For the past two hundred years, descendants of Jacob and Maria Magdalena Schneider have been trying to rediscover the intricate and varied threads of their family history.
Howard Edwin Mitchell (b.1854) loaned an early version of the Snider family history to Harvey Lackie Snider (b. 1851). George Edgerton Snider (b. 1874) and Orpha May Pringle (b. 1885) copied from the original record.
Edwin George Snider (b. 1857 Nobleton, Ont.), Ella Maria McPhail (b. 1860 Eglinton, Ont.), and Edna Pearl Snider Dick (b. 1886 Nobleton, Ont.) all compiled hand-written histories, based on early records kept by previous family members.
Adding to the colourful tapestry are various oral histories, sometimes captured in letters from cousin to cousin; sometimes recorded in journals, some simply copied onto small scraps of paper.
In a letter to Harvey Grafton Snider dated 1931, Edwin George Snider, Cadillac, Michigan, told of his cousin, David Snider, who was studying law in Toronto. It seems that David travelled to Europe to "visit the home of our ancestors" and obtained much valuable data, but soon after his return, fell ill with typhoid fever and died.
Later, David's father, Edwin, sold the farm at Eglinton and moved to Toronto. While a load of household goods was being conveyed down Yonge Street to Toronto, the wagon driver took shelter from a heavy rainstorm and stored the wagon overnight in a shed. Children playing with matches set a fire that destroyed David's law books, university records and the account of his visit to the homeland.
Other family members have travelled to Europe, seeking information about the origins of the family, but no one has solved the riddle. Over time, the family scattered, moving to other provinces; or returned to the United States after many years in Canada.
In the 1960s, the late Edward (Ted) Harold Snider of Trois- Rivières, Quebec, a great-great-great-grandson of Martin Snider Senior, borrowed the records gathered by Edna Pearl Snider and Ella McPhail, derived from the genealogy written in 1909 by Edwin George Snider. Ted also used the Cummer Memoranda, published by that family in Cleveland in 1911. In 1976, the Cummers published a hardcover edition called Jacob's Flock. There were several intermarriages between the Cummer and Snider families and Jacob Cummer of Willowdale, Ontario, was Ted Snider's great-great-great-great-grandfather.
After years of research, Ted Snider prepared a huge loose-leaf binder of Snider information complete with charts and photographs, and donated a Snider file to the Canadiana Room at the North York Central Library. He also loaned a copy to Bret Snider in Toronto, at the time of the first Snider family reunion in 1998.
Herbert Elgin Snider of Toronto, a great-great-grandson of Martin, began his family research around the same time as Ted Snider. While visiting a museum in New Brunswick, Elgin came upon a message left there by Alice Taylor Cox, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Alice was a descendant of Martin's son, John Snider. This was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration. The three genealogists worked untiringly, sharing their time and research, each following their own quest to uncover the hidden portions of the family story.
Eventually, Herbert Elgin produced his painstaking, hand-written 'Martin Snider's Children's Ages', and made copies available to his four sons; to libraries; to the United Empire Loyalist organization and other interested parties. And Alice and Stanley Cox added their very extensive records to the growing Snider saga.
In due time, Alice and Stanley's son Carl, in Missouri, organized a Snider database from all the records he and the family had compiled. In 1995, he offered a copy to this writer. Using this database, I continue to gather information from contemporary Sniders throughout North America, and have added records from other family sources.
For several years I have posted Schneider/Snyder/Snider queries on various genealogical websites and have received responses from many new cousins. Gradually, we are building an extended network of Snider family connections. I am now in touch with Snider/Snyder cousins in Utah, New York, California, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. The Martin Snider website, conceived by Bret Snider, designed and installed by Shawn Snider, with assistance from Derek Snider, has created many opportunities for sharing information with our many Snider/Snyder/Schneider cousins.
As we continue to pool our information, using electronic means unknown to our predecessors, we constantly learn more about our scattered family. Our ancestors -- how they would have loved computers!
Patricia Snider Armstrong © July 2000