I had a comment from another Salt about my brick wall Edward and thought I would follow up on a few thoughts and finds. Interestingly, my commenter also has an Edward Salt who is a dead-end for her. I should probably get in touch with her and ask about the name. And I will take her hint that many Salt families came from Staffordshire.

As I mentioned, the early members of my family sometimes got listed as Salt and sometimes as Salts. So, for example, my Edward Salts was on the 1787 tax list in Berkeley county, Virginia. Listed with no males between ages 16-21 and no Blacks either below the age of 16 or above age 16, 3 horses (including mares, colts and mules), and 3 Cattle. Actually, the 1790 enumeration also listed him as Salts, as did at least some of the tax lists in Kentucky. However, going back as far as my grandfather, it has consistently been Salt not Salts.

So what’s in a name? Is it Salt or Salts? My take on it for now is that in the early days it didn’t make as much difference to people how the name was spelled and it probably doesn’t matter. I should remember to always look for both.

And in a brief digression, have I mentioned how difficult the Salt name is to search because

Salt Lake City from our hotel window

you get a lot of Salt Lake City and a lot of salt (as a necessary of life) and a lot of Salt River or Creek or . . . you get the picture. Depending on what database you are searching it isn’t always possible to specify that these other items should be left out of the results. Even when you can specify, I don’t always remember to do so. Sigh.

Ok, back to my family. I can’t tell yet whether the families named Salts and the family named Salt are related/the same family. In the early days the names seem to have been used interchangeably. In more recent times the record keepers are more strict and we have all standardized the spelling of our names. So in 2011, the Salt family is never listed as Salts; I assume the same is true for the Salts family. People sometimes don’t think they have heard me correctly when I tell them my last name is Salt, but that is another issue. And I have discovered that saying “Salt (pause) as in pepper” usually works.

There is an interesting similarity between a Salts family and my Salt family, going back to 1782, that keeps me wondering. For example, between 1782 and 1789 there are records of a Thomas Salts living in Hampshire county, Virginia [images]. Hampshire county was adjacent to Berkeley county where my Edward has been found in the same time period. Then, Thomas moved his family to Ross county (later Vinton county) Ohio in about 1814 or so, showing up on tax lists from 1817 on. The Edward Salts family had migrated from Virginia to Pennsylvania to Kentucky and then to Clermont county, Ohio, just a few years earlier. The Thomas Salts family had sons named both John and Edward. Admittedly these are very common names, but there were no Thomases in the Edward Salt family. There is no Salt family tradition of a relationship, or any evidence like letters or diary entries that refer to that “other” Salts family.

A genealogy of the Thomas Salts family written by Walter Salts (1978, accessed on ancestry.com) described a family tradition that the family was of Irish origin, although Salts is more commonly an English name. Mr. Salts speculated that the family might have lived for some period of time in Ireland on the migration that eventually brought them to the New World. There is also reported to be a family tradition that the family came from the Channel Islands, although Mr. Salts reported no success in locating any evidence to support that tradition. Interestingly, he commented on the existence of Thomas’s contemporary, Edward Salt, and mentioned our family tradition that Edward had married an Irish bride and left England as a result. He had found no connection between the two, Thomas and Edward, at the time of his writing the genealogy although they lived in relatively close proximity (both geographically and temporally) in Virginia.

The tradition of being Irish or having married someone who was Irish is one I need to follow more carefully. I’m not sure why marrying an “Irish lady” in about the 1770s would be grounds for disinheriting as is my family tradition. Did Edward go to Ireland as a young man (for who knows what reason) and come back with a wife? Did his wife, whose first name was Mary, get to England from Ireland before they met? I have started, with familysearch.org, to begin looking at possible births for Edward in England and marriages in the right time frame. So far I don’t have any good hits, and no idea what his parents’ names were. Any ideas from out there would be very welcome!

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