Category Archives: Mystery Monday

Mystery Monday: Belle Brodie Returns!

bellbrodie-00

Before my unintentional hiatus from the blog and genealogy, I was working on a little mystery. It was actually quite fun and I’m eager to pick up where I left off.

This weekend, I received a discount in my e-mail to come back to Ancestry.com and I decided to go ahead and use the discount to upgrade to the World Membership for at least the 6 month term of that discount. With my World Membership I can see the Canadian census images now which really excites me.

If your memory is as fuzzy as mine, I posted previously that Ancestry hinted at some exciting news before my membership expired and my computer went nuts. Now is my first chance since August (WOW!) to look through those records except for trying to use indexes.

I’m going to show you a timeline of my Belle Brodie  info so we can all finally know who she was!

Abt. 1835 – Isabella Farris is born to John and Janet Farris in New Brunswick, Canada

1851 – Isabella Farris is enumerated with her parents and six siblings in Westminster, Ontario, Canada

Note: I should mention that Westminster is basically a neighborhood in the outlying part of London, Ontario. 

1861 – Isabella Brodie is still living in Westminster but now with her husband, a daughter and a son.

1866 – Bell Brodie writes a letter from London, Ontario to her dear cousin detailing a visit that her cousin’s mother is currently on.

1871 – Isabella’s family which includes her husband and daughter Jessie are enumerated as living in London, Ontario, Canada.

1881 – Hugh, Isabella and Jessie are still living in London, Ontario.

April 1882 – Jessie Brodie is married to Detroit resident Francis William John Peel.

Around 1886 – Hugh, Isabella and family including Jessie move across the border into Detroit.

1900 – Hugh, Isabella and their grand daughter Isobel Peel are now living in Detroit, Michigan.  Per this census, Isabella had 3 children with only one still living. I assume that is Jessie who is living in Springswells, Michigan with her husband and 3 other living children (Laura, Hugh, Margareth/Marjorie).  They live minutes away from each other.

1906 – Isabella’s husband Hugh dies in Detroit, Michigan.

1910 – A now widowed Isabella Brodie is living in Detroit with her two grand daughters, Isobel and Marjorie Peel. Also widowed, Jessie is living with her daughter Laura’s family.

1920 – Isabella is still living with grand daughter Isobel Peel. No sign so far of Jessie or Marjorie.

There are still tons of holes to fill in this timeline. I basically followed Isabella (Belle) down through her lifetime as I could find the records. Even knowing that she was born to John and Janet Farris, I haven’t quite linked her to my Ferris/Farris/Farish family. I just know that John Farris is about 4 years older than my Jane Ferris-Menzies and that they were both from Dumfries, Scotland. I’m going to try and track down some more records but I can’t even believe how far I’ve come so far when I started knowing so little!

My new goals with Belle Brodie are probably going to be low priority ones now that the information is getting harder to find. There is still plenty to find but it will take more effort. So I’m probably going to go ahead and make my research notes on this and pick it up less often until I can at least link John and Jane.

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie, Onwards and Upwards

bellbrodie-00

It’s that time again! I’m truly coming to enjoy spending my Sunday afternoons on the hunt for Bell. Then I can write about it for Monday!

I decided after last week, to just go ahead and search the Canada census in London, Ontario for a Bell Brodie to see what happened. I don’t have an Ancestry World Membership, so I’m making do with the FamilySearch indexes! No problem!

"Canada Census, 1871," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M47C-2BZ : accessed 25 Aug 2013), Isabella N Brodie, Ward 03, London, Ontario, Canada.
“Canada Census, 1871,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M47C-2BZ : accessed 25 Aug 2013), Isabella N Brodie, Ward 03, London, Ontario, Canada.

The birth year is estimated around 1835. If this is my Bell, that would put her as the right age to be a cousin of Jane Menzies-Love. Jane is the person who I originally believed to be the recipient of the letter.

I can’t get much more just from the indexes on FamilySearch until I transcribe who I believe to be in the household. I’m too pumped with what I’m doing to do that this second. I decided to keep going a little bit, just to see if it was worth the trouble. I went to Ancestry.com and just did a general search.

Ancestry.com simple search
Ancestry.com simple search

I just plugged in what I knew from the 1871 Canada census transcription. Isabella N Brodie and a birth year of 1835.

Ancestry.com Search results
Ancestry.com Search results

Results! I was very, very excited to see that the 1871 census came up along with the 1910 US Census. I was especially excited because it shows Isabella living in Detroit. I’ve got pictures in Llewellyn’s archives that have Detroit written on the back and I know family members traveled there also from her diary.

When I clicked on the 1910 census result to see what it said I was surprised and overjoyed with a few different things!

1910 US Census
1910 US Census
  1. The first thing that I noticed was that it showed Isabella’s parents were both of Scottish origin. Which fits perfectly with both the Menzies and Love side of the family.
  2. For some reason I can’t bring to mind immediately, the name Marjorie Peel is very familiar to me. I must have read it somewhere and not remembered where. {Note to self: You really should have taken better notes in the beginnning.}
  3. In the sidebar under suggested records I tried not to get too excited when I saw the 1851 Canada Census. It shows the name Isabella Ferris. Ferris being the maiden name of Jane Menzies-Love‘s mother!
Menzies/Ferris family
Menzies/Ferris family

My plan in my free time this week is to go through what I’ve found and organize it in a research notebook (digital and paper). There’s a lot of information coming in fast and furious now, so I don’t want to get so swamped in the search that I forget to properly document and makes notes from what I’ve found so far, if this is even my Bell. Though I’ve found some very interesting things already, so I’m leaning towards yes!

Previous Finding Bell Brodie entries:

  1. Finding Bell Brodie, the original letter
  2. Finding Bell Brodie, part 2
  3. Finding Bell Brodie, Canada edition

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie, Canada edition

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I had a pleasant surprise in my email on Sunday morning. It was from my long lost cousin, Grace. (I love calling her that for some reason :)) I have communicated with Grace over the past few years thanks to my blog bringing us together. We’ve shared a lot of information on our linked Menzies/Love connection over the years. Lucky for me, she had something to add to the mystery of Bell Brodie!

She sent me three different letter transcriptions. Then she suggested that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be looking in London, England for Bell, but London, Ontario, Canada! Before I even consulted anything else having to do with the mystery of where Bell Brodie belonged, I brought out the map.

Canada?
Canada?

Once I brought up the map, I let out a big old “oooooohhh!!” Not only did London fit what I was looking for, but in Bell’s letter she also mentions “Sister Hellen is going to be married next week she will live at Port Stanly”. SCORE! I see Port Stanley on the map.

As if I needed further coaxing, I decided to re-read the letter I thought might have also been written by Bell (I was wrong and that transcription is coming soon). That letter is from another cousin of Jennie who is writing from Glencoe. Which is also visible on the map if you look to the very far left.

So folks, it looks like this search is going to be taking place in Canada. Which I know exactly zero about. Looks like it’s time to learn a new area for me. Any tips on Canadian research that you think might help me find Bell Brodie?

Disclaimer: The map used is copyrighted to Google. They have awesome maps. I use them daily!

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie part 2

bellbrodie-00For the last few weeks, I’ve been jumping around a lot. I’ve been working on a billion things and not anything. Do you do that too? Always busy but never seem to get any one thing done. This weekend, I finally took some time to sit down and re-visit my Bell Brodie mystery. I didn’t expect to take such a big break but it was never far from my mind!

I don’t want to spend too much time running around in circles. I think it’s important to re-evaluate the things I picked out of the transcribed letter and make a plan before preceding.

  • Bell Brodie is writing to her “Dear Cousin”.
  • The letter is dated for September 1866 and is addressed from London.
  • Bell calls the person she is writing to, “Dear Jennie” in the middle of the letter.

Using these three clues, I’m planning to do a few things.

  1. I’m going to go through the Menzies/Love line of my family tree and match the year to a generation. This will help me decide if the Jennie mentioned is Jennie Love, Jane Menzies or Jean Farris. Lots of Jean/Jennie/Janes in the family!
  2. I’m going to use the 1861 and 1871 census to see if I can find a Bell Brodie, maybe in London. The letter doesn’t hint at Bell’s age. I figure once I estimate whose cousin she is, I’ll can have an age range at least.

The next clues were:

  • 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 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.

What this does for me:

  1. The only thing I can think of is using the “Alick” to help me identify Jennie. I’m assuming Alick is Jennie’s brother. I shouldn’t assume that but it won’t hurt to see if there is someone in the household of Jennie who fits.

The final thing I’m going to research from the first set of clues is this.

  • 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 mentions that she sailed up the Hudson River. Which means she traveled to New York. That also means that if I’m lucky, I can find her in a passenger list. I’ll search Castle Garden first and go from there!

Mystery Monday: Finding Bell Brodie

bellbrodie-00

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.

Mystery Monday: Samuel Redford

It’s been a long time since I had something to post on Mystery Monday, but this one is a doozy! Before my vacation, I wrote about ordering Samuel Redford and Frances Travis’ marriage record. Now on top of the Duckworth/Redford mystery, I have a tale of two marriage records apparently.

Before I realized I could see a copy of the marriage certificate online, I ordered a copy from the General Records Office. I didn’t receive it until Saturday, which I think is pretty speedy for a record from another country! Anyway, I was cooking when the mail was brought in, so I asked my father to open the record for me. It’s always fun seeing records through a non-genealogist eyes. He immediately zeroed in on the fact that Samuel Redford was listed as a widower. Which prompted a variety of discussions, the biggest one being my shock at his widower status.

I thought it was funny that this was the first time I was hearing this, especially since I had viewed the record on FindmyPast.co.uk after I ordered it. Sunday morning when I had a little more time to investigate, I brought up the computer record and the certificate to compare. That’s where the mystery comes in! To respect the copyrights of the records offices, I’m going to just show you a transcription. You’ll just have to trust me on the differences for now!

click for full size
click for full size

 

I changed the text color on the most significant differences on the records. You can see that on the transcription from Find my Past, it says Samuel is a bachelor and that Frances resides in Werneth. Frances’ residence makes much more sense in the FMP record since I’ve found her family’s census data for 1861, 1871, and 1881 all in Werneth. What I think might have happened when they copied the record down in the GRO (who knows when?) is that the record above Samuel and Frances’ got mixed up with theirs. You can’t tell from the GRO certificate since it only gives the one record, however on FMP I can see the full page. The other record lists the husband as a Widower and both spouses living in Hyde. So most likely a mixup happened somewhere, but it’s not a good thing when you’re researching your family tree from across the pond!

This does show that mistakes happen all the time in records and you should always double check things even from the most trusted of sources.

Mystery Monday: La Moss

If you’ve been following The Diary of Llewellyn, you’ve probably become aware that Llewellyn had a very good friend named La Moss. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s not her proper name but a nickname. However, this gives me no clue as to who La Moss was. It wasn’t until I was emailing with Grace, and she mentioned it, that I realized I hadn’t done an in depth search for La Moss. She was so involved in Llewellyn’s life that I feel I must figure out who she was!

I do have one clue:

La Moss's birthday

Maybe if I were in New Jersey at the church that Llewellyn attended, I’d be pouring over the February baptism books. I know they attended that same church groups from what Llewellyn writes in her diary. However, I’m in Maryland, with only my laptop to aid me at the moment.

Using my very well developed handwriting analysis skills. (If that’s what you could call them.) La Moss has a surname of Meuner! That’s definitely a good starting off point. However, my Ancestry membership ran out and I’m not renewing it right away. So we’ll see how things go over the next few weeks and hopefully I can try out the Library Edition of Ancestry sometime soon.

I have a feeling this isn’t going to be an easy find!

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