Saturday, November 10, 2012

Simon Says

Piecing together family constellations from documents pre-dating the 1850 census can be challenging. As mentioned yesterday, for those families with strong church ties, baptismal and other sacramental records provide some assistance in naming children and connecting them to the proper parents. But there is another resource, in many cases: the patriarch’s last will and testament.

For Nicholas Snider, settling in Perry County, Ohio, in the early years of both the state and the county, there was also a land record—implying the need for an instrument which passed along that possession to heirs. Thankfully, in Nicholas’ case, the will does name his children as heirs—and in one case, provides me with a married name for the daughter for whom I’d previously not had any descendant records.

While the land described in the will does not match up with the patent record for Nicholas’ original purchase—a puzzle to save for another day—thankfully (again) the names mentioned in the will do align with the names of the children already in my research database.

Evidently, the youngest son of Nicholas and Elizabeth became the new owner of the family farm, perhaps something in Nicholas’ plans all along, as his first—and evidently other—Ohio land purchase was jointly acquired with his eldest son.

That youngest son, Conrad, was required in turn to disburse set sums of money to each of the other children based on a schedule outlined in the will. Nicholas’ still-single daughter Catherine was to receive the sum of four hundred dollars on the anniversary of his death. Two years following his death, that same amount of money was to be split between his sons Jacob—by then married, with a large family of his own—and Joseph. Two hundred dollars would eventually also go to another son, Lewis, the next year. And on the final year of disbursements, three hundred dollars would be received by his daughter Mary—the added sesquicentennial-plus bonus for us researchers, in reading this will, being that we receive record of that same daughter’s married identity as Mrs. Elder.

There is one more name to be mentioned in Nicholas Snider’s will: that of his son Simon. On the bottom of the same page detailing the schedule of disbursements from Nicholas’ estate, he concludes with these final instructions: “I do hereby appoint my Son Simon Snider as my Executor….”

At some point in the year 1856, Nicholas Snider finished his course and Simon Snider assumed the role his father had appointed for him, ordering the settlement of the estate. Nicholas was buried on March 26, 1856, in Somerset, Ohio, in the Holy Trinity Cemetery. And thanks to the property he once had purchased in the early years of Ohio statehood, the required records outlining his wishes in how that property was to be disposed also served to provide future generations with a record of his family constellation.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, Wendy, this was certainly happy-dance-worthy! Not just for laying out the direct line, but I was overjoyed to be able to match daughter Mary/Maria with John Elder through online resources, which led me to be able to discover records of their descendants, too.

  2. Great article. I have a question. How do you link names and events in your articles to their sources? I know I'm computer challenged, but I'm working on it.

    1. Grant, since you are on blogspot, it's a fairly straightforward process, using your dashboard. I'll email you.

  3. Excellent post! Those little "puzzles for another day" are rather like the books that build up on library shelves - just waiting to be opened and delved into. They do tend to collect, don't they?

    Thank you so much for the warm welcome to Geneabloggers! I am following you now too.


    1. Kat, thanks so much for stopping by! I did enjoy getting to look around your blog. That's why I appreciate checking out all the new GeneaBloggers each Saturday. So many treasures in there!

      Ah, books...yes, they do tend to collect. I always wonder why such things beckon, though I'm glad they do.

  4. Hi Jacqui, thank you for stopping by my newly formed genealogy blog. It's nice to meet not only a fellow family historian, but also a fellow homeschool mom.

    In our role of family historian, we certainly find ourselves playing detective, don't we? It can be frustrating, but it is also very rewarding when the pieces fall into place.


    1. Patti, thanks for stopping by here! I did enjoy your new blog--and considering the fact that you have already been writing on your classic films blog, Like Vintage Silver is off to a great start.

      The detective aspect is indeed rewarding. It's the challenge that keeps me going, despite those set-backs. It's the thrill of the hunt, I guess, coupled with wanting to know about all those mystery people who somehow are a part of what made me who I am.


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