Sydney Richard Snow was born in Braintree, Essex in 1883, son of Thomas Henry Snow and Annie (nee Rogers).
At some point between 1886 and 1888, the family moved from Braintree to Barleycroft End, Furneux Pelham, where Thomas Henry was employed as the Rayments Brewery engineer. In the 1901 census, the family had moved to Willow farm, just across the Furneux Pelham parish boundary, and in Stocking Pelham, where Sydney, now 18, was working as a stockman on a farm.
In Q4 1906 Sydney married Ada Metson, and by the 1911 census they had three children. The family was now living in Clapgate, Albury, about two miles south of Willow Farm, and Sydney now earned his living as a house painter.