Since I don’t have any research at a point that I can write about it, I thought I would put together what I have learned about using my cellphone camera to digitize a picture or document and my trying the system out on some daguerreotypes.

I am very lucky in having a small (I think the number is 32 or 36) collection of family daguerreotypes.  For several years now I have been periodically thinking about how to protect them in storage and how to digitize them without harming them.  For now at least I solved the storage issue with an archival carton and trays that fit inside (made for storing other objects but with dividers making sections about the right size for one of the cased images).

I still have trouble with the distinction between a daguerreotype and an ambrotype, and am not sure I can reliably tell the difference (they are two different methods of producing a photographic image) and I think that at least some of what I have are ambrotypes.  There is also some possibility that there is a cased tintype or two as well.  Nonetheless, my concerns are the same in terms of protecting in storage and in terms of digitizing.  These are unique original images, either printed on a silver plate or on glass, or possibly on iron.

If you go searching on the Internet about digitizing daguerreotypes, there is a fair amount of opinion and information, although you have to dig some to find any real detail about how to do it.  I gather some people have a way to use a scanner and others use cameras.  I decided to try combining what I discovered about using my cellphone to photograph things like business cards and documents with the cell phone (or iPad).  It is an ingenious concept that works very well for many documents and pictures.

Some time ago I ran across a genealogy blog (perhaps reported on a Facebook group) that posted a simple technique that seemed like even I could use it.  If you’re interested in what I think is the first report of using this method, it is here.  The basics involve a wire mesh locker shelf which has holes about an inch across and which stands about a foot high.  You simply place your cell phone or iPad with its camera directly over an opening and put the item to be photographed or scanned below it.  Both blogs I just mentioned show clear pictures of the set-up.  I particularly like the genealogist’s refinement of using the voice command to take the picture, so you don’t have to touch the camera possibly creating movement.

There are some limitations to using this particular method over a standard copy-stand.  You cannot use a camera (unless it doesn’t have an extending lens) so you are restricted to what your phone or tablet can do.  Likewise, the height above what you are copying is fixed, so you have to use the camera’s zoom to focus on smaller objects and you can’t copy oversize books, pages or pictures.  I have a much shorter rack that is similar, sitting about 3 inches above the surface which is good for small images (business cards for example).

copystand work aroundWhen I started to test this set-up with my daguerreotypes, I found that even in daylight with no flash I was getting reflections because of the glass coverings.  So then I remembered the advice to use a piece of cardboard covered with black velvet and a hole for the lens, so I dug out a couple of scraps of black velvet (I have lots of scraps because I usually don’t throw pieces away when I have made something).  And voila!  This seems to work well and now all I have to do is figure out which to use the short stand for and which to use the taller one for.  This is what my set-up looks like with the taller stand.

Having at least temporarily figured out a way to digitize the collection as it is, I plan to eventually contact the Northeast Document Conservation Center which is conveniently located not too far from me about whether they can advise me about cleaning, preserving, more professionally digitizing, etc. this collection.  I have also joined the Facebook group for The Daguerreian Society and am enjoying learning and seeing many different images.  I don’t know that I will join those who collect them as objects but I do love having my collection of family images.

I can’t believe that June is here already!  Peony - 2015 05 31And our weather recently has been just gorgeous.  I’m making it a point to notice and enjoy the sun and the moderate temperatures.  As you can see, my peony is just about to burst into bloom.

I have continued to add to my side of the cousin residences list but haven’t finished that project.  Turns out that there are a lot of city directories available for Syracuse in the time period we’re looking at.  I also did listen to the audio version of My Promised Land and learned a lot about Israel and its history.  Fascinating, and it kept me listening during my commute for several weeks.  I have been thinking but not doing anything about planning for a research trip to Salt Lake City.

So, in June, I plan to:

1. create a new page of my favorite books, those I have read recently and found helpful in some way with my genealogy research and understanding my families.

2.  start listing/writing what I want to look for in Salt Lake City.  I particularly hope to be able to track some of my English Denman family, and to acquire images for some of the vital records of direct ancestors I haven’t been able to get online.

3.  make a plan for the blog for July.  Since I will be gone the first two weeks, I need to plan ahead and (hopefully) have posts ready to go before I leave.

4.  something that counts as organizing my genealogy files.  I haven’t figured out what yet, but am going to re-watch the video that Dear Myrtle and Cousin Russ put out about researching a single record group.  Perhaps I will take a similar tack and try cleaning up a single record group across all my surnames instead of starting with a surname and cleaning all of it up.  That might make sense

My father, like some others with the Salt surname, wanted to believe that he was related to Sir Titus Salt.  In my father’s case I think he was attracted not merely to the title of this Englishman, but to his history as a businessman and builder of a relatively enlightened community for his employees.  My father, educated at Antioch College, was very interested in co-operative and other innovative work settings.

He got more interested in the family name as he got older – as is true for many people.  He had been raised on family stories, but mostly not stories about his Salt family.  However, that was the name of his father, and the name he carried, and the name he was passing to his sons (not to mention his daughters), and so he was interested.


By Illustration from Harper’s Monthly, vol. 44, 1872. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Titus Salt (1803-1876) was an industrialist, a manufacturer of textiles in Yorkshire, England.  He eventually built a mill and then a model village, named Saltaire, in Yorkshire near Shipley.  He was also an MP and held a variety of civic offices.  He was created a Baronet in 1869.

Unfortunately, it is not at all certain that Titus was related to our Salt family, and he was certainly not a direct ancestor.  Our Salt progenitor, Edward, was in Virginia before the American Revolution and likely born sometime between about 1750 and 1760.  While the family myth does include the possibility that he was from someplace in Yorkshire, there is no evidence of his birth or his parentage as of yet.  By these tokens (and by his birth date of 1803) Titus could only be a collateral relative and the common ancestor would have been probably 2 generations back at least.  I wish I knew.

Despite there being a number of books, pamphlets, and other resources that give information about Titus Salt, there is only a little to be found (at least at a distance) about his family origins.  His father was Daniel Salt and his mother Grace Smythies.  Titus was born in 1803 in Morley, Yorkshire, England.1  Daniel and Grace (both born about 1781) were married in July 1802 so Titus was their first child.2  Daniel and Grace went on to have at least five other children, only one of whom was another son.  They seem to have gone back and forth between Church of England and non-conformist or independent churches, with the children showing christenings in several different places.

Daniel was probably born in 1780 or 1781, to a Titus Salt.  There is a christening in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1781 that is likely to be him.3  His father, Titus, is harder to follow but seems to have married more than once and to have died in 1804 in Hunslet and to have been buried at St. Peter’s in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.   This Titus, reported variously by family trees online to have been born between 1724 and 1750, would be about the right generation to have been a sibling or cousin of my ancestor Edward.  However, so far there is no sighting of any siblings or parents for this Titus.  There is a will for this Titus, which is held at the National Archives at Kew that I have not yet seen.

The later-Sir Titus and his father worked together in textile manufacturing for a brief time, and then Titus moved out on his own.  He was reportedly a very private man about his personal life and most of what has been written about him is related to his development of textile manufacturing and his creation of the model village of Saltaire between 1850-1871.  Saltaire was designed by architects and laid out to include the basic necessities of life.  It was “on the River Aire about three miles from Bradford, on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, and below the traditional recreational area for Bradford people, Shipley Glen.” 4

The village of Saltaire in Yorkshire has been thought to be the namesake of Saltair in Clermont county, Ohio where our Salt family line settled and built a large house.  This is another family myth I think.  I don’t know when Saltair in Ohio was named but the house was finished in about 1825 or so, long before Titus Salt had built his village.


  1. “England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 May 2015), Tittus Salt, 09 Nov 1803, Baptism; citing p. 138, Morley, Yorkshire, record group RG4, Public Record Office, London.
  2. “England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 May 2015), Daniel Salt and Grace Smithies, 02 Jul 1802; citing , reference ; FHL microfilm 1,470,313.
  3. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index,  FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 May 2015), Daniel Salt, 26 Jul 1781; citing SAINT PETER,LEEDS,YORK,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 918,375.
  4. Reynolds, Jack.  1976.  Saltaire. An Introduction to the Village of Sir Titus Salt.  City of Bradford Metropolitan Council Art Galleries and Museums.

First, what I managed to do in April:  I finished the new family tree for the wedding that will happen the end of May.  Yay!!  I learn something each time I do one of these.  And I get distracted by trying to find the family tree image I want to be able to create: I think it would look like a bow-tie chart except the very middle would be the new couple not a child, with then the groom’s and bride’s families expanding out on each side.  I also want to figure out a way to make something like this visually appealing and keep thinking of scrapbooking as one possibility.  Or learning enough computer graphics programing to make my own bow-tie report that could be filled in with any group of people.  Five years ago, Janet Hvorka’s site for family charts included an option to make your own and save it as a pdf (so only 8.5 x 11 but you could include graphic backgrounds and save the tree information).  This is no longer available which is too bad for me.  I had managed (for the first family wedding that I wanted to do it for) to create just such a bow-tie and save it on a decorative tree background.

In May I want to:

1.  combine the timelines a cousin and I are working on of where the various family lines were living from the time they each emigrated to the U.S.  We’ve each done work on our own family lines, but want to combine them.  These are lines where various siblings and cousins migrated and lived near each other.  With any luck we’ll get a good list and be able to create a map showing each family’s locations across time.

2.  listen to all of the audiobook version of Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land which Judy gave good reviews.

3.  begin to pull together the items I want to look for in Salt Lake City.  Judy and I are seriously planning a trip to the Family History Library in the Fall.  So I need to create lists and tables of what is most easily available there rather than online.  This will of course be an ongoing project until we actually go, but including it here will get me started.

In Massachusetts we are celebrating Patriots’ Day today.  It is a holiday celebrating the battles of Lexington and Concord which took place on April 19 in 1775.  So I have been thinking about my patriot ancestors and decided to write about the first one I knew about:  Oliver Snow.

Oliver was born in March 1748 by the Julian calendar or 1749 by  the Gregorian.  Since England and her colonies were still using the Julian calendar for many events, up to 1752, his birth is often given as 1748/49.  He was the first-born of Oliver and Elizabeth Phillips Snow, who lived in Ashford, Connecticut.  His father (Oliver), grandfather (Samuel), and great-grandfather (known as Lieutenant Samuel) had been in Ashford from about 1725, although the family had deep roots in Woburn, Massachusetts Bay Colony..   Lieutenant Samuel and his son Samuel first bought land in Ashford in 1724 and moved their families there.

I have written some before about Oliver (here) after a road trip with my sister to Becket, Massachusetts.  Oliver migrated north and west as a young man to Becket, Massachusetts Bay.  He married Rebecca Wadsworth on July 4, 1771 there, at age 22.  In April 1777 he and his brother Asa enlisted as privates in Capt. Peter Porter’s Company, Col. Benjamin Simonds (Berkshire Co.) regiment serving for 25 days and being discharged in May 1777.  In July he again enlisted, this time in Capt. Porter’s Co., Col. John Brown’s (Berkshire Co.) regiment and served for 7 days. 1  Oliver was 28 years old and the father of 2 when he enlisted.

Over their marriage, Oliver and Rebecca had 6 children together in 13 years.  Rebecca died ten days after the birth of her namesake daughter, in May 1784.  Although I have looked, I have not found a grave site for her, or a headstone, and there may not be a stone.  Soon after her death Oliver married Roxylane Taylor; he had 6 children under the age of 9 and needed a mother for them.  I have not yet found a marriage record for them.  He and Roxylane moved from Becket to Tyringham about 1797 based on the birth of their last two children in Tyringham in 1798 (twins Alvirus and Lucina).  They lived in Tyringham for a number of years.

In the early 1800s Oliver’s oldest children started moving West.  Oliver’s oldest son, also Oliver, moved to Mantua, Ohio which was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve.  In the fall of 1806, Franklin and his wife Lydia (my ancestors) followed.  Several of the others followed a bit later and reportedly in 1822 Oliver and Roxylane too followed.  Oliver bought land in Auburn Corners, Geauga, Ohio and at about age 73 built a house and settled in.  There he and Roxylane lived out the rest of their lives.  She died in 1836 and he died in 1841.  Both are buried in the Shadyside Cemetery and can be found on here.    Since they were born and died before photography was available, these are the only pictures I know of that represent them.