter. I’ll probably have to come back to this letter and re-analyze it many more times. I hope that I’ll be able to find more nuggets of detail as I learn more. To start though, I want to just have something to get me jump started.

  • Bell Brodie is writing to her “Dear Cousin”.
  • The letter is dated for September 1866 and is addressed from London.
  • Bell mentions that “Your mother and Alick” were staying with Bell. She even addresses the woman staying with her as Aunt several times in the letter.
  • Bell calls the person she is writing to, “Dear Jennie” in the middle of the letter.
  • Bell mentions the fun they had when she sailed up the Hudson in New York. Though she says next that she wished Jennie and Alick had been there at the time.
  • Bell tells Jennie several things to tell Alick, making it seem like Alick is not present even though in the beginning she mentioned he’d been staying with her 10 days.
  • On the 3rd page, Bell mentions Jennie’s mother again and this time mentions “Allie/Attie/Altie” sending his love to Jennie and his father.
  • Bell mentions Sister Hellen is getting married the next week and will live at Port Stanly.

These are the more obvious clues I picked from the letter. I’m going to start with these and go from there. If you’ve picked out anything more obvious that can help identify Bell Brodie, please let me know! I welcome any assistance.

Without even consulting my family tree file, I also know this letter came from the records of my Great Grandmother Llewellyn. This means it’s connected to my paternal Moore/Thorward lines in the New Jersey and New York area.

I’m not in any rush for this project. What I’m really trying to do, is learn how to be smarter about all the information that I have on hand. I feel like I might be missing some vital information that’s hiding between the lines. It’s all part of the process on being a more experienced, and more advanced genealogy researcher.

Tech Tuesday: New printer, Epson Stylus NX625

Epson Stylus NX625

I made a decision and stuck with it, not like that whole not renewing thing. (I may or may not have renewed it at 11:30pm last night. I’m weak.) After researching too many printers then I should have the other day, I finally found my replacement. I decided on the Epson Stylus NX625. At first I was going to get my first choice, but in the time I took to think about it and when I decided to get it, the website had taken it off sale. Having decided that happened for a reason, I went back to the drawing board and was going to get the Epson Stylus 420. Upon further review, I noticed that the 625 was actually only $20 more expensive and I knew I had $10 in reward points I could use. So I went with the 625.

Here are the things I like about it:

  • It set up wirelessly so easily. It gave me a little trouble but I ended up hooking it up temporarily with a USB and setting it up. Once it was installed, I unplugged the USB, set up the wireless and nothing could stop me! All my computers now print to the one printer and I can have my desktop off and print from my laptop. That’s a big thing for me because I like to shut off my desktop and use my laptop when I want to actually focus on genealogy.
  • The print quality is much better then my previous printer! I didn’t see anything wrong with my previous printer’s quality. However, the new one is much crisper and faster then the old one.
  • The paper loading is much easier. There is a paper tray on the bottom that pulls all the way out so I can load the paper. My old printer didn’t have a tray. You just kind of laid the paper in place and hoped it was correct.
  • Double sided printing. This is by far my favorite thing. I can print on the front and back of the paper without doing anything but clicking a box! It’s beautiful and marvelous and fantastic all in one.
There aren’t many but there are a few drawbacks so far:
  • The price of the color ink is a bit high for my tastes, but so far I think it’s going to last longer then the old printer did. So I don’t mind paying a bit more. The high prices are even for the high capacity ink. So I have a feeling it will definitely be worth it.
  • The SD card doesn’t automatically transfer pictures. I can manually do it, but before when I inserted my memory card into the reader, Windows would pop up and ask if I’d like to import pictures. So while this isn’t a deal breaker, it might mean I transfer pictures a little less.
Overall, I think I made a good purchase and I can’t wait to dig in and finally print out some things I haven’t been able to!
Note: I was not asked to write this review. I was not compensated by either company to write this review.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Bedroom

There is no better way to jump back into these prompts then with my childhood bedroom story!

Week 19. Bedroom. Describe your childhood bedroom. What furniture did it contain? Were there curtains, wallpaper or paint? Was it messy or clean? Did you share a room with your siblings?

I did indeed share my bedroom with a sibling. When I was in Kindergarten, the trailer we were renting was hit by lightning. I don’t think I remember much except my My Little Ponies burned up and that I was sharing the room with my sister and maybe even my brother. I can’t really remember and I’d have to ask my mother.

After that happened, we moved into the trailer that we would live in for the rest of my childhood. It was only a 3 bedroom trailer and not very big at all but it was what we had. I shared the middle bedroom with my older sister for many many years. I remember that we had stuffed two beds into the room but there was practically no room left after that. There was a built in dresser and closet. Part of the room was taken up by the hall “closet” which housed the furnace. I don’t actually remember our furnace ever working though. We always used kerosene heat from what I remember. A few years after we moved in, our neighbor was getting rid of his bunk beds and we immediately forced him to give them to us… Okay, so he was my brother’s best friend and he offered them. We needed them desperately though! So that’s when I think we started getting some breathing room in our shared environment.

The whole trailer had wood paneling on the walls the whole time we lived there. A few years before the trailer was taken out by a tree, we had started rehabbing it. Taking the paneling down and putting up sheetrock. We never painted the paneling, but I will admit to wallpapering them at one point… with my Teen BOP posters. I’m pretty sure Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Devon Sawa were my wallpapers. Every month I’d rip some down and add some new ones. I was obsessed!

Sometime when I was in middle school, I think about the seventh grade, my brother made a huge decision and moved to Miami for love. He did it quietly and quickly. He bought his ticket and said I’m going! He packed his clothes and said goodbye to his bedroom… I let him get a mile down the road before I said, “IT’S MINE!” You have to understand. We were two teenage girls living in the same space, it was a necessity! I had to do it or one of us was going to kill the other. There was of course a hold on the room. If my brother came home with his tail between his legs, then the room was still his. Luckily for both of us, things worked out for him in Miami. Not the love thing, but life did and that’s just fine too!

I got even luckier when he left his room as he did, because he left it with his stereo, television, and computer. I had a computer all to myself! I remember when the internet hit our house. My brother was kind of a genius with computers from the beginning. He built his own first computers. Now he finds it easier to just buy them and upgrade them, but at the time it was extraordinary. We were all relieved when he built his computer because he was always on our family computer. Of course, I didn’t know what to do on a computer at the time anyway. There wasn’t much out there. I actually think when he left for Miami was right around the time I first started making websites on my own. Just flying by the seat of my pants, learning as I went.

So that’s the story of my childhood bedroom(s)!

Early Follow Friday: One Lovely Blog Award

I’m so late with this, and I apologize for that! I swear forgetfulness didn’t use to be a part of my daily life. I just get so caught up in what I’m doing that sometimes until I find a little post it note to remind me, some things get set aside for a bit. I’ve been busy preparing for Grandpa Moore’s arrival next week, and I’m going to have jury duty within the next month. I’m trying to get myself back on track and on schedule!

Recently, I was awarded the One Lovely Blog Award by two fellow bloggers! First from Joanne at Keeper of the Records and then from Jennifer at The Erudite Genealogist! I can’t express how excited I am that other people are enjoying what I put into this blog. My main reason for starting this blog was to keep my family connected on the things I was doing. Having others enjoy it is a great side effect! It’s also great because I enjoy both of their blogs!

Here are the rules that Joanne posted on her blog.

  1. Add the logo to your blog.
  2. Link to the person whom you received this award.
  3. Nominate 7 or more blogs.
  4. Leave a message on their blog, letting them know they are “One Lovely Blog”!

I’m going to add the logo onto my sidebar sometime today but now it’s time for the fun part. My 7 picks!

  1. Begin with Craft – Love her blog! Valerie’s blog is what I hope mine also is. Just a little way of sharing how I’m learning and an “as I go through it” look at learning this whole genealogy thing.
  2. Little Bytes of Life – My favorite part is her weekly posts with little tidbits from different spectrums. News, Blogs, Pop culture. She follows it all!
  3. Marian’s Roots and Rambles – It’s rare that I don’t learn something or at least feel like I’m engaged in what Marian Pierre-Louis is writing!
  4. Nutfield Genealogy – I love all Heather’s posts. I’m fascinated by the aspects of history that I never learned in school. I love the way Heather takes news articles or historical events and relates them to her family.
  5. The You Go Genealogy Girls – This is such a fun blog to read. I was reading some back entries here when I realized, “Hey she has a research notebook, I should make a research notebook!” That sounds simple, but I’ve never made a list or grouping of what I’d like to research. I was flying by the seat of my pants! Well, not anymore, the notebook is now being constructed with an Excel file to boot!
  6. The Family Recorder – Audrey Collins is a great resource for British genealogy. I should hope so since she works at The National Archives of the UK! Since I’m just learning about some English roots, I’ve often referred back to some tips and information she’s written about.
  7. Greta’s Genealogy Blog – Last but not least by any means! Greta’s blog is a lot of fun. I particularly enjoy her What I Learned Wednesday posts. Most times, it’s something that I can stand to learn or acknowledge too!

So there’s my 7! If you aren’t already reading these, what are you waiting for?

Tombstone Tuesday: Trinity Church Cemetery

Here are some pictures from the cemetery at Historic St. Mary’s City.

Not only did I learn about the past this weekend, but I learned about the present too. It seems our Maryland House of Delegates member, John Bohanan, can say his family has been in this county for a very long time!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Movies

Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

Movies are probably the thing I’ve loved the longest. We’ve always been a movie family. We celebrate birthdays and holidays by having movie nights. My first job was actually working with my Mom in a locally owned video rental store. That store eventually sold their business to Movie Gallery, who subsequently got rid of all the stores. That’s alright, the video rental business isn’t going to be around much longer. Everything is going digital and I guess our original owner was smart enough to get out while the getting was good!

Yes I even made a scrapbook when I was leaving, I wanted to remember my special friends! Sadly, a lot of my regular customers are no longer living so it’s really nice to have a piece of them still with me!

There is a downside to working in a video store though. Eventually, you kind of burn out on watching the movies. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to sit back and watch a good movie. Only now, I tend to watch them less often and from the comfort of my living room. Usually through pay per view or I’ll buy the DVD. After so many years of feeling the need to know all the movies and trivia, I’ve kind of gone on movie hiatus. Don’t get me wrong, I was good at it! I had customers coming in for recommendations and I was able to know what movies they were looking for by the very fragmented details they gave. Once I left the job though, I kind of backed away from that. It is a little sad, but gosh I really appreciate movies more now.

As for actual movie theaters, we do have a small 6 screen theater “in town”. I remember seeing a lot of movies in that theater. However, it’s gotten very run down and it’s not in a great part of town. Over the years, I don’t think much maintenance has been done either. For some reason, this over-populated town hasn’t gotten a new theater though the citizens are screaming for one! Literally. No one quite knows whats happening there, but it’s sad. I might see movies in a theater more often, if I had a more comfortable theater to go to. Right now we trek all the way to the Arundel Mills Mall movie theater which is close to two hours away. We really only go that far for the big ones, like Harry Potter. 🙂

My favorite movies haven’t changed. I used to watch them at work all the time. Newsies, The Little Mermaid, Empire Records, American Outlaws, Gone with the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music. I could really go one. That’s another side effect to having seen all those films. You really grow attached to them. Right now what I really love are mini series. I don’t understand why they aren’t more popular. When I first got into Genealogy, Mom bought a used copy of Roots so I could see that. Since then I’ve replaced it with the anniversary DVD. I also love North & South, Band of Brothers and Taken.

I guess I should have warned you I can tend to run on about movies!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Fearless Females: Heirlooms

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

I took a few days off, and since I don’t have a recipe to share for March 7th, I decided to use the March 6th prompt. The heirloom that comes to my mind is one I’ve talked about before.

“The tree”. The one that started it all. This is what my Grandma brought with her on that fateful visit when I was in the eighth grade. The blue is the family tree and the other binder is the picture companion to the family tree.

The first page in the binder shows the numbers 3-2 written above the couple.

Then you line that up with the 3-2 in the family tree. Now there is a bit of confusion because the Webb and Taylor sections both have 3-2s. I don’t know how that happened but the Webb line fizzles out very quickly in the tree. It’s very obvious this tree was done from the Taylor perspective. I don’t know if it’s legible from the picture but Mollie Jane Webb married George Thomas Taylor. So that’s where the lines connect. Not much is known beyond Mollie’s generation on the Webb side. After consulting the tree, the couple in the first picture is Marshall Howard Taylor and his wife Lula Applegate. I faintly remember Grandma telling me that this picture might have been from their wedding day.

The picture book goes all the way through the descendants. My grandmother gathered pictures of as many Taylors as possible. Here’s the page dedicated to my Mom and her kids. That’s me in the red shirt there at the bottom. My family is used to me posting their pictures all over creation. For the sake of my other family members privacy, I won’t show you the others.

What’s also great is there are little mementos among the pages. There are articles of newspapers, obituaries, birth announcements.

I love both books. I’m so happy that they eventually found their way to me. I like to take them out and look through the pictures every once and awhile. It’s fun to match the names and faces.

Fearless Females: What’s in a Name?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love writing prompts. I wouldn’t be lying to say I excelled at essay questions in school. Give me a question and a blank piece of paper and I’m ready! Of course, I’m not sure my teachers needed a full page on some of those subjects, but that’s what I gave them none the less.

So to start off, I was not named after anyone in my family. Partly to blame is the fact that I was born before there were “spoilers” in the birthing room. So my Momma was completely positive I was going to be a boy. Thanks for that Mom. ha. Being that she was so sure that I was going to be a boy, she had a name picked out for me. I was going to be Matthew Thorward. Since I’m not Matthew, my Mom and Dad had to scramble for a name. The doctor who delivered me suggested a good irish name of Kathleen and my mom chose my middle name. That my friends is the story of my name and how it came to be.

When I started doing my research, I ran into a lot of Marys, Elizabeths, Jennifers and Janes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those names but then I came across names like Llewellyn, Emogene, and Hazel. Once I started researching back further in the Kentucky side of my family tree, some other interesting names came up. These names were interesting to me, but they weren’t unique to the area at the time. These names taught how even back in the 1800s, there were changes in name popularities. Names like Arminda, Clarazene, Dulcena, and Effie were all very popular in the rural Kentucky area that I was researching. Maybe they are all linked to my family in some way, maybe not. These names were all a little different though.  Now if I could only figure out the 100% real name of Zeroah Black-West on my Mom’s side of the tree, I might get somewhere on that side of the family research!

Note: Yes, I added the picture of the unknown baby photo because I backed out of posting my own baby picture. While I was unable to post my own baby picture, I have no conscience when it comes to posting other peoples.

Fearless Females- Picture Time!

Here’s the March 2nd prompt for the month of Fearless Females posts!

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

I’m very excited to share this photo. I was contacted by another Love relative this week. His grandmother Belle is the one to the right of my great-great grandma Jennie there in the middle. I love this picture because it’s helped me to identify her in other photos! I’m going to get a batch together to send to him this afternoon. I might have to go through my box and scan some before I send. The other woman in the picture is their other sister Agnes. So if I lost you for a moment there from left to right this photo shows: Agnes Love-Wambough, Jennie Love-Thorward, and Belle Love-Leonard. What a great lineup!

I chose this photo because I love to see new pictures that I’ve never seen before. I just can’t express how grateful and appreciative I am that I have found some great contacts and friends through researching my genealogy. This website has opened doors for me that I never would have been able to open otherwise. So thank you to everyone who has contacted me through here and most especially to Grace Leonard who has put the word out and sent my website to so many of her contacts too! Another special thanks to the sender of this picture Rick Mcgaw!

Fearless Females: Playing Favorites

I’m participating in Women’s History Month writing prompts during the month of March! I love writing prompts because they give you a subject to write about that you might not have thought of yourself. These prompts were thought of by Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist.

March 1st: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I think I do a very good job of hiding my undercover preference for my Great-Grandmother Llewellyn Thorward-Moore. Okay, so I don’t hide my obvious preference well. It doesn’t matter. I couldn’t tell you why I feel so connected to her. It might be because I never got to know her, but everyone around me has such warm memories of her. Even when I receive emails from long lost cousins, they tell me all the great memories they have of Llewellyn. I also have learned a lot about her through her records and pictures.

I’ve learned so much about her that I don’t think I could really pin down anything that I’d want to learn. Through her notes, correspondence, photos, and other’s memories I’ve learned more about her then I can ever imagine. Most special to me was seeing genealogy notes. She had obviously been trying to figure out her own family tree from what I can tell. I have her wedding gift registry which gives me the names, addresses, and gifts received for her 1926 wedding to William L Moore. There are little notes about all the milestones from my Grandpa’s early years. Llewellyn left a perfect trail for me to follow in researching her life. I just wish I could say the same about her grandfather! ha.

Really my future goals for researching Llewellyn is just to continue to pour through her journal and documents to get a glimpse into what her life was like. I also hope to continue to hear stories about her from my father and his sisters. They have great stories about growing up with her and William!

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