Nicholas Schneider, son of Jacob Schneider, was born about 1738 in Lich, Oberhessen (east-southeast of Giessen). At some point he moved to nearby Steinbach. The following note about him was made in the Steinbach parish records:
"Der Ehemann war geboren in Lich; vater, Jacob Schneider, Landreiter in Lich und war Soldat in Holländischen Diensten. Sie wurden in Lich getraut. Der Ehemann floh 1766 mit einer Dirne nach Astrachan-Russland . . .." [Translation: The husband was born in Lich; his father, Jacob Schneider, was a horseman and soldier in the Dutch military. He was married in Lich. The husband fled with a prostitute (Dirne) in 1766 to Astrakhan in Russia.]
In the section regarding children, the following is recorded:
". . . vorehel. Catharina. Gibt zum Vater an Nicholas Schneider, einen Soldaten unter den Holländern, Jacob Schneider, Landreuters Sohn zu Lich. Sie hat als Magd beim Hrn. Pfarrer Adolphi zu Lich gedient, und ist auch daselbst unter Versprechung der Ehe geschwängert worden; der Kerl hat sie aber nachher nicht anders nehmen wollen, als wenn ihr Vatter 300 Gulden mitgeben können pp.; Soll zu Lich Kirchenstrafe (abgelegt) haben und zum heil. Amendmahl gegangen seyn, waren unsere Nachrichten - N.B. Sie hat vom Herrn Dec. Hölcker zu Lich nachher ein schriftliches Zeugnis gebracht, so hat alles seine gute Richtigkeit, ist auch mit dem Kerl ante partum daselbst ehelich copuliert worden." [Translation: "... premarital Catharina. Cites as the father a Nicholas Schneider, soldier among the Dutch, son of Jacob Schneider, horseman in Lich. She worked as a maid for Pastor Adolphi in Lich and was also impregnated there with a promise of marriage. The fellow, however, did not want to take her subsequently until her father could donate 300 Gulden pp. She is said to have given atonement in the church in Lich and to have been extended holy communion, that was our report. N.B. She later brought a written documentation from Mr. Hölcker (the pastor) in Lich, so everything is now correct and she even legally married the fellow before the birth of the child."]
Nicholas Schneider and his new family immigrated to Russia (as the parish entry notes), evidently leaving behind his first family. They arrived from Lübeck at the port in Oranienbaum on 13 September 1766 aboard the hooker Die Jungfer Dietrika under the command of skipper Christian Korsholm.
Nicholas arrived in Kraft on 18 August 1767 and is recorded there on the 1767 Census in Household No. 61 along with his wife Elisabeth (the Dirne from Steinbach, evidently), a 7-year-old son named Johann Wilhelm and Elisabeth's brother Johann Heinrich (age 20). Elisabeth's mother (Anna Catharina) had also been traveling with them, but she does not appear on the 1767 census in Kraft. She had either died or remarried in route.
Nicholas Schneider is next recorded on the 1798 Census of Kraft in Household No. Kf56 with two wives, Elisabeth Eckhardt (who came with him from Germany) and Maria Helzer from Norka). The following note in the census document explains the situation:
"Schneider married his 2nd wife [actually his third] while he was living in Biberstein as schoolmaster, separated from his first wife, who was then in this colony; now he is living in Urbach with his 2nd wife and son."
Mai, Brent Alan. 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga: Economy, Population, and Agriculture (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1999).
Parish records from Steinbach.
Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 2 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2001): 409.
Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): 362-363.