Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Simon’s Sizable Family

While genealogical pursuits take the researcher from the point of “Now” and work backwards to “Then,” in this grand tour of our First Families of Ohio candidate, I’m taking the opposite approach by following the timeline down to the present from way back when. Can that be called swimming against the tide? Is swimming upstream swimming against the flow of time—or against the tendency of genealogy research?

Never mind all this philosophical talk…let’s get down to examining the generation following Simon Snider and his wife Nancy Jackson Snider—no matter which direction it takes.

Cabinet card Renaas photographer before 1867 portrait of Simon Snider and Nancy Snider
While we are still in the era of that governmental-records no-man’s-land, devoid of birth or death certificates to provide that handy who-what-where-when-how guide, at least from 1850 on, we can find census listings of the Sniders’ children’s names. Let’s take a tour of that now, since soon we will be moving to the next generation as we link First Families pioneer with current-day descendants.

Not long after Simon and Nancy were wed in 1841, they were blessed with their first child. A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was received into their home nineteen days shy of their first anniversary. In advance of celebration for their second anniversary, Simon and Nancy welcomed daughter number two, Emily Catherine.

With the advent of daughter number three in January 1845, I’m sure Simon was despairing of ever having any sons to carry the family name. He must have been relieved to welcome Joseph Edwin Snider on September 18, 1846—though that joy was to be short-lived, as the family lost their son four years later.

However, by that time, the Sniders had already been blessed with a second son, named after his paternal grandfather, arriving in 1848. Not to be outdone, the maternal grandfather was honored with a namesake shortly after New Year in 1850—the year of the first census to include this new family unit.

In the 1850 census, Simon and Nancy and the complete family of six children (Joseph had not yet died) show in the record for Reading Township in Perry County, Ohio.

But they are not finished yet.

By the 1860 census, this good Catholic family saw their ranks grow to include a total of ten children—and that was after the loss, that same year, of yet another son, Lyman Francis. Perhaps it is no surprise to notice the familiar name of J. J. Jackson—most likely Nancy Snider’s father—arriving at the household next door to the Sniders in time for this census. And—sign of things yet to come—the household on the other side of the Snider farm bearing the Overmyer name of a future son-in-lawand daughter-in-law.

Before the next census in 1870, the Snider family added yet another two daughters: Rosanna and Nancy Ann. However, that decade also saw the family lose their patriarch, as Simon passed away in 1867.

All told—at least according to widow Nancy’s report much later in the 1900 census—Simon and Nancy were the proud parents of fourteen children, eight of whom survived to report on that turn-of-the-century document.

The eleven children of the Snider household who survived to adulthood, with the exception of one, went on to marry and have large families of their own. At least four of them emigrated from Ohio to Iowa, and one moved in the opposite direction, settling in West Virginia.

One small token of appreciation for the legacy left by Simon and Nancy Snider may very well be that of the well-kept grave stone that serves to mark their memory. It stands in the Holy Trinity Cemetery in Somerset, Ohio, not far from the farm that was the lifelong family home.

Photograph, above right: Simon and Nancy Jackson Snider; courtesy of a fellow Snider family researcher; used by permission.


  1. Very interesting life and wow...eleven children. I have to say, the headstone was simple but so beautiful! I really am glad you shared this story.

    1. While I don't know much about that headstone, I am wondering if it is a replacement for the original. It does look relatively new--one reason why I mention it as a token of the Snider children's esteem for their parents.

  2. Jacqi, I was thrilled to see your interview with Gini Webb on Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers. Your reasons for starting your blog and your tips for bloggers really struck a chord with me - and many others, undoubtedly. Congratulations on this fabulous recognition and keep up the great work. You are an inspiration, and your blog is always a joy to read!

    1. Thank you, Linda. Coming from you, that is a real compliment! Likewise, I love reading your blog. Story is the way to go in bringing these family members' lives to light again.

  3. Thank you! This is an engaging story of many births, and these parents were so fortunate. My g-g-g- grandfather also had 14 children, but he had two wives. As you move toward the present, will you be researching all the cousins and second cousins and so forth? I find that is almost an infinite task, more than I can handle! But you are doing your research with love, whether swimming up the stream or down the stream, and that is what counts the most!

    1. Mariann, there were quite a few back in those times who had such large families. I, too, have situations like your g-g-g grandfather--ancestors remarrying after losing the first wife.

      Yes, I intend to do my best in researching all the descendants of these lines. Of course, I'm delighted when I meet a distant cousin in the midst of this task, as I just did this week in finding Simon and Nancy's picture. But you are right--it is indeed a staggering amount of work. I just do what I can, join forces with whom I can, and not do so much as to lose the joy in doing it.

      I'll never forget the time I walked into a genealogy library, grabbed a book on one of my ancestors, and flipped it open to discover my own grandmother listed in the index. That kind of gratitude fuels my quest to research as many descendants as possible. Maybe someday I can return the gesture.

    2. Simon and Nancy are my great great grandparents...their son Nicholas Dominic being great grandfather.
      Peter Joseph is my Grandfather and Lyman Francis is my father.

      Heritage is fascinating...
      Did Simon's Father Nicholas emigrate to Philadephia 1806?
      Gerald Lyman Snyder

    3. Thanks for stopping by, Gerald. It's always fun to meet a cousin in this family line! About Nicholas: actually, I'm working on finding verification for his immigration right now. It appears he and his young family did arrive in Philadelphia in September 1804.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...