|Who am I?|
This daguerreotype had been donated to the local museum by Mrs. Kate (VanSant) Porter. Kate was the sister to my great great grandmother, Maud (VanSant) Grimes. We had located the original donor record which listed the items that Aunt Kate had donated. It listed three tintypes in cases, a tin cup, a 1773 bible, etc. The prospect of finding photos of ancestors that I had never seen was exciting, to say the least. After in exhaustive search, we finally came across the daguerreotype only to discover that there was NOTHING to identify the woman! Really? Really?
So now my inner CSI has emerged and I have begun the process of trying to find out who she is using clues that I can gather from the photo itself. I know that since the daguerreotype has a brass preserver, that it was made after 1846. The matte that surrounds the photo also points to a late 1840's to early 1850's time frame. I would judge the woman to be in her 40's or 50's. That would put her date of birth in the late 1700's to early 1800's. From there I have whittled down my options to four possibilities: Elizabeth (Denison) Van Zandt b. 1797 wife of James Monroe Van Zandt, Catherine Huldah (Tupper) Merriam b. 1803, wife of Cyrus Merriam, Julia (Balis) Ingraham b. 1803, wife of Thomas Swan Ingraham and lastly, Jane (Lee) Baldwin b. 1794, wife of Francis Baldwin.
Since I'm not even remotely an expert on women's fashion of that period, I can't use the dress or headdress to help rule out any of the above. I'm hoping that maybe the head scarf might have been worn for religious reasons and can help me to further shorten my list. The quest continues!!