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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.

10 Years Ago…

This domain was purchased by my brother and I started this crazy, genealogy journey! The website has changed servers many times and I’ve come a long, long way in the area of web design. (Follow the link for a look back at the cosmetic changes to the site.)

It might have only been the last 3 years that I’ve been “blogging” but this site has been around on this domain for 10 years now! I’ve been working on a new design behind the scenes and now that the Diary of Llewellyn has concluded, I’ll devote a lot more of my time to that.


Hopefully I’ll have some updates soon on everything I’ve been up to. All including researching, organizing, learning and quilting! Lots of stuff!

Diary of Llewellyn: The End



Llewellyn’s diary might have ended on May 28th of 1925, but her life didn’t. Neither did her penchant for documenting her life and the lives of those around her.

On June 12, 1926, Llewellyn married William Lawrence Moore at her parents house at 75 Westville Avenue in Caldwell, New Jersey.

written on the back: "Llewellyn on her wedding day"

written on the back: “Llewellyn on her wedding day”

Newspaper article on the marriage

Newspaper article on the marriage

The diary even makes the wedding article so much richer. Now I know that Willa Steinhoff, who was mentioned throughout the diary, served as her maid of honor. I know that Llewellyn’s dear cousin, Marguerite from Suffern was the flower girl. Roswell was also mentioned frequently, often walking Llewellyn home from church meetings. He served as an usher with Llewellyn’s brother, George. Even better, he gets a last name of Winans now. Ernest Smith was also mentioned a few times and he sang at the wedding.

4 years after Llewellyn and William were married, they welcomed their only child, my grandfather, William Thorward Moore.

William T Moore birth announcement

William T Moore birth announcement

After their son’s birth starts Llewellyn’s very, very active hobby of photographing her son.

William with his grandparents (6 months, 16 days)

William T Moore with his grandparents (6 months, 16 days)

Yes, she was always that specific with his age!

William and Llewellyn

William Lawrence Moore and Llewellyn Thorward-Moore

They would live a long, happy life together. William would give them five grandchildren. Tragically one of those grandchildren was killed in an accident. That shook the family but Llewellyn and William were able to make sure their other grandchildren knew that their grandparents were there for them. Taking them on summer trips and making sure they had what they needed.

William worked at AT&T for over 30 years before he retired. Llewellyn was devoted to the Methodist Church her whole life, and it’s one of the characteristics I hear about the most from people I meet. I never knew William or Llewellyn but I can tell they’re my kind of people. Even though they had no idea if their children or grandchildren would be interested in it, they kept a record of their lives. I don’t know why Llewellyn chronicled that 3 years of her diary without fail. I just know because of it, I can get a glimpse of a woman I never knew. Through the writings and photographs, I’ve been able to grow the family tree.

Sometimes I look at the things that survived, and I know I probably could have found those branches of the family tree eventually. It just wouldn’t have been as cool as finding it written on the back of a diner menu.



My plan for the diary entries is to move them to their own section of the website. There I can make an index, add pictures and links back to my database. I tried to do that during the initial transcription but at the rate Llewellyn was writing, I just couldn’t keep up with the pictures! I’ll be working on that and when it’s ready, I’ll make sure and let everyone know to get it linked to from the main website! I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Llewellyn as much as I have!