finding your roots

Genealogical Sleuthing

Donna Brodie March 21, 2012

I love this picture of my Great Grandfather because up until the year of 1999, (When I was 33 years old) I didn’t even know my GG Grandfather’s name. I didn’t know where my paternal GG Grandfather was from. I didn’t even know that he existed.
My Nephew Ulysses (12 at the time and since deceased) had a Genealogy project due for his History class. He came to me for help and I was unable to help him past the second generation on both the paternal and maternal sides of the family. I questioned my parents and got nowhere. My Father told me that he thought his Grandfather’s name was Guy Brodie and that he died long before he was born. I was at a standstill, because I couldn’t go to my Grandfather (My Dad’s, Father) for information because he passed back in June of 1985.
To make a long story short, after 10 years of research, I not only found out who he was and from where he came, but I found a picture of him as well. I never thought I would see his handsome face or know much about him. Much to my surprise… I have tons of info, dating back to 1754. (I am still researching…)
Guy Brodie was born a slave in 1862 to Alfred Brodie b. 1830 (slave) and Margaret Corley Brodie b. 1823. Guy’s father Alfred was born to Thomas Brodie (b.1807, white, slave master’s brother) and Violet Kitchings Brodie (b. 1810/12 Slave). Guy was born on Oakgrove Plantation in Kitchings Mills (Aiken County) South Carolina. Guy Brodie could read and write and worked on a train. He married Mahulda Scott b. 1878. (Mulatto, could pass for white) They moved to Cook County, Chicago Illinois in 1898 to start their family. During their travels from SC to Chicago, Mahulda, his wife had to pretend that Guy was her servant to keep him safe from harm. They had seven children and a decent home in Chicago. Guy Brodie died May 6th 1913 to Stomach Cancer.
Mahulda Scott Brodie moved back to South Carolina shortly after Guy’s death to be near her family. Seven years later she remarried. This is why no one had much information about Guy Brodie. She took on her new husband’s last name and started a new life in Philadelphia. Her children kept Guy’s last
name, “Brodie” but left the history and name “Guy Brodie” buried in South Carolina.
Guy’s photo means a lot to me because my genealogical sleuthing paid off, BIG TIME. Funny thing is, my oldest Brother looks a lot like Guy. (The family resemblance is strong!) Just to see him and know about him makes me proud to be his GG grand-daughter. I know his soul must have sung the day I found him.

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  • Donna

    March 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Too bad the picture of my Grandfather wont load up! :(

  • unicornwasp

    March 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    this is a great story, donna. i have found a few ancestors’ pictures on the internet, and it’s an amazing surprise.

  • Celia Suarez

    March 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Well it’s sad to say I don’t have much of story to tell. I am 42 years old and my dear father recently passed away 02/08/2012. He was the youngest of 20 children and his mother passed away in Cuba of a massive heart attack when he was 2 years old, as he was told by his older sister who still lives in Cuba. My father name is Roberto Suarez and was born in Baracoa Cuba (he was not sure what year) but the year he actually used was 1939. He came to the US in March of 1959 the year Fidel Castro took over he quickly became a Merchant Marine and a US citizen. As children in grade school working on a family tree was never easy for us, son his side of the family. My father could not tell us or name his older brothers and sisters. He was alone at a very young age. I am so curious even more so now that he is gone. We did find out that his father was from Spain and some of his siblings were half brothers and sisters. He has one living sister in Cuba named Susa and brother Jose in Jacksonville Florida. My fathers mother was from the Dominican Republic, her name was Angela Cheda. I am hoping that someone out there recognizes the name and can help me complete the missing pieces from the family tree.

  • March 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Donna, that’s a great story! Your sleuthing skills really paid off!

  • Kathleen

    March 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I love your last sentence…
    “I know his soul must have sung the day I found him.” How poetic!

    I felt the same way a couple of times in my research and I feel a special connection to them. Thanks for sharing!

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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