• Marty Sullivan II

Jill Snyder Shares the Importance of Telling Your Own Family Story



On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the New Haven Museum in New Haven, CT hosted author Jill Marie Snyder in a conversation about studying family history and her book, Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters. Snyder’s book is about a collection of letters between her parents during the early 1900s which assisted her in gaining information that allowed her to track more of her family history. The letters uncovered the love story between her parents, Mary and Luther Snyder, and how their lives impacted the future for her and her two brothers, Roy and Dale. In 2020, Snyder’s book was an international award winner from the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS).


During Wednesday’s event, streamed through Facebook, Snyder shared her family history and lineage, the process and work that went into creating the book, and the importance of family history being discovered and carried on through generations. Through the presentation and her book, Snyder documents the history of her family and their influence on New Haven and Connecticut.


“By focusing on our family stories, learning more about our families…I found a deep sense of joy and gratitude for all that my ancestors did for me,” Snyder stated during her presentation.

Jill Marie Snyder | Photo from jillmariesnyder.com

With the combination of Ancestry.com, family connections made within the platform and journaling her findings, Snyder was able to learn more about her family and their genealogy. Snyder’s search through her family history allowed her to see past a person just living at a point in time. Taking a deeper look into their stories, successes, and challenges showed how they lived to improve the lives of those that came after them.


Snyder’s educational background covers Urban Studies from the University of Connecticut (B.A.), Communication from Fairfield University (M.A.), and the Principles of Genealogy course from Boston University. Continuing her work, Snyder is now researching the lives of prominent African Americans from New Haven, which she lists in her presentation.


In March 2021, Snyder will be hosting a workshop with the New Haven Museum titled, Telling Your Family Story, encouraging people to tell their own family story. More information on this workshop can be found on the New Haven Museum’s event page when released.


Beginning the journey of discovering one’s genealogy and family history may seem daunting, however, it can prove helpful as it did for Snyder and others using modern resources and storytelling to track and trace their genealogy.


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