Do you have ancestors with the last name of
Back, or Bach, who came from southeastern Kentucky?
Then you have probably heard of
The Back-Bach Genealogical Society.
Their name comes from the fact that some members
of the family spell their last name as "Back,"
while others spell it as "Bach."
You need to know that the genealogy they published
was fraudulent. What's even worse is the fact that
they knew it was fraudulent, when they published it.
They claimed that the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back, who immigrated from Freudenberg, Germany, and settled in Little Fork, Virginia.
But they had absolutely no proof of that whatsoever,
because there was no proof, because it wasn't true.
So, why did they do it?
They thought that they would get rich by doing so.
How the fraudulent genealogy started: Despite the name of their little club, not one member of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society was a genealogist.
In 1994, they published a $85 fraudulent genealogy book about their family, who came from southeastern Kentucky (mainly Breathitt County and Letcher County). Their book was titled, A Back Family History: The Story of a Major Branch of the Back/Bach Family. Their book falsely claimed that their family descends from a man named Harman Back (aka Hermann Bach), who was from Freudenberg, Germany, and who came to America and settled in Little Fork, Virginia, in 1739. Their book also falsely claimed that Harman Back had a son named Henry Back, and that, after Henry died, in 1809, his elderly widow, Elizabeth Hoffman Back, moved all the way down to southeastern Kentucky and founded their Back (Bach) family there. But that was all a blatant lie.
Shockingly, the members of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society knew full well that it was a blatant lie. In fact, they had known the actual genealogy of their family, for a long time, because it had been passed down, from generation to generation, for hundreds of years. It had also been openly discussed at the annual family reunions. Those reunions had been held every fall, since 1933, on Miles Back's farm, in Quicksand, Kentucky, which was a small community in Breathitt County, where the family had first settled, back in 1791. Nearly 1,000 people attended those reunions every year. People brought a "basket lunch," and they sat out on the grass, sharing stories and pictures with each other. Everyone loved going to those reunions.
However, members of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society thought that they could make a great deal of money, by creating and selling a fraudulent genealogy book about their family, using Harman Back. They were completely driven by greed, to do this. It was truly appalling.
They knew that Harman Back was one of the immigrants who had been researched by The Germanna Foundation, which is a genealogical organization that brings in a tremendous amount of money by selling genealogy.
The Germanna Foundation: This organization had been established, back in 1956, to research the ancestors, and the descendants, of a small group of German immigrants (including Harman Back) who had settled into northern Virginia, in the early 1700s. Those immigrants mainly lived in two small settlements: Germanna and Little Fork.
In order to join The Germanna Foundation, back in the 1950s, a person had to descend from one of those German immigrants. But starting in the 1980s, The Germanna Foundation began taking money from anyone. That was also when The Germanna Foundation started to transition, from being a respected genealogical organization, into an aggressive money-making machine that turned the fun hobby of genealogy, into an obnoxious display of greed. Their primary focus was to bring in as much money as possible, for the people who were running it. It still is.
So, The Back-Bach Genealogical Society created a fraudulent genealogy that connected their Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky, to Harman Back, simply to take advantage of The Germanna Foundation's extraordinary ability to make money from selling genealogy. They hoped to make a great deal of money as well.
In 1994: When The Back-Bach Genealogical Society published their fraudulent genealogy book, in 1994, they came up with a devious plan to sell it. They knew that the people who lived in southeastern Kentucky would never buy the book, because they already knew the actual genealogy of their family. So, The Back-Bach Genealogical Society started holding annual "secret family meetings," up in Lexington, Kentucky, 90 miles away, to which they only invited members of the Back (Bach) family who had been born and raised, outside of southeastern Kentucky. They figured that those people probably would not have heard about the actual genealogy of their family, and so they would buy the book. The Back-Bach Genealogical Society held those annual "secret family meetings" for four years, from the fall of 1994, through the fall of 1997. They sold all 500 copies of their fraudulent genealogy book at those secret meetings, because the attendees didn't know the actual genealogy of their family. They also sold lots of "memberships" in their little club for $20 per year.
In 1998: In the spring of 1998, The Back-Bach Genealogical Society sent out "newsletters" to members of the family who lived in southeastern Kentucky, announcing that THEY were suddenly going to "be in charge of the family reunions." They said that they were moving the reunions, from Miles Back's farm, in Quicksand, all the way down to a restaurant in Whitesburg, 60 miles away. They also said that they were charging people $25 to attend the reunion, and $20 to join The Back-Bach Genealogical Society.
When members of the family in southeastern Kentucky received those "newsletters," they were understandably outraged. Nobody had ever paid any money to go to their own family reunion before, and there was no reason to join any club. Nobody from southeastern Kentucky went to that new "reunion" in Whitesburg, or to any of the subsequent "reunions" in Whitesburg. The only people who went were from out-of-state. The attendees had to sit quietly, and listen, while Reedus Back (the "president" of The Back-Bach Genealogical Society) loomed over them, from the podium, looking down at them, and lecturing them about Harman Back. He also constantly solicited them for money. And if anyone dared to ask about the actual genealogy of the family, Reedus and his buddies laughed at them.
About fifty people attended that first new "reunion," but less and less people went, each year after that. By 2010, nobody showed up, and so the new "reunions" ended. The Back-Bach Genealogical Society destroyed the family reunions, for their own family, which had been going on for nearly seventy years.
The real damage: But it was that fraudulent genealogy book that caused the really serious damage to the family. It pitted the people who had bought the book, and somehow believed what was in it; against the people who lived in southeastern Kentucky, who already knew the actual genealogy of their family.
The Back-Bach Genealogical Society tore their own family apart, with their lies and their greed. To this day, the people who still blindly support that fraudulent genealogy are known as "Back-Bach people," which is not a compliment.
The "Back-Bach people" still loudly dispute the actual genealogy of their own family, because, either (1) they refuse to admit that they were duped, and they are too lazy to research the facts for themselves; or (2) they want to pretend that they descend from Harman Back, or Henry Back (died 1809), so they can pretend to be a member of DAR (the Daughters of the American Revolution). Harman Back, and Henry Back (died 1809), did not actually fight in the Revolutionary War, but they apparently provided supplies to the troops. That means they are considered to be "Patriots," in DAR, which means that their (legitimate) descendants can become a member of DAR.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR): When The Back-Bach Genealogical Society was preparing their fraudulent genealogy book, they discovered that Harman Back was a "Patriot" in DAR. They also discovered that Henry Back (died 1809) was a "Patriot" in DAR as well. So, The Back-Bach Genealogical Society sent in information to DAR, claiming that (1) Henry Back (died 1809) was a son of Harman Back; and (2) Henry Back (died 1809) had sons named John Back (1774-1853) and Henry Back (1785-1871). Both of those statements were false, however, back at that time, DAR was not very strict about what information they accepted; they basically accepted whatever was submitted to them. But nowadays, they require documented proof, when new information is submitted.
The Back-Bach Genealogical Society claimed that John Back (1774-1853) and his brother Henry Back (1785-1871) were sons of Henry Back (died 1809), because those two men were well-known and well-documented as living in southeastern Kentucky. John Back (1774-1853) had married Catherine Robertson, and they mainly lived in Breathitt County; and Henry Back (1785-1871) had married Susannah Maggard, and they mainly lived in Letcher County. Those two men were the final link in the chain, of the fraudulent genealogy created by The Back-Bach Genealogical Society.
For many years, that inaccurate information about Harman Back, his alleged son Henry Back (died 1809), and Henry's alleged sons, John Back (1774-1853) and Henry Back (1785-1871), remained in the DAR records as being accurate.
As a result, many people who actually descend from John Back (1774-1853) and Henry Back (1785-1871) were able to obtain membership in DAR, based upon that inaccurate information.
However, starting around 2005, when the accurate genealogy of the Back (Bach) family began to emerge again, through the publication of several well-researched books, some of the "Back-Bach people" responded in anger. One of them, who had obtained her DAR membership through that inaccurate information, even set up an account on a DNA website, in order to purposefully deceive people into thinking that the Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky descend from Harman Back. She claims that the DNA samples she collected "prove" that the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descends from Harman Back, through his alleged son Henry Back (born 1809). But that is just another blatant lie, and she knows it.
Her DNA samples only show that, about 15 generations ago, back in the 1500s, back in Europe, the people she tested shared a common ancestor. But that's no real surprise, if all of their ancestors came from Germany. The results do not, in any way whatsoever, prove that members of the Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky descend from Harman Back and/or Henry Back (died 1809). Even if the DNA samples came from the two groups of people who she claims they came from, which is highly doubtful (descendants of Harman Back, and descendants of people from southeastern Kentucky), the results only show that, back in the 1500s, these two families shared a common ancestor. So what. The results certainly do not show that, way down those ancestral lines, in the 1700s, in America, one line suddenly jumped over and then descended from another line. She knows that. She is lying, just like all the "Back-Bach people" do.
UPDATE: In September of 2022, a comparison was made, between the page on her website that displayed her DNA "results," to a saved screen-shot of the same page, from a few years ago. The result was shocking. A few years ago, only one of the participants was shown to descend from Harman Back. But now, suddenly, EVERY participant is shown to descend from Harman Back, including the ones who weren't shown as descending from Harman Back, a few years ago! So, how did the ancestor of all those participants suddenly change, from not descending from Harman Back, to descending from Harman Back? Answer: SHE changed the ancestor of all the participants to be Harman Back herself! That is absolute proof that her DNA website is a fraud, and that she is a liar. What she is doing is beyond shameful. In fact, she is an "officer" at a local DAR chapter. But she keeps posting the fraudulent genealogy about Harman Back, all over the internet, trying to hang onto her DAR membership. But, by being so selfish, and so demented, and by deliberately posting lies on the internet, she is creating even more turmoil within her own family. What a disgrace she is.
In early 2022, DAR issued a very important announcement, after conducting extensive and in-depth research. They stated that Patriot Harman Back never had a son named Henry Back (or a son named John Back), and that the only son Patriot Harman Back ever had was Harman Back Jr. They also stated that Harman Back Jr. never had a son named Henry Back (or a son named John Back) either.
DAR further stated that, while Patriot Henry Back (died 1809) did have sons named John Back and Henry Back, they were not the John Back (1774-1853) or the Henry Back (1785-1871) who lived (and died) in southeastern Kentucky. The John Back and the Henry Back, who were the sons of Patriot Henry Back (died 1809), were born in different years (John was born in 1776, and Henry was born in 1783), and neither of them ever lived in Kentucky. (John moved to North Carolina, where he probably died; and Henry died in 1805, in Virginia.)
This important announcement resulted in DAR placing "Error in Lineage" notices on all of the memberships of the people who had claimed to be descendants of Patriot Harman Back, and Patriot Henry Back, including that strange woman lying about the DNA tests.
Please visit the DAR website (see below).
The DAR finally put an end
to the fraudulent genealogy peddled by
The Back-Bach Genealogical Society
The accurate genealogy of this family is actually much more interesting than the fraudulent one!