Search billions of records on

Bach (Back) Family Genealogy

Bach (Back) Family Genealogy

Do you have relatives or ancestors who came from Breathitt County, Kentucky, and who had the last name of Bach (or Back), or who married someone with that last name?

Then you certainly want to know more about them!

However, back in 1994, a genealogy was published about this family which has proven to be incorrect. It was published by some people who gave themselves the official-sounding name of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society, but they were not professional genealogists. All of the ancestry which they have before John Back Sr. is incorrect. No, the family does not descend from Hermann Bach, the family is not from Freudenberg, Germany, and the parents of John Back Sr. were not Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman.

The parents of John Back Sr. were actually Joseph Back and Elizabeth Hoffman Maggard. Joseph Back was the son of the immigrant in the family, which was Johann Heinrich Bach (who came from Thuringia, Germany, and who changed his name to John Henry Back after he immigrated), and he settled in Culpeper County, Virginia. Johann Heinrich Bach (John Henry Back) had four children: Joseph (who married Elizabeth Hoffman Maggard); John (who married Margaret Hoffman, daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg); Henry (who married Margaret's sister Elizabeth); and a daughter whose name was probably Mary (who married Benjamin Strother). Joseph's two brothers, John and Henry, both died in Virginia. After each of them died, their widows, Margaret and Elizabeth, moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, where they later died. (Please look at the 1810 Census Report in Rockingham County, and you will see Elizabeth living with her son Aaron. They lived next door to Henry Hammer. Aaron later married his daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Luger Hammer.) Neither Henry Back nor his wife Elizabeth Hoffman ever went to Kentucky.

It was Henry's brother Joseph who went to Kentucky. Joseph's wife was also named Elizabeth Hoffman. She was the daughter of Nicholaus Hoffman and Barbara Elisabetha Koestnerin. But Elizabeth was orphaned at a young age, and then she was adopted by Samuel Maggard and his wife Catherine. That is how her name became Elizabeth Hoffman Maggard. Joseph and his wife Elizabeth migrated to southeastern Kentucky in the spring of 1791 and founded the Bach (Back) family there. Joseph and Elizabeth had four children: Joseph Jr. (who was murdered around 1802); John Back Sr. (who married Catherine Robertson), Mary (who had a child out of wedlock named Alfred Back, and then she died a few weeks later); and Henry (who married Susannah Maggard).

All of this information, and a great deal more, has been documented and published in a new book called, WE CAME FROM THURINGIA: GENEALOGY OF THE BACH FAMILY IN BREATHITT COUNTY, KENTUCKY. This book is available on Amazon, and also on the web site indicated below.

Shockingly, around 1988, some people, who later became members of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society, removed the gravestone of Elizabeth Hoffman Maggard Back from the Maggard Cemetery in Letcher County, Kentucky and they threw it over the hill. They replaced it with a stone describing her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hoffman Back, who was married to Joseph's brother Henry. And now, members of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society actually point to that new gravestone (that they fraudulently put up themselves) as being their so-called proof that Elizabeth Hoffman, the wife of Henry Back, founded the family in southeastern Kentucky. It is so disgraceful and so wrong.

The Back-Bach Genealogical Society claims that their genealogy is based upon the genealogical research that was done by Dr. Wilgus Bach, back in the early 1900's, but that is not true. In fact, Dr. Wilgus Bach discovered that it was Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth who founded the family in southeastern Kentucky, and that Joseph's father was John Henry Back in Culpeper County, Virginia. But to make it seem like Dr. Wilgus Bach said it was Henry Back, members of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society actually made some handwritten notes right onto Dr. Wilgus Bach's own manuscript (at the Kentucky Archives), and wherever he had typed the name Joseph, they crossed it out with a pen and wrote in the name Henry. In fact, they are well-known for going into libraries and using ink pens to cross out Joseph's name and changing it to Henry.

But they cannot change the microfilm of the old newspapers from Jackson, Kentucky, which reported on the Bach family reunions, back in the 1930's and 1940's, and how the genealogy of the family was discussed, including the fact that it was Joseph Back who came to southeastern Kentucky and founded the family there, and that his father was John Henry Back, who was a successful millwright in Culpeper County, Virginia, and who was related to the famous musician, Johann Sebastian Bach.

Please research the truth for yourself. Just because the genealogy of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society is all over the Internet does not make it true.

This new book, WE CAME FROM THURINGIA: GENEALOGY OF THE BACH FAMILY IN BREATHITT COUNTY, KENTUCKY, presents the accurate and proven genealogy of this family. It is nearly 700 pages long, it has over 600 pictures, and it includes over 3,300 names. It also features copies of the pages of the old Bach Family Bible, which also document the genealogy. All of the research in this book was done according to the strict research methodology of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and so you know that it is accurate. You will be amazed at the documentation, and you will be fascinated by all of the pictures. It is truly a remarkable book.

Here are some of my favorite websites:

Bach Genealogy (

This page belongs to Mary Bach Harris.