Thursday, November 8, 2012

It Pays to Look Around

While it was disappointing to let go of any notion of becoming part of the First Families of Ohio, I couldn’t quite yet abandon the chase. There are, after all, a couple anecdotal bits of evidence still claiming that our Flowers ancestors were in Ohio before 1820—as early as 1814, in fact. Proving that point through proper documentation, however, is becoming nigh impossible.

Not to call it quits too early, I took heed to that old saw about Perry County. Everyone there is related somehow, remember? Those roots in that county go way back.

So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take a moment to wander through the scanned pages of the 1820 census for Perry County. After all, it is only a matter of reading through about five pages per township. Totally worth it for a few spare minutes.

I’ve got a whole roster of Perry County surnames floating around in my brain, and when I took a look at the census records, I kept my eye open for those familiar names. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before I was stumbling over some Sniders who looked like potential candidates. With a little cross checking in my own database, here’s what I came up with.

On the fifth page of the Perry County census reading for Hopewell Township, I spotted Nicholas Snider. In my database, Nicholas Dominic Schneider was an immigrant from Germany—some say the from the perennially politically-disputed Alsace-Lorraine region—who was born in 1766. Arrival around 1820 in near-wilderness territory in Ohio might have been a stretch for someone getting on in years by that point. Coupled with the obvious change in spelling for his name, it caused me some doubts about the identity of this Snider family in the census.

Once again, as I had done for the John Henry Flowers comparison, I took a look at the family constellation to see if there was a likely match. Without going into the details right now, the records seemed to jive—all the way from the eldest child, Jacob, to the infant, Conrad.

Since this Snider family obviously was in Perry County in time for that 1820 census, I returned to the General Land Office Records website to see if I could find any evidence of property ownership for this Nicholas Schneider (or Snider). What I uncovered there should be worthy of a little jig: a patent image for one “Nicholas + Jacob Snyder of Fairfield County, Ohio” dated March 27, 1820—just in time!

However, my gut still wouldn’t let me be at peace about this. The spelling variants are only a minor irritant, true, but when you consider the larger issue of the county of the land  purchase not being named in the body of the document (it is specified in website records, but not on this particular document), it puts me in the dilemma of wondering whether this might be a Nicholas Snider from another county. After all, there might be someone out there in another part of the state who bears the same name.

Thankfully, that little addition of the second name—the second party of the “tenants in common”—helps further clarify which Nicholas Snider the document identifies. While it doesn’t come out in the property record and state that Jacob is Nicholas’ son, it just so happens that the man’s eldest child was named Jacob.

Just to add a little confirmation to soothe my gut feelings, the early Catholic baptismal records I had sought out the other day once again came to my aid. There, on the records for 1819—just the right interval of time to yield me another young boy in the November 1820 census listing—was the entry for the baby, Conrad. Looking closer at that record, though, I discovered one little detail I had missed before: Conrad had a twin brother! While this will set me on another search for more data, the baptismal entry for May 13, 1819, unmistakably stated: “Conrad & Andrew Snider, twins.”

Someday, when I’m not facing a deadline for lineage society applications, I’ll take up the chase to discover whatever happened to brother Andrew. But for now, I’ve got some documentation to gather together and get in the mail!

Above left: François Barraud, "Paysage de labour," oil on canvas, circa 1929; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain in the United States, EU, and other countries with a copyright term of life of the artist plus 70 years or less.


  1. Replies
    1. The party will commence officially after I submit my paperwork. However, pre-celebration warm ups are never frowned upon!

  2. This sounds so satisfying! And I must say, you are so judiciously skeptical of your own findings, while cross-checking your sources. Definitely time for the happy dance. Congrats!

    1. Thank you, Mariann. I am indeed doing the happy dance. And this certainly has reminded me to exercise extreme caution while proceeding through these older records.

    2. First I want to say THANKYOU for showing some of the early documents for Nicholas Schneider whom I am a descendant of through Conrad Snider. I have been playing around in doing a family tree and wanted to know what piece of land Nicholas owned in Perry County. With your info I was able to locate it. I have two brothers who still live in Perry County, one has grandsons, that would make them the 8th generation in Perry county on the Snider’s side. Looking at the 1820 Census about 5 lines above Nicholas Snider was listed a Poorman, whom my nephew married a descendant of and still has the family farm. So his two sons have at least 3 ways to go back to being First Families of Ohio, (Snider, Poorman, Zartman and …). I would like to know more about how to file for FFO and what documents are needed and if you could help me on this.
      Please email me,
      Thanks again, and it is true that everyone is related in Perry County….

      Greg Snider

    3. Greg, I'm so glad this was a help to you, and I'm especially happy to see you are interested in pursuing First Families of Ohio.

      All the information on that program can be found on the Ohio Genealogical Society's website. However, I know how easy it is to get lost on large sites, so here are a few places for you to click and check out:

      Rules for the application can be found here.
      The application form itself is located here.
      The form for listing the documentation you enclose with your application is here.

      I'd be glad to provide any other suggestions. If you'd like, let's continue the conversation by email. You can reach me through the blog's email address:

      Not to's nice to meet another distant cousin! :)


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