Parents of William Backus/Bacchus

+4 votes

Does anyone know the evidence to support the parents of William Backus?

It can be found on many unsourced sites on the internet that he is the son of William Bacchus and Sarah Gardiner.  I have been unable to find any supporting evidence for this identification.  It appears to me to be related to the old LDS Ancestral File.

The most recent article I find on him gives William no parents:

  • Bingham, Everett F., "William Backus of Sheffield, Yorkshire, and Norwich, Connecticut" in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 142 no.3 (July 1988): pages 253-254.

Before I disconnect him… is anyone able to provide sources for parents?

PS: Bacchus is a very poor choice for a LNAB.  It was Backhouse in the parish records in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.  It was primarily Backus in the New England records with Backus being used by all research articles and books on this family.

WikiTree profile: William Backus
in Genealogy Help by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (232k points)
edited by Joe Cochoit
Good catch, Joe, on both the unproven parents and the LNAB spelling. I support detaching parents and changing his LNAB.

did you see the answer to this g2g post from 2015? Is it the same man?

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer
William's father was William Backhouse Sr, he resided in Green Hammerton, near York just a few miles from my residence.  The Green Hammerton Parish records show he was married to Sarah Gardiner, they also show the baptism of William the immigrant.  I have a detailed plot map of Whixley Church yard and there are several of the Backhouse family buried there,  I have a copy of William's cutler aapprenticeship record and also details from the parish records listing all th children including those ho died in infancy.  At the time of leaving England, many with the surname change th spelling to that of Backus, mainly because it was the time sanitation was introduced to England it was called the outhouse in America it was known a the backhousee I would have changed the spelling alo, some kept the original spelling of the surname but many didn't.  You must remember that quite often back then th people recording on the records tended to record what they heard..e.g. Wlhelm Backhouse.  But the Botham Institute at YORK UNIVERSITY who deal with the Bishops Transcripts helped me clarify some of the records which give rise to so many queries.  Both William Sr and William Backhouse Sr have marriage records within the Sheffield records.
by anonymous G2G Crew (720 points)
selected by P Małysz
Without trying to re-research this... I believe there were several William Backus/Backhouse possibilities.  What is the reasoning for thinking this is the correct one (other than the name is the same)?  Does his apprenticeship record give his father's name or town of origin as they often do?

What's the date on the baptism of William jr?

Whixley registers go back to 1568 and FamilySearch has them from an unpublished YPRS transcription.  But it only has these Backhouses

The PRF entries are well garbled

There's also a popular vote for James William Bacchus marrying Anne Sarah Gardiner.

Did you change your name to anonymous?  I am interested in hearing more details regarding the parish records of Whixley.  You have a precise marriage date for William and Sarah?  You have a precise baptism date for William the immigrant?

Precision is not easy to come by, they did not keep records as we do today. and trying to make people 'fit' doesn't really achieve anything.  West Yorkshire Archive Service, West Yorkshire Joint Services, Nepshaw Lane South, Morley, Leeds, LS27 7JQ hold some very old records  t  

I believe that the following discussion may provide further insight (particularly post #31):

It would appear that this research was conducted in collaboration with experts at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, England, the Master Cutlers Association in Sheffield, and the National Civil War Centre in Newark-on-Trent, England (see links below).

I do not find anything in any of your links which prove the parents of William Backus.  The NEHGR article on the family gives no parents.  William Backhouse of Green Hammerton is just one of several possibilities, and perhaps not the most likely given the distance to Sheffield.

  • Bingham, Everett F., "William Backus of Sheffield, Yorkshire, and Norwich, Connecticut" in NEHGR vol. 142 no.3 (July 1988): pages 253-254.
Hi Joe,

Perhaps you misunderstood the intention of my previous post.

Genealogical evidence is more than simply the sum of that which can be found online or necessarily posted here in the form of hyperlinks. The user in the discussion that I posted above claims to have recently taken the time to actually meet with experts at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, the Master Cutlers Association in Sheffield, and two Directors from the National Civil War Centre in Newark-on-Trent, to assist in clarifying the available records.

It would be intellectually dishonest to dismiss this research out of hand without further examination.
I am not dismissing it out of hand, and I would be happy to have it proven true.  I have read the entire post (and I have read it in the past).  I am not even saying it is wrong - it is just one of several possibilities.

It doesn't answer the question, why do we think William Backus, master cutler in Sheffield was the son of William Backhouse of Great Hammerton?  My understanding is there are no baptism records, no wills, no apprentice records, no court cases, no family associations, etc. to suggest this.  It is a simple name-is-the-same argument, which is not good enough to establish the English origins of a Great Migration immigrant.

Again, we would be happy to evaluate any actual evidence that ties the immigrant to William Backhouse of Great Hammerton.  Is there any?
"Again, we would be happy to evaluate any actual evidence that ties the immigrant to William Backhouse of Green Hammerton. Is there any?"

I guess that my point was simply to say that the anonymous user who posted here on Aug 18, 2018 appears to credibly claim that there is, indeed, such evidence in their possession (in the form of apprenticeship records, parish records, etc.). Therefore, it would be disingenuous to proclaim that "no evidence exists" or "it is a simple name-is-the-same argument" before we have pro-actively exhausted this line of enquiry for ourselves and reached out to the relevant organisations listed above to replicate the research.

The fact that professional bodies were utilised to assist in the evaluation of the records would appear to lend further credibility to the claim.

I suppose that the next step would be to obtain William's apprenticeship record for ourselves.
Notice that none of these credible claims actually tells you what they found in primary records.  I am well aware of the apprenticeship records as they were the key discovery to proving that the immigrant was the same person as the cutler from Sheffield.  This was published in the NEGHR article which established the English origins of William Backus; if these records named his father they would have appeared in the article.  If you type in William Baccus with birth dates 1580-1630 in you get over 1200 hits.  There was even another William Backus in New England at the same time as this one.  If I recall correctly, and I don't have this immediately available, there were three different William Backhouses who were good possibilities to be the immigrant.  The one from Great Hammerton was one of the possibilities.  

So in my opinion, we need more from the primary records before we can identify the parents of William Backus.  Getting the actual transcripts from the apprenticeship records would be useful.  More so might be tracking down any relevant wills.

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