Anyone who has researched her family history realizes that surnames come in all shapes and forms. With the start of a new month here, I'll be shifting my research focus from my mother's ancestors to those of my mother-in-law. Like my mother, my mother-in-law grew up in the American state of Ohio, but unlike my mother with her deep southern roots, my mother-in-law had a family heritage firmly planted in one central Ohio county for two centuries.
One of the founding ancestral couples in my mother-in-law's heritage was the root of her many Snider relatives in Perry County. Like many who descended from immigrant families, though, that founding couple most likely did not spell their name S-n-i-d-e-r. That was the convenient anglicized spelling; when Nicholas and Anna arrived in Ohio by 1819, their surname was pronounced as Schneider.
Over the generations, the descendants of Nicholas Dominic and Anna Elizabeth Eckhardt Schneider adjusted to their American homeland and, mostly in Ohio, spelled their name Snider. The branches of the family who moved west—to Iowa and Minnesota—adapted to local convention there, spelling the name as Snyder. Still, whether Schneider, Snider, or Snyder, the legacy of Nicholas and Anna provide my husband with 207 DNA matches, all linking back to this set of fourth great-grandparents.
While I can solidly affirm that the family settled in Perry County in central Ohio, my goal this month is to trace the family eastward from Ohio, looking for actual documentation for the assertions made by many other family researchers. There are reports that the couple arrived in the New World from Germany, but I would like to examine that genealogical journey for myself.
As we work through that paper trail, I'll also be examining the many DNA matches who share with my husband this couple as their most recent common ancestors. Along the way, as we've already realized from researching other lines stretching back into the 1700s, we'll need to be aware of the impact of local history and record keeping upon the communities in which this family lived before their arrival in Ohio on the eve of the 1820 census.
Whether Schneider, Snider, or Snyder, this family—as have so many others—had a story worth sharing. We'll take this new research month to see what we can discover.