The Ship Oliver--the true story of the 1738 voyage

No matter what you have heard...
No matter what The Germanna Foundation claims...
Harman Back from Freudenberg, Germany was NOT onboard the ship Oliver.

This website provides the true story of the ship Oliver,
and it reveals the name of the ship that Harman actually sailed on.

This website also provides the true story of Harman Back,
and it exposes the lies that have been created about him.

William Byrd II

The story begins with a man named William Byrd II. He was born on March 28, 1674, in Charles City County, Virginia, to a very wealthy and prominent family. His parents were William Byrd I and Maria Horsmanden.

When he was seventeen years old, his parents sent him to London, England, for his education. But he ended up staying there for fourteen years. He studied the classics, as well as law, and he also became a member of "The Royal Society of London."

When his father died, in 1705, William returned to Virginia to take care of the family estate. In 1706, he married Lucy Parke, and they had four children. But Lucy died in 1716, of smallpox. William got remarried to Maria Taylor, in 1724, and they also had four children.

In 1730, William started building a large, three-story brick home, to replace the small, wooden house in which his parents had lived, on the 1,200-acre plantation that he had inherited from them. The home was completed in 1735, and he named it, "Westover." It is still standing today, and it's located about seven miles southwest of Charles City, Virginia, in between Richmond and Williamsburg. It overlooks the James River. It is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture, in the country.

Link to Westover

While William was married to his first wife, her father, Colonel Daniel Parke II, had died, in 1711. William took over his property in Virginia, in order to keep it in the family. He was required to assume the debts that were associated with it, but he was not initially aware of how large those debts actually were.

As time went by, William often became short of money, particularly while he was building Westover, as he was trying to pay off the debts of his father-in-law. He sold some of his own land, to satisfy the creditors, but when that still wasn't enough, in 1734, he came up with an idea to make some money. He decided to colonize some land, specifically with Swiss immigrants.

Byrd's land along the Roanoke River

In June of 1735, William received a patent for 100,000 acres along the Roanoke River, in the far southeastern part of Virginia, which was very close to the North Carolina border (see the map below).

He received this land, on the condition that, within two years, be brought in at least one family to settle there, for every 1,000 acres. That meant he needed to bring in 100 families. He later got an extension of time, until October of 1738, to bring in 100 families to settle on his land.

William only wanted to bring Swiss immigrants to his land, not only because they were hard workers, but because they were skilled in "diversified farming." In addition, he only wanted Protestants, because he believed that, "there were already too many Catholics" in the New World.

Byrd only wanted Swiss settlers

In order to attract the attention of Swiss settlers, William wrote a book titled, William Byrd's Natural History of Virginia -- the Newly Discovered Eden. In it, he described his land along the Roanoke River in the far southeastern part of Virginia, in glorious detail. He wrote about the weather, the people, and the animals. He also wrote about the plants, the trees, the flowers, and the herbs. He made it seem as if southeastern Virginia truly was "The Land of Eden."

Link to William Byrd's book

William then needed to get his book into the hands of Swiss people who wanted to immigrate to America, so that they would settle on his land. He contacted The Helvetian Society, in Bern, Switzerland, which often made arrangements for ships to transport Swiss immigrants to America. One of their members, Samuel Jenner, translated William's book into German, because most Swiss people speak German (known as "Swiss German"). The Helvetian Society published William's book, in 1737.

The Helvetian Society used that book to persuade Swiss immigrants to settle on William Byrd's land, in the far southeastern part of Virginia. The first ship of Swiss immigrants sailed to America, in late 1737. Records show that it was headed for Virginia, but it somehow landed in South Carolina, where it shipwrecked. It was said that there was a second ship, but no information exists as to what happened to it.

By early 1738, William was getting concerned, because his deadline of October of 1738, to settle his land, was fast approaching. And so, in the spring of 1738, he sold 33,400 acres of his land along the Roanoke River to a large group of Swiss people, for 3,000 pounds. That way, he knew that they would settle on his land. Those people were soon scheduled to sail on the ship Oliver.

The ship Oliver

The ship had been built in Boston, in 1720. It was initially called, The Eagle, but in 1736, its name was changed to The Oliver. The ship was owned by three brothers who lived in the Netherlands: Archibald Hope, Jr., Isaac Hope, and Zachary Hope. Their company was called, "The Hope Brothers." The ship Oliver was a 100-ton vessel, and it had eight guns. It was a sturdy and trusted ship. By 1738, it had crossed the ocean safely, between Europe and America, many times. Nobody had any idea that this would be its last voyage.

Old records from "The Hope Brothers," and old articles from the Rotterdam newspaper, the Courant, indicate that the ship Oliver, along with four other ships (The Thistle, The Winter Galley, The Glasgow, and The Queen Elizabeth), arrived in Rotterdam, in mid-June of 1738. All five ships were then loaded with passengers and goods.

The captain of the ship Oliver was William Walker, and he had a crew of fourteen men. The records show that the ship Oliver was loaded with about 300 passengers, and they were specifically described as being "Protestant Switzers." However, some people were concerned that the ship was not built to carry that many people.

The old records also indicated that the five ships were ready to sail to England, on June 22, 1738. (Back then, all ships sailing to America had to stop at a port in England, before setting sail across the ocean, in order to have their final inspections performed, and to pay the required fees.)

All five ships left Rotterdam, either on June 22 or June 23, of 1738. On the evening of June 23, 1738, a bad storm forced the five ships to dock at Hellevoetsluis, which is a small coastal town, just across from the Goeree-Overflakke Island, and south of Rotterdam. This was reported in the June 24, 1738 edition of the Courant newspaper, and this was later documented, in 1900, in The Perkiomen Region, Past and Present (see below). The article also stated that all five ships were bound for Pennsylvania.

While the ship Oliver was docked at Hellevoetsluis, for a few days, several of its passengers got off the ship and refused to return, because of the overcrowding. Captain William Walker was also concerned about the overcrowding, as well as the excessive amount of goods, both of which were creating too much weight. He also got off the ship and refused to return, but he was soon replaced with Captain William Wright.

It should be noted that, the following year, in 1739, one of the passengers from the ship Oliver, Carlo Toriano, stated that he had arrived in Rotterdam, in June of 1738, and that he had boarded the ship in June. He further stated that the ship Oliver had docked in Hellevoetsluis for a few days, and it did not leave there until "early July of 1738."

The ship Oliver left Hellevoetsluis, in early July of 1738. It then headed for England, where it pulled into the port at Cowes, for its final inspections and to pay the necessary fees. But it was not able to depart from there, for a few weeks, because the winds were not favorable.

Shortly after the ship left Cowes, a bad storm came up that caused quite a bit of damage to the vessel. The ship then had to pull into the port at Plymouth, England, in order to obtain the needed repairs. Those repairs took several weeks to complete. Finally, in early August of 1738, the ship Oliver headed out across the ocean, towards America. By that time, it was nearly two months behind schedule.

Old records indicated that the ship Oliver was hit by thirteen storms, as it crossed the ocean, one right after the other. A mast even fell off, during one of the storms. At some point, during the voyage, both the captain and the first mate died. A man named Francis Sinclair was then made the captain.

Since the voyage took much longer than planned, the food and the fresh water began to run out. During the voyage, about fifty passengers died, from starvation, dehydration, or disease. Most of them were children. Their bodies were thrown overboard, as their family and friends wept.

The November 24, 1738 edition of the Virginia Gazette newspaper (see below) featured a small article about the ship Oliver. Apparently, another ship had passed by the ship Oliver, out in the ocean, and the crews of each ship had shouted information back and forth, to each other. Information from the ship Oliver was then reported to the newspaper. The newspaper article described the passengers onboard the ship Oliver as being Swiss ("Switzers"), and that they were going to settle on the "back lands," which was land that was inland, and "in back of" the coast. Obviously, this was referring to William Byrd's land along the Roanoke River. (This article is shown here, through the courtesy of The Virginia Historical Society.)

By the end of December, the food and water on the ship Oliver had completely run out, and so the passengers were practically hysterical. On January 3, 1739, land was finally spotted. The ship dropped anchor, near Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia, which is at the south end of the Chesapeake Bay (see the map below).

Suddenly, several of the passengers drew pistols and rifles, and they started a mutiny. They threatened to kill the captain, unless he, some of the crew, and some of the passengers, quickly went ashore on a small boat, located some fresh water and food, and then brought it all back to the ship. So that's what they did.

But when the men got to the shore, they were not able to find any fresh water or food, right away. As they continued to search, the weather took a turn for the worse. Before they could return to the ship, a bad storm came up.

As the men watched in horror, from the shore, strong winds dragged the ship Oliver over onto a sandbar. The bottom of the ship was damaged, and so the hull quickly filled with water. About fifty passengers were trapped down there, and they drowned. But about two hundred passengers were able to get off the ship, and they began to swim towards the shore.

However, it was January, and so it was bitterly cold. The water was also bitterly cold. It was late in the afternoon, and so it was also nearly dark. Of the two hundred people who tried to swim to the shore, about forty of them drowned. And of the ones who finally made it to the shore, seventy of them later froze to death that night, on the beach and in the nearby marshes.

Early the next morning, some of the residents from a nearby village found about ninety survivors. They took them into their homes, and they cared for them, until they recovered.

So, of the three hundred Swiss passengers who started the voyage, only about ninety of them survived. It was a terrible tragedy. The voyage was written about in the Virginia Gazette newspaper (see below), in both the January 12, 1739 edition, and the January 19, 1739 edition. (These articles are shown here, through the courtesy of The Virginia Historical Society.)

This voyage of the ship Oliver was also reported in these newspapers, in 1739: The New York Gazette (Jan. 22-29); The American Weekly Mercury (Jan. 23-30); The Pennsylvania Gazette (Jan. 25-Feb. 1); The Boston News-Letter (Feb. 15-22); The Boston Post-Boy (Feb. 19); The Boston Evening Post (Feb. 19); The New England Weekly Journal (Feb. 20); and The Pennsylvania Gazette (March 22-29). And in April and May of 1739, it was reported in three European publications: The Gentleman's Magazine, The Daily Gazetteer, and The Belfast News-Letter.

Colonel Brown

These two articles from The Virginia Gazette newspaper mention a man named Colonel Brown, who had four children onboard the ship Oliver. (All four of them somehow survived.) But Colonel Brown was actually an impostor and a thief. His real name was Joseph Braun. Four years earlier, in 1735, he had embezzled a great deal of money from the vineyard where he worked, back in Bern, Switzerland. He then fled to Holland, to avoid prosecution.

In the spring of 1738, his wife Catharina, and their five children (their son Louis; and their four daughters, Rosina, Catharina, Marianne, and Lisette) left Bern, and they headed to Rotterdam. They planned on meeting up with Joseph there, and then booking passage on a ship bound for America. They hoped to escape from their troubles in Europe.

In June of 1738, Joseph put his wife Catharina and their five children onto the ship Oliver. He then went to Lisbon, Portugal, where he booked his passage on another ship, in case someone had recognized him, in Rotterdam.

But when the ship Oliver pulled into the dock at Plymouth, England, Joseph's wife Catharina and their daughter Marianne got off the ship, for some reason, and they boarded another ship that was headed for America. (Perhaps they had become concerned about the overcrowding.) Catharina and Marianne arrived in America first, and so they waited in Williamsburg for the rest of the family to arrive. Joseph's ship arrived shortly thereafter. The three of them then waited for the ship Oliver to arrive.

When Joseph heard that the Oliver had shipwrecked near Lynnhaven Bay, he quickly went there, looking for his four children. He discovered that one of the people who had frozen to death on the beach was Joachim Lorenz Haeberline, who was the leader of the Swiss people from Bern, and an extremely wealthy man. Seeing an opportunity to make some quick money, Joseph attempted to claim the cargo that was still out in the bay, on the shipwrecked Oliver, knowing that it contained valuables. But when he tried to take possession of a large number of trunks, beyond what his children had, people became suspicious.

Those suspicions were reported to a local merchant firm called, "John Taylor, Campbell & Sproul." They had been hired by "The Hope Brothers," to handle the unloading of the ship Oliver, in America. They knew that everything on the ship Oliver, besides the personal belongings of the passengers, belonged to Joachim Lorenz Haeberline. (Mr. Haeberline's brother, and his "cousin Fischer," also died.) The merchant firm had no idea who "Colonel Brown" was, and he was soon exposed as an imposter. Joseph ("Colonel Brown") then quickly left the area, even deserting his own family.

William Byrd II then took care of Joseph's wife Catharina and their five children, for a period of time. Catharina died, just a few years later, in 1745. At the time of her death, she owed money to several people, including William Byrd II.

On August 14, 1746, Joseph placed an ad in the Virginia Gazette newspaper, offering a reward for the return of his silver snuff box (see the article above). By that time, his wife was dead, and all of his children had returned to Switzerland. It was said that Joseph had "supported himself with instrumental music which he understood well." But nothing else is known about him, or his children.

Carlo Toriano

Another survivor of the ship Oliver was a man named Carlo Toriano. His family was originally from northern Italy, but they had moved to Soglio, Switzerland, where he had grown up. Several months after the shipwreck, on July 31, 1739, Carlo was asked to make a statement about his voyage. This request came from "The Hope Brothers." They were trying to "build a case," in the event that anyone tried to sue them, by claiming that they were not responsible for what had happened on the ship Oliver. In his statement, Carlo glossed over all of the bad things that had happened, including the overcrowding and the lack of food and water. In fact, he wrote that, "...we sailed happily..." It is believed that he made that ridiculous statement, only because "The Hope Brothers" had paid for his return trip back to Switzerland.

It is highly probable that six of Carlo Toriano's relatives were also onboard the ship Oliver. This included a man named Schertorio "Sher" Toriano (born in 1695, in Soglio, Switzerland), his wife Luna, and their four children (Peter, Andrew, Schertorio Jr., and Mary). Sher's wife Luna had died, sometime during the voyage, but he and his children had survived, and then they swam to the shore, after the shipwreck.

Sher later changed the spelling of his name to "Scher Torian," but many records show his last name as "DeToriano." On May 5, 1740, he bought 200 acres of land in what was then Brunswick County, Virginia (now Lunenburg County), for 25 pounds. The land was along the Dan River, and about two miles east of the present-day town of South Boston, Virginia. His land was near (or part of) William Byrd II's land patent. Sher later remarried a woman whose first name was Anne. He wrote his will on May 16, 1748. He left his land to his sons, and he named his friend, Sylvestor Galvanol, as the executor of his estate. It was said that Sylvestor was also onboard the ship Oliver, but this has not yet been confirmed. (Sylvestor's last name was later spelled as, "Juniors" and "Juniels.")

Samuel Suther

Another known survivor of the ship Oliver was Samuel Suther (born on May 18, 1722, in Switzerland). He was just sixteen years old, when he boarded the ship Oliver, along with his father and his twelve siblings.

His father and two of his sisters had somehow died, while the repairs were being done to the ship, as it was docked in Plymouth, England. The rest of his siblings had died, sometime during the voyage. He was the only member of his family to survive the voyage. He had swum to the shore, after the shipwreck. He was one of the people who were found still alive, on the beach, the next morning. He later stated that he had been taken care of by the "kind attention of an Englishman."

When Samuel got older, he moved to Philadelphia, where he taught school. He later moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he founded several German Reformed churches.

He died on September 28, 1788, in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. He had documented what had happened on the voyage, in his diary, and that information was included with the obituary of his son, David Suther, who died on April 21, 1843. David's obituary was published in The Reformed Church Messenger, on May 10, 1843.

Link to David Suther's obituary

A historical marker was erected in 1975, to honor Samuel Suther, near the Gilead Reformed Church, in Concord, North Carolina, where he had preached for fourteen years (see the picture above).

Other survivors

The only other known survivors of the ship Oliver were two members of the crew: Francis Sinclair (who had taken over as captain); and James Russell (who actually later sued Mr. Sinclair). There were also some reports of a man named Hans Devauld Vonderberg being onboard.

The names of all the other survivors have been lost to time. There is no known passenger list for this final voyage of the ship Oliver.

The William and Mary Quarterly

In October of 1952, the voyage of the ship Oliver was featured in a four-page article titled, The Tragic Shipwreck of the Protestant Switzers, in a prestigious scholarly journal called, The William and Mary Quarterly (see below). The article was written by Lloyd Haynes Williams. It clearly documented that the passengers on the ship Oliver were Swiss, and that they sailed to America, in order to settle on land that they had purchased from William Byrd II. (The article is shown here, through the courtesy of The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the digital library JSTOR.)

This article in The William and Mary Quarterly made it very clear that the overwhelming majority of the passengers on the ship Oliver were Swiss. It described the three hundred passengers as being, "...upwards of three hundred Protestant Switzers..." The article also stated that the ship had been chartered by The Helevetian Society, in Bern, Switzerland, for the sole purpose of transporting Swiss settlers to William Byrd's land. And the article also confirmed that these people had just purchased 33,400 acres of Mr. Byrd's land, and that they were headed there, to settle on that land.

Now, the article did state that William Byrd had "...sold a group of Switzers and Germans a tract of thirty-three thousand acres..." But the article also stated that, "On leaving Switzerland, the settlers had sold all their property..." So it's also very clear that those few Germans in the group, who had bought some of William Byrd's land, had been living in Switzerland, before they boarded the ship Oliver. In fact, there have always been Germans living in Switzerland, because they share a border, and a common language.

Some redemptioners

Other articles that were published later mentioned that there were "a few Germans onboard," who were identified as being "redemptioners." Those were people who sailed for free, but then they had to work off the cost of their voyage, after they arrived in America, as indentured servants, for seven years. At the end of that seven years, the redemptioner was given a new suit of clothes, and he was free to do as he wanted.

Most ships sailing to America, back at that time, often carried a very small number of redemptioners (around five or so), to fill up any remaining seats. But no ship carried a large number of redemptioners.

The biggest lie about the ship Oliver

In 1984, a highly respected German historian named Klaus Wust wrote a historical research paper titled, William Byrd II and the Shipwreck of the Oliver. It was published by The Swiss-American Historical Society, in their June, 1984 newsletter.

In that paper, Mr. Wust stated that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman Back, were on the ship Oliver (see below). Mr. Wust also stated in that paper that his source for that information was the book written by Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw, titled, Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750 (shown as source #35 below). Dr. Holtsclaw was the longtime historian for The Germanna Foundation, which is a genealogical organization in northern Virginia. It was founded in 1953, and its members are some of the descendants of a small group of Germans, who had immigrated to America in the early 1700s, including Harman Back.

The problem was...Dr. Holtsclaw had never written that, in his book, or in any other book or document. In fact, Dr. Holtsclaw clearly wrote in his book, Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750, that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman Back, had sailed on a ship that landed in Georgia, in the fall of 1738, but that he just didn't know the name of the ship (see below). Dr. Holtsclaw referred to the research that had been done by the highly respected Dr. Wilhelm Guethling, who was an expert on the history of Freudenberg. (Please note that Dr. Holtsclaw mistakenly wrote that Harman Back and his wife sailed with their daughter Anna Ella, but they actually sailed with their son Harman Jr.)

It is obvious that Mr. Wust had not read Dr. Holtsclaw's book. He cited that book as being the source for his statement that those people from Freudenberg were on the ship Oliver, but nowhere in Dr. Holtsclaw's book did Dr. Holtsclaw say that, or even imply it. In fact, Dr. Holtsclaw specifically stated that those people from Freudenberg had sailed to Georgia; they had landed in Georgia; and they had later left Georgia.

In 1986, Mr. Wust wrote another historical research paper titled, The Emigration Season of 1738--Year of the Destroying Angels. In that paper, he also stated that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman Back, were on the ship Oliver. However, he did not cite his source, because he had already done so, in his 1984 paper.

It is not known how Mr. Wust could have made such a serious mistake. (He died in 2003.) But it is believed that someone from The Germanna Foundation simply told Mr. Wust that Dr. Holtsclaw had written that in his book. And then Mr. Wust simply failed to verify it. Many people believe that the person who told this to Mr. Wust was John Blankenbaker, because he was the only person who later directly benefited from that incorrect information, including financially benefiting from it. In addition, John Blankenbaker knew Klaus Wust, and he was friends with him, during this period of time.

John Blankenbaker had joined The Germanna Foundation, around 1983, shortly before Dr. Holtsclaw retired. John was very jealous of Dr. Holtsclaw, and so, after Dr. Holtsclaw retired, in 1986, John actually appointed himself, to be the new historian for the organization, even though he had no education or experience in that field. (He was a retired engineer who strangely liked to brag that he had invented the computer, even though what he invented was just a box with some wires and knobs; it was nothing like a real computer.) Ever since then, John has told people that Dr. Holtsclaw had made "lots of mistakes," and that he had appointed himself to "fix those mistakes." Strangely, John often jokes that he is the "unofficial" historian for The Germanna Foundation, as if that is somehow funny.

And ever since Mr. Wust published his 1986 paper, John Blankenbaker refers to it as being the "proof" that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman Back, were on the ship Oliver. He gets away with it, because Mr. Wust did not include a source in his 1986 paper.

However, it is important to note that John never refers to Mr. Wust's 1984 paper, because that paper included Dr. Holtsclaw's book as being the source, and anyone who has read Dr. Holtsclaw's book knows full well that he never even mentioned the ship Oliver in his book, and he also clearly wrote that those people from Freudenberg had sailed to Georgia, but he just didn't know the name of the ship that they were on.

John Blankenbaker has made a name for himself, and lots of money, by telling his lies about the ship Oliver, and how those people from Freudenberg were allegedly onboard. He has made money from selling his newsletter, which not only contains his lies about the ship Oliver, it is also packed full of his wordy, repetitive, and generally undocumented little stories about history and genealogy (most of which were copied from other places). He has worked very hard, over the years, desperately trying to portray himself as being an expert on history and genealogy, and an expert on the ship Oliver. But he is no expert.

He has also been giving speeches about the ship Oliver, for many years, for The Germanna Foundation. And everytime he talks about the "tragic voyage" of the ship Oliver, the story becomes more and more dramatic. He just loves to embellish. John has brought in a tremendous amount of money for The Germanna Foundation, telling his lies about the ship Oliver, which is why they fawn all over him, give him undeserved awards, and worship him as if he is a hero. For example, following one of the recent reunions at The Germanna Foundation, their brochure stated, "Next on the agenda was the always captivating remarks of John Blankenbaker on the mysterious ship Oliver. With the skills of a great storyteller, John transfixed the listeners with the amazing tale of the Oliver and the Germanna ancestors who survived the ill-fated history of that ship." It is particularly nauseating, when you know that John knows full well that those people from Freudenberg were not onboard that ship.

John Blankenbaker has made up all sorts of other lies, to enhance his main lie about the fifty-three people from Freudenberg being on the ship Oliver. For example, whenever John is asked why the pastor at The Freudenberg Church wrote down in the church records that the fifty-three people from Freudenberg were going to Georgia, and not to Virginia (where the ship Oliver landed), he simply says that, "they didn't know where they were going." But that is absurd. Of course they knew where they were going! They were leaving their homeland for good, and taking a dangerous trip across the ocean, to a foreign land. Of course they knew where they were going! But John thinks that, if he just says something, no matter how absurd it is, that means it is accurate.

However, John always has a difficult time explaining how Harman Back's infant son, and Johann Friedrich Mueller's infant son (who also settled in Little Fork), could have possibly swum all the way to the shore, in those cold, dark waters of Lynnhaven Bay, from the shipwrecked Oliver. And he also has a difficult time explaining what the fifty-three people from Freudenberg were allegedly doing in Rotterdam, for two long months, in between the time they got there (in mid-April) and the time the ship Oliver boarded passengers (on June 22). So, if you ask him these kinds of questions, he either changes the subject, or he calls you a demeaning name, to dismiss you and your legitimate questions.

But it gets worse. In 1998, John even took parts of Mr. Wust's 1986 paper, and then he re-wrote it, under his name. Then he posted it on his own website, claiming that he wrote it, and claiming that it established him, as the expert on the immigration ships of 1738! In fact, John has created lots of articles, using Mr. Wust's published work, and then adding his name to it, to make it appear as if both of them wrote the articles together! John has manipulated, used, abused, and stolen, Mr. Wust's work, for many years. He tries to make it seem as if he is just as knowledgeable as Mr. Wust was, and as if he is on the same intellectual level as Mr. Wust was. It is truly revolting.

In 2010, John even published a new article on The Germanna Foundation's website that was titled, The Last Voyage of the Oliver, claiming that he wrote it with Mr. Wust (see below). But Mr. Wust had been dead for seven years (see the link below)! Mr. Wust's family was very upset about this, and they finally decided to do something about John Blankenbaker's plagiarism. They contacted The Germanna Foundation, and they demanded that the article be taken down, and it was. But a short time later, John Blankenbaker simply brazenly put the article on his own website, which was a website that Mr. Wust's family knew nothing about. John Blankenbaker's behavior was (and still is) beyond repulsive.

Link to Mr. Wust's grave

It is difficult to believe that a respected organization, such as The Germanna Foundation, would actually exaggerate the story of Harman Back's life, and allow John Blankenbaker to spew his lies about the ship Oliver, just to make money. But that is exactly what they have done.

Link to The Germanna Foundation

The people who operate The Germanna Foundation are smart, educated people. They know how to research history and genealogy. They most certainly know about everything that is being presented on this website. They know that Harman Back was not on the ship Oliver. But they just cannot resist all the money that the embellished tale about that voyage brings in for them.

To deliberately lie to people, about their own ancestors, just to make a buck, is not only immoral and unethical, it is verging on criminal. How could they do such a thing.

Harman Back in Germany

Harman Back was born as "Hermann Bach." (He changed the spelling of his name, after he arrived in America.) He was born in early 1708, in Freudenberg, Germany. He was christened there, on May 13, 1708. His parents were Johannes Bach and Anna Margrethe Kray.

On January 3, 1737, Harman married Anna Margrethe Hausmann. She was probably born in early 1712, in Bottenberg, Germany. She was christened on March 20, 1712, in Oberfischbach, Germany. Her parents were Hermann Hausmann and Agnessa Loos.

Just two months after Harman and Anna got married, Anna gave birth to twins, on March 10, 1737, in Bottenberg. They had a daughter they named Anna Ella, and a son they later named Hermann Jr. (Harman Jr.). Copies of the birth records for these two children have been located in the Prussian Birth Records, from the International Genealogical Index (see below). However, their daughter Anna Ella died as an infant, sometime before the spring of 1738.

General James Oglethorpe

Meanwhile, ever since 1730, or so, small groups of Germans had been sailing to America. They first went to Rotterdam, where they booked passage on a ship. Most of the ships were bound for either Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or Charleston, South Carolina.

Sometimes, prominent men would be in charge of the voyages. They would recruit the people to sail to America, and then they would make the arrangements for the ships to take them there. One of those men was General James Oglethorpe.

Link to James Oglethorpe

General Oglethorpe had been born in Surrey, England, in 1696. When he was 26 years old, in 1722, he was elected to the British Parliament. In 1728, he became very concerned about the plight of the people who were locked up in London's debtor prisons. He thought that it would be a good idea to take them to America, and settle them onto some land that was located in between South Carolina and Florida. That land, of course, later became Georgia.

The reason for this was to make Georgia a "buffer zone," which would provide protection to Britain's colonies, which were located north of there, from the Spanish military forces, which were located south of there, down in Florida.

In November of 1732, General Oglethorpe sailed to Georgia with his first group of colonists. A few months later, he founded the city of Savannah, Georgia, on February 12, 1733. He laid out the city in a series of grids, which featured wide streets and twenty-four public squares (see the old drawing below).

Besides the people from London's debtor prisons, Oglethorpe also recruited people from other places, such as Germany, Switzerland, France, and Scotland, to sail to America and settle in Savannah. He offered each settler fifty acres of land, along with a town lot, a garden plot near town, and an additional forty-five acres of farmland.

He personally directed the economic development of Savannah, to ensure its success, and he also defended it with his own militia. These benefits were very tempting to immigrants. General Oglethorpe then decided to start recruiting Moravians to come and settle in Savannah.

The Moravians

The Moravians were a Protestant religious group. They believed in "theology of the heart," which focused on the relationship between a person and Christ, instead of focusing on the doctrinal differences between various churches. Moravian beliefs are closely associated with Lutheran beliefs, which is why so many Lutherans empathized with Moravians, and they often converted and became Moravians.

Moravians lived in a communal lifestyle, with everyone living together as a group, not as individual families. They also shared their meals together, which they called, "lovefeasts." They followed a very simple and humble way of life. They dressed plainly, they refused to swear to oaths, and they refused to take up arms. They also believed in the great power of prayer. In their commune, there was always at least one of them praying, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Singing in choirs was also vital. They called each other, "Brother" and "Sister," and they washed each other's feet. One of the most well-known Moravians was Count Zinzendorf.

Count Zinzendorf

He was born as Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, on May 26, 1700, in Dresden, Germany, into a very noble and extremely wealthy family. Because of his family's status, he later became known as, "Count Zinzendorf." His father died when he was an infant, and he was raised by his maternal grandmother, the Baroness von Gersdorf, on her large estate.

Link to Count Zinzendorf

On September 7, 1722, Count Zinzendorf married Countess Erdmuthe Dorothea, who was his cousin. That same year, he also bought his grandmother's estate, which was called, "Berthelsdorf." However, wealth and position actually did not interest him at all.

A couple of years later, a group of Moravians asked him for permission to live on the grounds of his estate. He agreed, and so they set up a settlement there. It became known as, "Herrnhut" (see the old drawing below). After the Moravians moved onto his property, Count Zinzendorf became intrigued by them. By 1727, he was spending all of his time with them, at Herrnhut. He later became a Moravian bishop.

The Moravians had a strong desire to spread their beliefs to others, and so they began traveling to other countries as missionaries. In particular, they wanted to minister to people who were less fortunate, as well as people who had been neglected or mistreated. In 1732, a few of the Moravians went to the West Indies, where they lived among the slaves. Later, other Moravians went to Greenland, the Virgin Islands, England, Holland, and Germany. Several of them also went to Freudenberg, Germany, and they became well-known to the residents of that little town.

In 1735, General Oglethorpe recruited ten Moravians, who lived at Herrnhut, to sail to America, because he had known Count Zinzendorf for many years. Those Moravians sailed to Savannah, Georgia, on the ship Two Brothers. They were led by Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg, who was the assistant to Count Zinzendorf.

This first small group of Moravians went to Savannah, in order to prepare the way for a larger group of Moravians who would be sailing there, the following year.

In 1736, that larger group of Moravians sailed to Savannah on the ship Simmonds. That time, General Oglethorpe was also onboard. Shortly after they arrived, Bishop Spangenberg left Savannah, and he walked north, to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where another group of Moravians were already living.

Tillmann Hirnschal

Also in 1736, a man named Tillmann Hirnschal, who was from Bockseifen, Germany, which was near Freudenberg, had immigrated to America. Records show that he arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Princess Augusta, on September 16, 1736. But he wanted to return to Europe, in late 1737, so that he could bring back some needed items to his new home in America, as well as bring back his son, his son's wife, and their young child.

An old newspaper article from the March 16, 1961 edition of the newspaper in Siegen, Germany, the Siegener, described Tillmann's return in detail (see below). Obviously, the article was printed in German, but the English translation of it is presented below the article.

The article reported that, before Tillmann had left for his return trip to Germany, he was hired to recruit his friends and neighbors back in Germany, to immigrate to Georgia, in order to join the colonists who had been settling in Savannah, ever since 1733. Tillmann was supposed to tell his friends and neighbors how favorable the living conditions were, in Georgia, and to guide them through the emigration process. A government official also accompanied Tillmann back to Germany, to assist him with this project.

This means that Tillman was actually what was known as a "newlander." Newlanders were people who had immigrated to America, and then later, they returned to Europe for a short time (either to visit their relatives, or to pick up some things they needed for their new home in America), and then they went back to America. Before they left for Europe, newlanders were often approached by shipping companies, which asked them to help recruit people to immigrate to America, because they needed to fill their ships. Newlanders were paid a fee for each person they recruited, and they also got their return passage to America paid.

This article also reported that Tillmann signed up many of his friends and neighbors to immigrate to Georgia, in February and March of 1738, and their names were listed. There were fifty-three people, including men, women, and children. Harman Back's name was on the list, as was his wife Anna, and their one child, who was their son Harman Jr. (Their daughter Anna Ella had died, sometime before then.) There were thirty people from Freudenberg, and twenty-three people from three, little nearby villages. They all belonged to The Freudenberg Church, and so they are all often referred to as being from Freudenberg.

The Freudenberg Church

This newspaper article above also said that, on March 10, 1738, a sad and somber service was held in The Freudenberg Church, so that those fifty-three people could say good-bye to everyone, three days before they began their journey to the harbor, in Rotterdam.

The Freudenberg Church was built back in 1585, and it is still standing today. It was built as a "fortress church," which meant that it was built to function as a military fortress, in case the townspeople needed protection from invaders.

The architecture of this church is in stark contrast to the majority of the buildings in the downtown area, which were built in a style known as "half-timbered." This is when layers of big, strong timbers are laid down, horizontally to the ground, on top of each other, to build the walls, and then a mixture of wet dirt and straw is packed in between each layer. After the mixture dries, it is painted with whitewash, and the timbers are painted black or dark brown. The town of Freudenberg actually looks as if time has stood still, for the past 200 years, because of this type of building construction.

On the morning that they left, March 13, 1738, Pastor Goebel wrote down the names of the people who were leaving, in "The Death Register" of The Freudenberg Church (see below). He did this because he knew that he would never see them again. And so, to him, it was the same as if they would be dead.

Although this old document is difficult to read and it is in German, translators have confirmed that this is an accurate listing of the people who were leaving that day for America. On the line for Harman Back, it shows his wife's name, and that they had one child. (In German, "one child" is spelled as either, "ein kind," or "a kind.")

Pastor Goebel also wrote at the top of "The Death Register" that they were sailing to Georgia. Those fifty-three people had been recruited by Tillmann Hirnschal to immigrate to Georgia, and settle in Savannah. Tillmann had been hired to recruit them, and to escort them there, and that was exactly what he was doing.

The Freudenberg Church was an Evangelical Church, and its members were primarily Lutheran. And since it is known that some Moravians had gone to Freudenberg to do missionary work, several years before, and that Lutherans were particularly empathetic with Moravians, it is highly probable that at least some members of The Freudenberg Church had converted and become Moravians.

In fact, it was documented that these fifty-three people were well-acquainted with Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, in a book titled, Freudenberg Past and Present. This book was written in 1956, by members of the Freudenberg City Council, and it was edited by Dr. Wilhelm Guethling. He was the Director of the Siegen Museum, for sixteen years; the Director of the Siegen City Library and Archives, for twenty-three years; the founder of the Siegen Research Center; and a member of numerous historical commissions. He was highly respected for his "phenomenal memory and knowledge," and he wrote many books and papers.

At the bottom of page 73, of Freudenberg Past and Present (see below), it says (translated into English): "What motivated these people to leave their homeland? It seems these were people who were close to Zinzendorf and his Moravian Brethren, or they might have even belonged to the Moravian Brethren, because when they arrived in Dover, Pastor Peter Bohler joined them. He was a close friend of Zinzendorf's, and he intended to do missionary work among the Indians in Georgia."

Onto Rotterdam

When these fifty-three people left Freudenberg, on March 13, 1738, for the harbor in Rotterdam, they first stopped at The Crottorf Castle, according to that 1961 newspaper article. That old castle had been built around 1550, and it was surrounded by a moat (see the old drawing below).

The old castle was located about four miles west of Freudenberg, and so it only took them about one day to walk there. They may have planned on meeting some other people there, who were also headed to Rotterdam. Old records described the castle as being, "a piece of paradise that fell from heaven."

They may have stayed at The Crottorf Castle for a day or so. When they left there, they would have headed west, towards the Rhine River. They needed to get to the river, so they could get onto a boat that would take them down to Rotterdam. (The Rhine River flows north and northwest.)

The Rhine River is about forty-five miles west of The Crottorf Castle. Average walking speed is about three miles per hour, which is about twenty-five miles per day. But considering that these people were carrying lots of items, and they probably stopped frequently, to rest, they more than likely averaged less than one mile per hour, or just five miles per day. This means that it probably took them about ten days to walk to the Rhine River, which would have put their arrival there, around the end of March.

They probably got to the river, somewhere around Cologne, Germany, which is about one hundred and sixty miles southeast of Rotterdam. It would probably have taken them another ten days or so, to get down the river, by boat, since they would have been stopped several times along the way by the authorities, as all travelers were. They would have had all their belongings inspected, and they would have had to pay fees, each time they were stopped. But even if extra time was needed, for weather delays or other problems, it can be assumed that these fifty-three people would have arrived in Rotterdam, around the middle of April, at the latest.

Once they got to Rotterdam, they would have booked their passage on a ship bound for America, just as quickly as possible. Not only were they anxious to get to America, they did not have the money, or the desire, to stay in Rotterdam for any length of time.

Now, shortly before those people got to Rotterdam, hundreds of other Germans, who also wanted to immigrate to America, had already arrived there. The city was swarming with Germans, and the Dutch were angry about it. As a result, that April, the city's authorities began enforcing a law that prohibited Germans from being inside the city limits. Instead, all Germans had to go to a "holding area," which was near the ruins of the St. Elbrecht's Chapel, and near Kralingen, about two miles east of Rotterdam. The living conditions in that "holding area" were dreadful. Those fifty-three people certainly did not want to stay in that "holding area" any longer than they had to. They definitely would have booked their passage on a ship bound for America, just as soon as they could.

Peter Bohler

A couple of months before those fifty-three people left Freudenberg, Count Zinzendorf ordained a man named Peter Bohler, in January of 1738. He then commissioned him to minister, in Savannah, Georgia.

Pastor Bohler soon began to plan his trip. What happened next was documented in the old records, and then it was preserved, many years later, in a book written by Adelaide Lisetta Fries, in 1905, titled, The Moravians in Georgia 1738-1740. Her book has now entered the public domain, and so it is available to read online.

Link to Miss Fries' book

Adelaide Lisetta Fries (1871-1949) was actually a descendant of Count Zinzendorf, and she had become fascinated with the Moravians, when she was a young girl. She was born in North Carolina, the daughter of John William Fries and Agnes Sophia de Schweinitz.

Adelaide never married, and she lived with her parents until their death. She spent her entire life collecting, organizing, translating, and publishing, the records of the Moravian Church. She researched the Moravians extensively, she wrote numerous books about the Moravians, and she was highly respected for her work. She has always been considered to be the foremost authority on the Moravians, even to this day.

Her book, The Moravians in Georgia 1738-1740, stated that Pastor Bohler had arrived in London, on February 18, 1738, with another Moravian named George Schulius. They first met with some other men, to discuss their religious beliefs.

Her book further stated that, on February 22, 1738, Pastor Bohler and the other men asked General Oglethorpe if they could sail to America with him and his regiment of soldiers. Oglethorpe agreed, and so further plans were made. General Oglethorpe also promised to provide them with Bibles, and some other things that they would need, so that they could build a school for the black slaves, in Savannah. And because Pastor Bohler and Brother Schulius knew very little English, General Oglethorpe also provided them with a translator, which was a young boy named Simon Peter Harper.

Harman Back sailed on the ship The Union Galley

On page 206 of Miss Fries' book, she wrote that, "On the 28 of April, the baggage of the Missionaries was put aboard The Union Galley, [commanded by] Capt. Moberley, with instructions that Bohler and his companions should join her at Portsmouth" (see the screenshot from her book below).

It is critically important to note that Dr. Guethling wrote on page 73 of his book that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg (including Harman Back) sailed with Pastor Bohler, in 1738 (see above).

And since Miss Fries wrote on page 206 of her book that Pastor Bohler sailed on the ship The Union Galley, in 1738, it can easily be concluded that Dr. Guethling and Miss Fries were referring to the exact same voyage, and that, therefore, the fifty-three people from Freudenberg (including Harman Back) sailed on the ship The Union Galley.

There is no doubt whatsoever about this.

The fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman Back, definitely sailed to America on the ship The Union Galley.

The fifty-three people from Freudenberg were apparently considered part of this group of people who were identified as being "missionaries." Whether or not any of them were actual missionaries is not known. But Dr. Guethling described them as being "close to" Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, and he also indicated that they may have been Moravians.

Certainly, the people from Freudenberg empathized with the Moravians and their missionary work. Furthermore, all of the passengers may have simply been identified in the records as being "missionaries," in order to differentiate them from General Oglethorpe's "soldiers," who were going to be boarding next.

And so, shortly after the fifty-three people from Freudenberg, and their belongings, were loaded onto the ship The Union Galley, in Rotterdam, on April 28, 1738, the ship pulled out of the harbor, sailed down the Nieuwe Maas River, and then into the North Sea. It turned south, went through the Strait of Dover, and into the English Channel. It then pulled into the port at Southampton, along the southern coast of England (see the map below). All ships bound for America had to stop at a port in England, for their final inspections, before they could head out across the ocean, because America was a British colony. The Union Galley departed from Southampton, a few days later, on May 8, 1738, according to Dr. Guethling.

At that point in time, Dr. Guethling assumed that the ship was on its way to America, because he wrote in his book, Freudenberg Past and Present, "...On May 8, the emigrants put to sea from Southampton and after a voyage of 134 days reached Savannah in Georgia..." However, on May 8, the ship was actually on its way to another port, the port at nearby Portsmouth, in order to pick up either some additional cargo or some additional passengers.

Miss Fries' book continued, "On the 15 of May, Peter Bohler, George Schulius, and the lad Simon Peter Harper left London, but finding the ship not ready to sail, they...went to Southampton where some of the vessels were lying." This statement indicates that The Union Galley was still at the port in Portsmouth, on May 15, and that Peter Bohler and the other two had decided to go to nearby Southampton for awhile, where there were some other ships that were going to be sailing with it. Her book further stated, "Returning to Portsmouth, they [Peter Bohler, George Schulius, and Simon Peter Harper] embarked on May 22..."

Her book then stated, "On the 30, the fleet sailed to Southampton for the soldiers..." The soldiers, commanded by General Oglethorpe, boarded the ships, four days later. The book also said that the ships then sailed to Spithead, where they remained for awhile. Spithead is a small port near Portsmouth, which is protected from the winds. The ships waited there, for the winds to become more favorable, before they headed out into the open sea, towards America.

But they ended up having to wait at Spithead for several weeks. During that time, Miss Fries' book reported that "a conspiracy" was discovered. It seems that the soldiers on one of the ships had planned on killing their officers, taking their money, and then escaping to France. But there was no further information as to what became of that.

Finally, according to Miss Fries' book, on July 16, 1738, the ships headed out to sea. This means that, the fifty-three people from Freudenberg, as well as the other passengers, all of whom were referred to as "missionaries," had been on the ship for over two months, before it even headed out for America. This explains why Dr. Guethling had written that their journey across the ocean took 134 days. Normally, voyages to America took about ten weeks, which is 70 days. Those additional 64 days were spent, off the southern coast of England, loading more cargo and passengers; loading the soldiers; sailing between Southampton and Portsmouth; and waiting for the winds to become favorable, at Spithead.

The voyage of the ship The Union Galley

According to Miss Fries' book, on July 29, 1738, the ships stopped at the Madeira Islands, which is a group of small islands located off the southwest coast of Portugal (see the map below). Pastor Bohler and Brother Schulius got off the ship there, a few times, in order to meet with a Catholic priest who lived on one of the islands. The ships then left there, on August 8, 1738.

During the remaining part of the voyage across the ocean, Miss Fries' book reported that there were many arguments and fights, involving the soldiers. They even fought with the sailors who were navigating the ships. In one drunken brawl, a soldier somehow cut off the hand of one of the young girls who was traveling with the missionaries. The book also reported that the Moravians quietly read their Bibles during the voyage. They were not very happy about having to sail with the troublesome soldiers.

Miss Fries' book reported that the coast of Georgia was finally sighted, on September 18, 1738. Eleven days later, on September 29, the ships dropped anchor, in the harbor at St. Simons Island. The book noted that the passengers watched the soldiers get off the ships "with grateful hearts."

It is also important to mention that Dr. Guethling reported that the ship carrying the fifty-three people from Freudenberg arrived in Georgia, 134 days after May 8, which would have (also) been September 18, 1738.

In fact, there are numerous sources that document the fact that these fifty-three people from Freudenberg landed in Georgia, in the fall of 1738.

Those sources include: The Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, page 60; Some Early Virginia Immigrants, by Gail Breitbard; The World Book of Back's, by Halbert's Family Heritage; and A Siegerland Emigrant List of 1738, by Otto Baeumer. Mr. Baeumer was from Freudenberg, and his research was translated by Don Yoder, in 1969 (see below).

They landed in Georgia

The fifty-three people from Freudenberg, and the other passengers, were welcomed by the Moravians who were already living in Savannah.

But as time passed, the hot and humid weather in Georgia became quite bothersome to most of the people from Freudenberg, as well as to those from other areas of Europe. It was so different from what they had been used to. In addition, yellow fever became a serious problem. The disease was brought in by the black slaves from Africa, and it spread rapidly, due to all the mosquitoes. Pastor Bohler became very ill from it, during the summer and fall of 1739, and George Schulius died from it, on August 4, 1739. Other Moravians probably succumbed to the disease as well.

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing down in Florida again, with the Spanish military forces there. Back in February of 1737, fears had risen in Savannah that the Spanish were getting ready to invade. And so, the residents, including the Moravians, were asked to take up arms and join the militia. But the Moravians refused to do so, not only because it was against their religious beliefs, but they had been previously promised exemption from military service by General Oglethorpe.

However, the other residents of Savannah told the Moravians that, if they did not join the militia and help defend the city, they would burn down their houses and kill them.

The situation remained tense for several months. By the fall of 1737, many Moravians had left Savannah. Most of them had walked to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Bishop Spangenberg had taken up residence, one year earlier. Others went to North Carolina and Virginia, and at least one of them returned to Europe. But the Spanish did not attack, and so the tensions later eased somewhat.

But in the fall of 1739, the Spanish began threatening once more. And then, England declared war on Spain, that October. At that point, the people from Freudenberg, and the Moravians, knew that it was time to leave Savannah for good.

They left Georgia

In late October, or early November, of 1739, the people from Freudenberg, and most of the remaining Moravians, left Savannah, and they began walking north, towards Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where the other Moravians from Georgia had gone to live, back in 1737. Miss Fries discussed this in her book, as did Dr. Guthling in his book, when he wrote, "...When further news meets us, because of the unhealthy climate, they had later moved north, where they settled in the place Bethlehem."

It should also be noted that Miss Fries also wrote that, by the early spring of 1740, there were only six Moravians left in Savannah, and that they left in April, with Pastor Bohler, on a small boat called, The Savannah, which took them to Pennsylvania.

So, as the people from Freudenberg, and the Moravians, walked north, in the fall of 1739, they followed the coastline. Along the way, nine of them, including Harman Back, his wife Anna, and their young son Harman Jr., decided to stop and settle in Virginia, in a small German settlement located way up the Rappahannock River. The reason they did that was because, one member of the group, Johannes Huffman, had a cousin named Henry Huffman, who was already living there, in a settlement called, "Germanna." (Henry had immigrated in 1734.) The other five people in this group of nine were Johann Friedrich Mueller (and his wife Anna, and their infant son Matthias); Hermann Mueller; and George Weidmann (who was Harman Back's cousin).

Harman Back (Hermann Bach) settled in Little Fork, Virginia

Harman Back, his wife Anna, and their little son Harman Jr., decided to settle in Little Fork, Virginia, which was about 25 miles northwest of Germanna. Little Fork was also about 22 miles north of the present-day city of Culpeper, Virginia.

Harman had changed the spelling of his name, as soon as he had arrived in America, from "Hermann Bach," to "Harman Back," which was a more Americanized (Anglicized) version. Many immigrants simplified the spelling of their names, so that other colonists could more easily pronounce it and spell it.

His new name in America became Harman Back, and his little son's name became Harman Back Jr.

In 1741, Harman's friend Johannes Huffman died. (He had changed his name to John Huffman.) Harman had immigrated with John, just three years earlier. Harman was appointed one of the three appraisers of John's estate, and he verified the inventory as a witness, with his signature (see below). Harman's signature on this document is proof that he knew how to write. (If he didn't know how to write, he would have signed it with an "x," which was known as "a mark.")

On August 25, 1748, Harman bought 100 acres of land in Little Fork, from Jacob Holtzclaw and his wife Catherine, for 20 pounds. The land was along the Little Fork of the North Branch of the Rappahannock River, near the Fauquier County line. This was the last definitive record that has ever been found for Harman Back.

A map was made in the early 1900s, which showed the plot of land that Harman Back had owned (see below).

Harman Back died in Little Fork, sometime between 1748 and 1789 (and probably before 1782).

Harman Back never had sons named Henry Back or John Back

There is no evidence whatsoever that Harman Back ever had any other children, besides the set of twins who were born in 1737, in Germany.

And he most certainly never had any sons named Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) or John Back (1738-1794). That was simply a blatant lie. That lie was started back in 1964, by a man named Troy Lee Back (1904-1997). There was not, and there still is not, even one piece of evidence to support Troy's lie, because it isn't true. Troy was trying to connect his Back (Bach) family, down in southeastern Kentucky, to Harman Back (Hermann Bach), up in Little Fork. And Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) was one of the two main people that Troy lied about, to accomplish his goal.

Troy Lee Back (1904-1997) never even graduated from high school; he worked in a coal mine, like his father. He knew the actual genealogy of his own family, just like everyone else in his family did, because it had been passed down, within the family, for generations. Troy made up the lies about his family's genealogy, in a sick and desperate attempt to "get rich." That's all it ever was.

You see, Harman Back was one of the German immigrants who were being researched by The Germanna Foundation, which was a highly respected, and extremely profitable, genealogical organization, in Virginia. They made a great deal of money, by selling the genealogy of the immigrants who they were researching. Troy desperately wanted to join their organization, so that he could be recognized as "the expert" on the Back (Bach) family, and so that he could make a lot of money, by selling the genealogy of the Back (Bach) family. All he was interested in was “getting rich quick.” He didn’t care that he was disgracing his own family, or blatantly lying about them. All he cared about was using The Germanna Foundation to make money for himself. It was that simple.

Once Troy created an extra son for Harman Back, which was Henry Back (abt.1743-1809), then he assigned children to Henry that were not really his. One of those children was Troy’s actual great grandfather, Henry Back (1785-1871). That was how Troy connected himself and his Back (Bach) family to Harman Back.

Troy later started a little club with some of his cousins called, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society." They gave it that name, to try to make what they were doing appear to be credible. However, not one member of their little club was a genealogist. In fact, most of them had never even graduated from high school. They published a book in 1994, which falsely claimed that Harman Back had those two sons named Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) and John Back (1738-1794). They also claimed that, after Henry died, in Madison County, Virginia, his 63-year-old widow Elizabeth Hoffman Back suddenly moved all the way down to the dangerous wilderness of southeastern Kentucky, in 1809, where she had never even been before, and founded their family there. It was absurd.

They further claimed that, when Elizabeth Hoffman Back went to Kentucky, she took her alleged children with her, including: Henry Back (1785-1871), who later married Susannah Maggard, and became Troy's great grandfather; Mary Back (1777-1807), who later had a son out-of-wedlock named Alfred Back, and then she died a few weeks later; and John Back (1774-1854), who later married Catherine Robertson.

Of course, because all of this was a lie, several obvious problems immediately emerged. For example, if Mary Back (1777-1807) was Elizabeth’s daughter, how could she have died in 1807, in Harlan County, Kentucky, a few weeks after giving birth to Alfred, if she was still supposedly living up in Madison County, Virginia with her parents in 1807? And if John Back (1774-1854) was Elizabeth’s son, how could he have gotten married to Catherine Robertson in 1795, in southwestern Virginia, if he was still supposedly living up in Madison County, Virginia with his parents in 1795? In addition, John and Catherine's first four children have been well-documented as being born in southwestern Virginia: Mary (born 1798); Joseph (born 1802); Susannah (born 1804); and Lewis (born 1807). How could that be, if John and his alleged widowed mother Elizabeth had supposedly not even left Madison County until 1809?

Here is the truth: Henry Back (1785-1871), who later married Susannah Maggard, and became Troy's great grandfather; Mary Back (1777-1807), who later had a son out-of-wedlock named Alfred Back, and then she died a few weeks later; and John Back (1774-1854), who later married Catherine Robertson, were actually the children of Joseph Back (1745-1819) and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard (1755-1826). None of these people were related, in any way, to Harman Back (Hermann Bach).

Troy Lee Back's deliberate and outrageous lies, and the serious damage that they caused, and continue to cause, are explained very well on this website:

Link to "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society"

Please take the time to review the detailed and documented information on that site.

Unfortunately, many people believed the lies in Troy Lee Back's 1994 book, even though not one piece of evidence was presented in the book that supported his lies.

It's time that Troy's lies were exposed. But let's begin with Harman's only documented children, his twins (born 1737).

First of all, it is known that one of Harman Back's twins (born 1737) had died, sometime before he and his wife Anna sailed to America, in 1738. This is because, when the pastor at the Freudenberg Church wrote down the names of the 53 people who were sailing to America, in the church records, he wrote, "Hermann Bach and his wife Anna Margreth, with one child" (see above). The fact that Hermann Bach (Harman Back) and his wife Anna sailed to America with just one child has been confirmed in several other sources, some of which are presented on this website.

The question is...which one of the twins had died? Was it the son Hermann Jr. (Harman Jr.), or the daughter Anna Ella? The answer is, obviously, the daughter Anna Ella, because the son Hermann Jr. (Harman Jr.) later bought a Treasury Warrant, in 1783, in order to obtain land in Kentucky; he also later sold his father's 100-acre farm, in 1789, which he had inherited; he also later wrote his will in Garrard County, Kentucky, in 1794; and he was also documented as having children and descendants, who lived in central Kentucky. All of these facts have been proven, and the evidence is presented here, on this website.

In addition, it must be strongly emphasized that there are no records from Little Fork, or from anywhere else, which show that Harman Back and his wife Anna ever had any other children, who survived past infancy, besides Harman Jr., despite the fact that there are quite a few old records, still in existence, from Little Fork, and from the nearby "sister" community of Germanna.

To be specific, there are no records of a man named Henry Back, or a man named John Back, ever being born in Little Fork, ever living in Little Fork, ever getting married in Little Fork, or ever dying in Little Fork. There are also no records of a man named Henry Back, or a man named John Back, ever buying or owning any land in Little Fork either, nor are their names mentioned in any of the church records there.

Most importantly, there are no men with the name of Henry Back, or John Back, ever living in Little Fork, in the Culpeper County Tax Lists, for any year, but yet, Harman Back Jr. (born 1737), the only documented, proven, and surviving child of Harman Back, was listed in the Tax Lists, as living in Little Fork, in 1782 (when the lists began), 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1789 (when he moved away from there). To see copies of these tax lists, please scroll down to the section farther down this page titled, "Harman Back Jr.."

Henry Back and John Back were part of a different family

Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) and his brother John Back (1738-1794) were NOT the sons of Harman Back (Hermann Bach), and they were NOT the brothers of Harman Back Jr.

Henry Back and John Back (and their parents, their wives, and their children) lived in the far southern part of Culpeper County, Virginia, over 20 miles southwest of Little Fork. It is highly doubtful that they even knew Harman Back, or his son Harman Back Jr.

Henry Back and John Back were the sons of John Henry Back, who lived along Crooked Creek (also known as Meander Run), near where it flows into the Robinson River, in the far southern part of Culpeper County. This has been proven by many sources, including the old Bach Family Bible (a prayer book), which is now on display at the Breathitt County Library, in Jackson, Kentucky.

Henry Back and John Back married two sisters. Henry married Elizabeth Hoffman, and John married her sister Margaret Hoffman. Those two women were the daughters of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg, who lived along the Robinson River, about a mile or so from where John Henry Back and his sons, Henry and John, lived.

In fact, at Christmas of 1787, John Henry Back made an interesting entry in his Family Bible. He wrote down the names and dates of birth of the people who were visiting at his cabin that day. One of those names was Elizabeth (Hoffman) Back, born July 13, 1746. This woman was definitely the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg; John Hoffman also kept a Family Bible, in which he listed the names and dates of birth of each of his children, including Elizabeth, born July 13, 1746. The fact that the name and the exact date of birth of Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg, was written into her father's Family Bible, and in the Family Bible of John Henry Back, proves, beyond a shadow of doubt, that she married into the family of John Henry Back and not the family of Harman Back. Elizabeth Hoffman married the Henry Back who was the son of John Henry Back; Harman Back never even had a son named Henry.

Henry Back and John Back were seen in the Culpeper County Personal Property Tax Lists, from 1782 through 1792, as living in the far southern part of Culpeper County, near the Robinson River. To repeat...this was over 20 miles southwest of Little Fork, where Harman Back Jr. lived. (Starting in 1793, the far southern part of Culpeper County was Madison County.)

Henry Back and John Back lived very close to each other. In fact, in several of these Tax Lists, they were listed right next to each other. Also, on those Tax Lists, in that very same area of the far southern part of Culpeper County, were listed several adult children of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg (including Nicholas Hoffman, Frederick Hoffman, Tilman Hoffman, Michael Hoffman, Jacob Hoffman, William Hoffman, and Henry Hoffman, who was even identified as being "son of old John"). John Hoffman had died in 1772, and his wife Maria died in 1782.

Here is another critical point: In early America, in every Tax List, for every year, one man was appointed, in each part of each county, who actually lived in that specific part of the county, to do the actual counting of the people's taxable land and taxable possessions. In Culpeper County, the man who did the counting, up in Little Fork, in the far northern part of the county, from 1782 through 1786, was John Wigginton (1740-1825). He is well-documented as living in Little Fork. He was a schoolteacher and a surveyor there. His plantation was called "Greenfield's," and it was located on 400 acres, right along the Little Fork of the Rappahannock River. When he died, he was buried near the town of Lakota, in a small cemetery, on what later became known as Fred Garrison's farm. This is about 5 miles east of Little Fork, and about 16 miles northeast of the town of Culpeper.

From 1787 through 1801, it was Aaron Lane (1735-1807) who did the counting up in Little Fork. He had married Eleanor "Ellen" Green, in 1771 (the daughter of Robert Green and Patty Ball), and then he fought in the Revolutionary War. Records show that he was definitely living in Culpeper County by 1779. He died in Culpeper County, but it is not known where he was buried.

But way down in the far southern part of Culpeper County, along the Robinson River, a man named Henry Field Jr. did the counting in 1782. After that, Col. Henry Hill did the counting, from 1783 through 1786; and then it was Goodrich Lightfoot, in 1787; John Hume, in 1788; and John Gibbs, from 1789 through 1792. In late 1792, that land in the far southern part of Culpeper County became Madison County, including the land on which Henry Back and John Back lived, as well as the land where the adult children of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg lived.

From 1793 through 1796, John Gibbs continued doing the counting for that part of Madison County that used to be Culpeper County. After that, John Bradford did the counting, in 1797 and 1798; Whitfield Early, in 1799 and 1800; and George H. Allen, from 1801 through 1809. Let's get some information about Mr. Field, Mr. Hill, Mr. Lightfoot, Mr. Hume, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Bradford, Mr. Early, and Mr. Allen, and prove that they, in fact, lived in the far southern part of Culpeper County that became Madison County.

Henry Field Jr. (1734-1787): He owned a tremendous amount of land in Culpeper County, and he was highly respected. He was a Justice of the Peace, and he was elected to the House of Burgesses, three times, and also elected to the House of Delegates (in 1778). His father, Henry Field Sr. (1700-1763), actually owned the property right next door to John Henry Back, along Crooked Creek.

Col. Henry Hill (1743-1815): He owned a large plantation that covered thousands of acres, and it was called "Millwood." It was located near the present-day town of Novum, which is about 12 miles due west of the town of Culpeper, in Madison County, Virginia. In fact, he was the first sheriff in Madison County. He had served in the Revolutionary War, under Major General Harry Lee. Interestingly, John Henry Back's daughter Anna (the sister of John Back and Henry Back) married Benjamin Strother, who had also served under Major General Harry Lee.

Goodrich Lightfoot (1765-1828): He married Martha Fry, the daughter of Henry Fry (1738-1823), who inherited his family's plantation, called "Elim," from his father Joshua Fry. It was located in Madison County, at the juncture of Crooked Creek and the Robinson River, about one mile from where John Henry Back and his family lived. Goodrich and his wife lived along the Robinson River, in Madison County, Virginia, until his death.

John Hume (1769-1842): He was the grandson of George Hume (1698-1760), who had sold 50 acres of land to John Henry Back, along Crooked Creek, back in 1753. John Hume was the son of George Hume Jr. (1729-1802), who owed 322 acres, at the juncture of Crooked Creek and the Robinson River, in Madison County, and who was a neighbor of John Henry Back and his family. John Hume and his family later migrated to Kentucky, and then to Missouri, where he later died.

John Gibbs (1729-1804): He first married Elizabeth Churchill. After she died in 1748, he married Judith Christy, around 1750. Records show that they owned land in Bromfield Parish, in Madison County. John wrote his will there, on October 18, 1803, and it was probated there, on June 28, 1804.

John Bradford (1762-1827): He is believed to be the John Bradford who handled the 1797 and 1798 Tax Lists. He had served in the Revolutionary War, when he was a young man. When the war ended, he and his parents left Fauquier County, Virginia, and they moved to Madison County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Blackwell in 1785. He sold his land in Madison County, shortly after 1800, and then he and his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he later died.

Whitfield Early (1777-1865): He was also a Commissioner of Revenue, in Madison County, Virginia, and he served on a grand jury there, in 1806. Around 1808, he and his family moved to Boone County, Kentucky. They settled along the Ohio River, where he later died.

George H. Allen (1773-1865): He married Nancy Graves in 1806. Records show that he owned quite a bit of land in Madison County, and he was also the sheriff there, for a period of time. It is believed that his family owned the Allen Mountain Farm, in Madison County. He was seen living in Madison County, in the census reports, from 1810 through 1860. He also owned 19 slaves in 1860. Records indicate that he fathered children with one (or more) of his slaves.

It is imperative to understand that John Wigginton's jurisdiction, in the far northern part of Culpeper County (including Little Fork, where Harman Back's family lived), was nowhere near the jurisdiction that was counted by Mr. Hill, Mr. Lightfoot, Mr. Hume, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Bradford, Mr. Early, and Mr. Allen, in the far southern part of Culpeper County (where Henry Back and his brother John Back lived). This fact alone proves that Henry Back and his brother John Back were not a part of Harman Back's family.

Furthermore, many of the children of John Hoffman and his wife Maria Sabina Folg also lived in the exact same taxing jurisdiction as Henry Back and John Back, in the far southern part of Culpeper County, on lands that they had inherited from their father John Hoffman. This proves that John Hoffman was a neighbor to John Henry Back, and that his daughters would have probably married the sons of a neighbor, not the sons of someone who lived over 20 miles away.

To summarize...Harman Back Jr. and his family originally came from Freudenberg, Germany, and after they immigrated, in 1738, they lived in the far northern part of Culpeper County, in Little Fork. In contrast, Henry Back, his brother John Back, and their family originally came from Thuringia, Germany, and after they immigrated, in 1740, they lived in the far southern part of Culpeper County that became Madison County, in 1792. Even though both families had the same last name, that does not mean that they were related to each other. They weren't.

It is well-known that there were many different Bach families in Germany who were not related to each other. That is because "Bach" was a very common surname in Germany. In German, "Bach" means "brook" or "stream." Thousands of years ago, people were known by the geographical elements that existed, near where they lived. Many people lived near a brook, and so many people were called "Bach." Furthermore, these two Bach families being discussed here originated from two very different parts of Germany, which are nowhere near each other: Freudenberg is about 155 miles west of Thuringia. Many people with the last name of Bach changed the spelling of their name to Back, when they arrived in America. That still does not mean they were from the same family.

As stated above, Henry Back and John Back were listed in the Tax Lists, in the far southern part of Culpeper County, from 1782 until 1792, which was when Madison County was created from Culpeper County. In 1793, their land was suddenly in Madison County. From that point onward, Henry Back and John Back were in the Tax Lists for Madison County. However, John Back was only seen in the Madison County Tax Lists, in 1793, because he died in January of 1794. His widow Margaret was then listed in the Madison County Tax Lists, from 1794 until 1804. She sold their farm in 1807, and then she moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, with two of her daughters. She was seen living there, in the 1820 and 1830 Census Reports; she was also listed in the Tax Lists there, from 1811 until 1830. She died there, around 1831.

Henry Back was seen in the Madison County Tax Lists, from 1793 until 1807. He died in early 1809, and his widow Elizabeth sold their farm, later that year. Elizabeth also then moved to Rockingham County, to live near her widowed sister Margaret. Elizabeth was seen living in Rockingham County, in the 1810 Census Report, with her son Aaron, two of her adult daughters, and an unknown young girl (see below). They lived next door to Henry Hammer and his family; Elizabeth's son Aaron would marry Mr. Hammer's daughter Margaret, the following year. Elizabeth was also listed in the 1810 Tax Lists, in Rockingham County, for both land, and personal property, as "Aaron Back and mother" (see below), as well as the 1815 Tax Lists. Elizabeth died in Rockingham County, Virginia, sometime around 1815. She never went to Kentucky.

In addition, all five of Henry Back's sons were seen in the Madison County Tax Lists, at some point in time. His son John was in the 1797 Tax List; he moved to North Carolina, the following year. His son Benjamin was in the Tax Lists, from 1804 to 1806; he died sometime before 1830. His son Joseph was in the Tax Lists for many years, starting in 1803; he died in 1843. His son Aaron was in the 1807 Tax List; he moved to Rockingham County, Virginia with his widowed mother, and his two sisters, in 1809. And his son Lewis was in the 1809 Tax List, right before he moved to Russell County, Virginia, to live with his cousin John Back and his wife Catherine Robertson.

Henry Back's brother John Back had five daughters. But women were not listed in the Tax Lists, unless they were widows and owned land, and since that was not the case for any of his daughters, they were not seen in any of the Tax Lists. His daughter Elizabeth married John Embrey, and they later moved to Rockingham County. His daughters Anna and Sarah moved to Rockingham County, with their mother, after he died, and probably never married. And his daughter Frances married a man named Henry Floyd, but she soon died. Henry Floyd then married John's other daughter Susannah.

Harman Back never had a son named Joseph

There is also absolutely no proof anywhere that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) ever had a son named Joseph.

However, he did have a grandson named Joseph.

Joseph was actually the son of Harman's son Harman Jr. (Please see farther down this page for information about Joseph.)

The idea that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had a son named Joseph was simply another one of the many lies that Troy Lee Back and "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" created. They claimed that Joseph was a son of Harman Back (Hermann Bach), because they claimed that Harman Jr. was born around 1745, not in 1737! Their extraordinary incompetence was nearly as staggering as their blatant lies.

Because Troy had found a 1794 will, in Garrard County, Kentucky, signed by a man named "Harman Back," and which named Joseph as his son (see below), he claimed that the will belonged to Harman Back (Hermann Bach), and that Joseph was his son. That, of course, fit in well with his lie that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had left Little Fork and migrated to Garrard County, Kentucky, in 1789!

In fact, even though Troy had a copy of the page from Joseph's Family Bible, which clearly stated that his date of birth was April 9, 1756 (see below), he purposefully "backed up" his year of birth to 1742. He did this, to make it seem more likely that Joseph was a son of Harman Back (Hermann Bach). Troy also completely ignored the accurate genealogical information given to him by a woman named Mary Edith Marley, who was a direct descendant of Joseph Back. She had actually given Troy a copy of that page from Joseph's Family Bible, and she had explained to him that Joseph Back and his family were not related to the Back (Bach) family down in southeastern Kentucky, in any way. She had researched her genealogy for decades, and she knew what she was talking about. But Troy simply mailed her information back to her, and refused to include it in his 1994 book.

Harman Back never got remarried

Another one of the many lies told by Troy Lee Back and "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" was that, at some point, Harman got remarried, to a woman named Catherine. That lie was created, in order to make it seem possible that Harman had additional children, after he immigrated to America. However, there is no marriage record for Harman ever getting remarried to anyone, in Little Fork, nor was there any woman named Catherine, who was anywhere near Harman's age group, who lived in Little Fork, during the time that he lived there, who could have possibly married him (or anyone else).

Harman Back Jr.

He was born on March 10, 1737, in Germany, and he had sailed to America with his parents, when he was just one year old, in the spring of 1738. He probably didn't remember the voyage, or the brief time that he had lived in Savannah, Georgia.

He grew up on his parent's farm, in Little Fork, Virginia, and his Americanized name became Harman Back Jr.

Around 1755, he married a woman whose first name was Katherine. She was probably Katherine Fishback, who was the daughter of Jacob Fishback and Anna Catharina Holinghaus. They lived right next door (see the map above). When Harman Jr.'s father died, he inherited the family's 100-acre farm.

On April 9, 1756, Harman Jr. and his wife Katherine had a son who they named Joseph. They later had a son who they named Harman Jr. (born around 1764), and they probably had another son named Jacob. They may have had more children than this, but no definitive records concerning any other children have been found.

In April of 1771, Harman Jr. placed an ad in the Virginia Gazette newspaper, reporting that he had found a horse (see below)

Harman Jr. (born 1737) was listed in several Personal Property Tax Lists, and several Land Tax Lists, as living in Little Fork, in Culpeper County, which was located in the far northern part of the county. He was first listed in the 1782 Personal Property Tax List (see below).

It should be noted that, prior to 1782, a man was considered to be a "tithable" (meaning, "counted for taxation purposes"), when he turned 16; but starting in 1782, that age was raised to 21. By definition, a "tithable" was a man who was "able-bodied," and therefore, subjected to being called for duty in the militia, or doing road work. Men who were over the age of 50 (or 60), or disabled, were not "tithable," and so they were not listed. Also, ministers, government officials, or men who were already in the military, were not "tithable."

If Harman Jr.'s father, Harman Back (Hermann Bach), had still been alive in 1782, he would have been 74 years old. Therefore, he would not have been listed on this Personal Property Tax List, because he was over the age of 50 (and 60), and therefore, not a "tithable." However, if Harman Back (Hermann Bach) really was still alive, in 1782, his son Harman (born 1737) would have been listed as "Harman Back Jr.," to differentiate him from his father. But because the son was listed as "Harman Back," and not "Harman Back Jr.," that would seem to indicate that his father, Harman Back (Hermann Bach), was probably dead by then.

In this 1782 Tax List (below), Joseph Back (born April 9, 1756), who was the son of Harman Back (born 1737), and the grandson of Harman Back (Hermann Bach), was listed on the same line with his father; he was then 26 years old.

In this 1782 Tax List (below), the first column indicated that there were 2 white men over the age of 21: Harman (born 1737) and Joseph (born 1756). It also shows that they owned 4 horses and 9 cows; the value of the animals is indicated, over to the right.

Harman (born 1737) was also listed in the 1783 Personal Property Tax List (see below). Just like the 1782 Personal Property Tax List, he was not listed as a "Jr.," because his father must have already died by then. His son Joseph was also listed on the same line with him, with a comment that he was over the age of 21. Reporting that Joseph was over 21 was probably simply done for clarification, since the rules had recently changed, the year before. The first column indicated that there were 2 white men over the age of 21: Harman (born 1737) and Joseph (born 1756). It also shows that they then owned 3 horses and 9 cows. The value of the animals is listed in the next three columns, and then the column, over to the far right, indicates the number of tithables, which was 2 (Harman and Joseph).

On September 16, 1783, Harman (born 1737) bought Treasury Warrant #19334, for 1,000 acres of land in Kentucky, for 1,600 pounds (see below). His father had probably died, sometime before this, and so he had probably obtained the money to buy this warrant from his father's estate. Harman (born 1737) was listed as "Harman Back," and not "Harman Back Jr.," on this 1783 Warrant List, which is another clue that his father was already dead by then.

Purchasing a Treasury Warrant was just the first step, in obtaining land in Kentucky. The next step was to get the land surveyed, to make sure that nobody else had previously made a claim for it. That usually took a couple of years to get done. So typically, the purchaser of a Kentucky Treasury Warrant did not actually move onto their land, until a few years after they had bought it.

At least fifteen young men, who had grown up on the farms right round Harman (born 1737), also moved to Kentucky and/or bought Treasury Warrants, around the same time that he did. In fact, two of them, John Crim and his brother Joseph Crim, bought their Treasury Warrants on the very same day that he did (September 16, 1783), as seen on the list above. Back at that time, many young men longed to move to Kentucky. It was a wild and special place, and many young men were fascinated by that, mainly due to the amazing stories of Daniel Boone. (But actually getting to Kentucky was extremely difficult, because of the dense wilderness, and the dangers presented by wild animals and Indians. Thus, making the long and dangerous trek to Kentucky was generally only undertaken by young, strong men, not elderly men.)

Harman (born 1737) and his son Joseph were also listed in the 1784 Personal Property Tax List, in Little Fork (see below), in the same manner that they were listed in the 1782 and 1783 Personal Property Tax Lists.

It is suspected that Harman's son Joseph went to Kentucky, to check on the Treasury Warrant, in either the fall of 1784, or a few months later. Therefore, Joseph was not listed in the 1785 Personal Property Tax List, in Little Fork, which was taken in the late winter/early spring of 1785 (see below). However, Harman's son Harman Jr. had just turned 21 years old (born around 1764), and so, he was listed under his father as "Harman Back Jun." (The tax lists had to be turned into the authorities, between March 10th and April 10th of each year, and so they were usually prepared in late February or early March.)

In this 1785 Personal Property Tax List (below), Harman (born 1737) had 3 horses and 6 cattle, and his son Harman Jr. had 2 horses and 1 cow. The report also showed that there was 1 white man over the age of 21 in each house, and 1 tithable in each house.

Harman (born 1737) was also listed on the 1785 Land Tax List, as living in Little Fork, and owning his father's 100 acres of land (see below).

It is important to understand that the Land Tax Lists were compiled in a different manner than the Personal Property Tax Lists. Harman (born 1737) was listed as a "Jr." on all of the Land Tax Lists, because he had inherited his land from his father, the "Sr." These Land Tax Lists are actually further proof that he had inherited his father's land.

This 1785 Land Tax List proves that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had died, sometime before 1785. In fact, up until January 1, 1786, "The Law of Primogeniture" was in force, in Virginia. This law mandated that, when a man passed away, his property automatically went to his eldest son. And since there was only one 100-acre farm in the Back family, that meant the land had passed onto Harman (born 1737), by at least 1785.

Harman (born 1737) was also listed in the 1786 Personal Property Tax List (see below). One of his two sons was living with him; it was probably his son Harman Jr. His other son Joseph was probably still over in Kentucky. In this report, the first column indicated that there were 2 white men over the age of 21: Harman (born 1737) and Harman Jr. (born around 1764). The report also indicated that they had 3 horses and 11 cattle. There were 2 tithables reported in the far right column (Harman and his son Harman Jr.)

In the 1787 Personal Property Tax List, Harman (born 1737) was listed as living by himself (see below). That must have meant that both of his sons, Joseph and Harman Jr., were still over in Kentucky, checking on the Treasury Warrant. The report showed that Harman then owned 3 horses and 8 cattle.

Harman (born 1737) was also listed in the 1787 Land Tax List, as still owning his father's 100 acres of land (see below).

The 1788 Personal Property Tax List for the Little Fork area is no longer in existence. Harman (born 1737) would have turned 51 years old, in 1788. And because men who were over the age of 50 (or sometimes over the age of 60) were not counted as being a tithable, he would not have been listed as a tithable anyway.

In the 1789 Personal Property Tax List, Harman (born 1737) was listed by name (see below). He was then 52 years old. However, he was clearly not counted as a tithable, as shown by the lack of a number in the first column, and a lack of a number in the column over to the far right. This is extremely significant, because it proves that all of these listings in these Personal Property Tax Lists, ever since 1782 (shown above), were him, and not his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach).

You see, Harman (born 1737) had suddenly dropped off from being counted as a tithable, in 1789, because he had recently turned 51, and men over the age of 50 were not counted as a tithable. If his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had still been alive, in 1789, he would have been 81 years old. He would have been too old to have been counted as a tithable, ever since the Personal Property Tax Lists began, in 1782, when he was 74 years old. And so, he certainly would not have suddenly dropped off as a tithable, in 1789. This is absolute proof that all of these entries for "Harman Back," in all of these Tax Lists, were for Harman (born 1737), not his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach).

This 1789 Personal Property Tax List (below) also showed that Harman (born 1737) owned 3 horses. His son Joseph was listed below him, as owning 2 horses. Joseph was counted as a tithable, as he was then 33 years old. Harman's son Harman Jr. was not listed, and so it is assumed that he was still over in Kentucky.

Harman (born 1737) was also listed in the 1789 Land Tax List as still owning his father's 100 acres of land (see below). This Land Tax List must have been taken, either in the spring of 1789, or the summer of 1789.

A few months later, on September 15, 1789, Harman (born 1737) sold that 100-acre farm that he had inherited from his father, because he was ready to migrate to Kentucky. Harman (born 1737) sold that land to Thomas Clark Fletcher, for 50 pounds. A copy of that land deed has been obtained. A section of that deed that clearly stated that Harman (born 1737) had inherited that land, as it referred to that land as being, an "indefeasible estate of inheritance" (see below). Everyone knows that the only way that a person can inherit something is if someone else (usually their parent) dies.

In addition, this deed also clearly described the land as being originally purchased from Jacob Holtzclaw and his wife Catherine. There is no doubt that this 100 acres that Harman Back (born 1737) sold, in 1789, was the same exact 100 acres that his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had bought, back in 1748. Also, since his father was dead by that time (and he already had a son named Harman Jr. himself), Harman (born 1737) was no longer referred to as a "Jr.," in the deed. He was simply referred to as "Harman Back."

Harman (born 1737) could not write, and so he signed this deed with his "mark" (an "x"). His wife Katherine also could not write, and so she signed this deed with her "mark" (an "x") as well (see below). Please note that, in contrast, his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach) knew how to write, and he knew how to sign his name, and so, if it was his father who had sold this land, his signature would have obviously been on that deed. Also please note that one of the witnesses to the signing of this deed was John Wigginton, who was the same man who had counted the people, including Harman (born 1737), in the Tax Lists, in Little Fork, for many years, including from 1782 to 1789.

Shortly after Harman (born 1737) sold the 100-acre farm that he had inherited from his father, he and his family migrated to central Kentucky. They settled on land that later became Garrard County. They probably settled on the land that he had bought with Treasury Warrant #19334, back in 1783. However, according to the records at the Kentucky Archives, a survey was never completed on that Treasury Warrant. (Curiously, on June 4, 1790, Thomas Clark Fletcher and his wife Millie sold that 100 acres to Katherine's brother, John Fishback, for 90 pounds.)

Please note this: Some people claim that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) migrated to Kentucky in 1789. That is, of course, absolutely ludicrous. In 1789, he was 81 years old! It is inconceivable that an 81-year-old man would leave his home, where he had lived for 50 years, just to make a long, grueling, and very dangerous trip, nearly 500 miles, through the dense wilderness, all the way to Kentucky. It makes no sense at all.

On December 31, 1794, Harman (born 1737) had someone write out his will for him, because he did not know how to write, and then he made his "mark" (an "x") at the bottom of it. Two of his friends witnessed it (see below).

His two friends who witnessed the will were Charles Spilman and William Hogan. It is important to note that both of these men were in the same age group as Harman Back (born 1737), not his father Harman Back (Hermann Bach). Many people mistakenly claim that this will belonged to Harman Back (Hermann Bach), but that is not true. He died in Little Fork, as evidenced by the fact that his eldest son Harman (born 1737) had inherited his 100 acres of land, at least, sometime before 1785. This will is the will of Harman Back (born 1737), the son of Harman Back (Hermann Bach).

Charles Spilman was born in 1746, and William Hogan was born in 1750. So they were about ten years younger than Harman (born 1737). It would make sense that they were the witnesses to his will, and not to his father's will. Charles Spilman and William Hogan were about forty years younger than Harman Back (Hermann Bach). It is highly unlikely that an elderly man would select witnesses to his will who were about forty years younger than he was, and even younger than his own son. Furthermore, Harman Back (Hermann Bach) knew how to write and he knew how to write his name. He would have written his own will, and he would have most certainly signed it.

Charles Spilman was born in Little Fork, and he had grown up with Harman (born 1737). Charles' father, James Spilman (1721-1790), was a neighbor to the Back family (see the map above). Around 1767, Charles married Elizabeth Fishback, who was born in Little Fork, around 1751. Her parents were John Frederick Fishback and Ann Elizabeth Holtzclaw.

Charles Spilman, his wife Elizabeth, and their children (including their sons Thomas and James), migrated to what later became Garrard County, around 1783. Charles was seen on the 1789 Tax List, in Mercer County, which later became Garrard County. His wife Elizabeth died in 1792, and she was buried in the Spilman Family Graveyard, in Buena Vista, in Garrard County. It is located just one mile west of the Harmony Church. Charles got remarried to Sarah Kemper. On June 5, 1797, Charles was appointed a justice of the peace, in Garrard County, and in 1810, he became the sheriff. His name appeared as a witness to many wills and deeds, in Garrard County, because of his position. He was seen in the 1810 Census Report, living in Lancaster, which is in Garrard County. Charles died in Garrard County, on March 15, 1826. His second wife Sarah died in 1828, and she was buried in the Spilman Family Graveyard as well. It is suspected that Charles had also been buried there.

The other witness to the will was William Hogan. He was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and his parents were James Hogan and Silence Lane. In 1779, William and his two brothers had left Virginia, and they migrated to Kentucky, to settle on land grants that they had received for their military service. William was also seen on the 1789 Tax List, in Mercer County. In 1797, William's brother John named Jacob Back as an executor to his will. Jacob was probably a son of Harman (born 1737).

William was seen on the 1800 Tax List as well, living in Garrard County, but shortly after this, he and most of his family moved to Madison County, Alabama.

Harman Back (born 1737) probably died in late December of 1797, or early January of 1798, because his will was entered into probate, in January of 1798. He was probably buried on his farm, in Garrard County, Kentucky.

Harman's inventory was ordered to be taken on February 5, 1798 (see below). It was taken by Vincent Wren, John Burks, and Gabriel Hall, and it was filed with the court on May 5, 1798 (see below).

The children of Harman Back (born 1737)

It is known that Harman (born 1737) and his wife had at least two sons: Joseph and Harman Jr. It is believed that they also had a son named Jacob. But there is no evidence that they had any other sons.

The 1800 Tax List for the State of Kentucky reveals three men with the last name of Back, who owned land, and they all lived in the central part of the state (see below). It is believed that these three men (Harman, Jacob, and Joseph) were the sons of Harman Back (born 1737), and that they were his only sons. Jacob and Joseph lived in Garrard County, and Harman lived in nearby Fayette County. Records show that these three men remained in central Kentucky, all of their lives.

Harman's son Joseph: He was born on April 9, 1756. He married Winneford Harper, on January 19, 1786. She was born on November 16, 1766. Her father was Umpriss Harper; her mother's first name may have been Millicent, and her last name may have been Hall. They were from Dettingen Parish, in Prince William County, Virginia. Apparently, either one, or both, of Winneford's parents had died, before she was two years old, and so she became an orphan. Records from The Dettingen Parish Vestry Book (Part 2, 1749-1785, p.60, acc.#1) show that she was apprenticed to Jacob Holtzclaw, of Prince William County, Virginia, on May 11, 1768 (see below). He and his family raised her. They lived on 357 acres, on the north side of a branch of Hunger Run. The adoption papers indicated that Jacob's wife was to teach Winneford how to "sew, knit, and spin," and that Winneford was to be their servant, until she turned eighteen years old.

Joseph wrote his name and date of birth into his Family Bible, along with his wife's name and date of birth. He also wrote down the names and dates of birth of his first several children (see below).

Joseph and Winneford had nine children: Nancy (born April 22, 1787); Enoch (born October 16, 1789); Sarah, who was known as "Sally" (born March 11, 1792); Elizabeth, who was known as "Betsy" (born August 13, 1794); Isaiah (born May 11, 1797); Polly (born July 17, 1799); Delilah (born May 7, 1801); Lydia (born September 30, 1803); and Jeremiah (born July 19, 1806). But their daughter Polly died before she was one year old, on March 11, 1800.

In 1789, Joseph and his family left Virginia, with his parents, and they migrated to central Kentucky. Tax records show that he owned 157 acres in Garrard County, in 1797, and he paid taxes on it. He also paid taxes on it, in 1799 and 1800. In the 1810 Census Report, Joseph and his family were living northeast of the town of Lancaster, near Back Creek, in Garrard County.

Joseph wrote his will on February 23, 1831 (see below). The witnesses were James Spilman, Thomas Spilman, and William N. Pulliam. James Spilman (1780-1832) and Thomas Spilman (1768-1833) were brothers. They were the sons of Charles Spilman and Elizabeth Fishback! Charles Spilman had been a witness to Joseph's father's will (see above). Curiously, Thomas Spilman married Alice "Alsie" Kemper, who was a younger sister to Sarah Kemper, who was the second wife of Charles Spilman, Thomas Spilman's father!

Joseph probably died, either in late December of 1831, or early January of 1832, because his will was probated in January of 1832. He was probably buried on his farm. His inventory was not taken until 1834, for some unknown reason, and it was quite extensive. His widow Winneford later moved in with her daughter Sally and her family, who also lived near Lancaster. She was seen living with them (as "Winney"), in the 1860 Census Report. She was then 94 years old. She died shortly after that. She was probably buried next to Joseph.

Joseph's friend James Spilman died shortly after he did, later in 1832. James and his wife were both buried in the Spilman Family Graveyard, near his parents. Thomas Spilman died the following year, in 1833. He was buried in the Harmony Church Cemetery, as was his wife Permelia Watson, which was near the Spilman Family Graveyard. Both James Spilman and his brother Thomas Spilman lived in Buena Vista, which was located about 15 miles northwest of where Joseph lived (in Garrard County).

Some information has been found about Joseph and Winneford's children. Their daughter Nancy married James Back, on May 9, 1812. (He was her first cousin; her father Joseph was a brother to his father Harman.) Their son Enoch married Sally Burks, on December 12, 1812. (A man named Thompson Burks gave his consent.) Their daughter Sally married Johnson Lane, on September 16, 1819. Their daughter Betsy married a Mr. Pulliam (probably William Pulliam, who was a witness to her father's will), and Thompson Burks; she married one of them, on October 4, 1814. Their son Isaiah married Nancy Turpin, on June 12, 1812. Their daughter Delilah married James Hanson Green, on July 15, 1819. She may also have married a Mr. Quinn. (Delilah died on May 10, 1854. Her husband changed his first name to Hanson, or Henson, and he got remarried to Martha Green, on September 3, 1854.) Their daughter Lydia married Joseph Newton, on September 28, 1824. Their son Jeremiah married Sally Brown, on May 3, 1837.

Harman's son Harman Jr.: He was probably born around 1764, because he first appeared on the Culpepper County Personal Property Tax List, in 1785, which was probably when he became 21 years old. It is believed that he married a woman whose first name was either Martha or Margaret; her last name may have been Kinyon or Hoffman. They got married around 1783.

Harman Jr. and his wife had at least six children: Sarah Jane (born May 15, 1784); James (born about 1785); Catharine, known as "Caty" (born about 1786); Nancy Ann (born February 25, 1790); Joseph (born around 1792); and Lydia (born about 1795).

Harman Jr. and his family also left Virginia, with his parents, and they migrated to central Kentucky, in 1789. In fact, some descendants of his daughter Nancy Ann report that she was born in Kentucky. (She was born in 1790, and so they were in Kentucky by then.) Records show that, in 1794, Harman Jr. was drafted into The Fayette County Militia. He was paid 5 pounds and 15 shillings, for his services as a private. He was stationed at The Slate Creek Iron Works, near Owingsville.

Harman Jr. and his family lived in, or near, the city of Lexington, in Fayette County. He was seen living there, in the 1810 Census Report. His wife was still alive then, and three of their children were still living at home. In the spring of 1812, Harman signed as a witness to his daughter Nancy Ann's marriage. He was not seen in the 1820 Census Report, and so it is believed that he had died, sometime between the spring of 1812 and 1820.

Some information has been found about Harman Jr. and his wife's children. Their daughter Sarah Jane married James Collins, in 1802. Their son James married Nancy Back, on May 9, 1812. (She was his first cousin; his father Harman was a brother to her father Joseph.) Their daughter Catherine married Henry Barker, on December 28, 1807. Their daughter Nancy Ann married John Buchanan, on April 12, 1812; she died on August 17, 1884. Their son Joseph married Nancy Callaghan, on March 1, 1819. Their daughter Lydia married Brightsberry Webster, in 1811.

Harman's son Jacob: Harman may have had a son named Jacob. Jacob may have been born around 1770. He also moved to central Kentucky with his family, in 1789. Jacob was listed on the 1797 and 1799 Tax Lists, for Garrard County, as owning 206 acres and two horses. In fact, records show three deeds for land that he owned in Garrard County.

It is known that Jacob bought about 47 acres along Sugar Creek, on November 4, 1799, from Abraham Stephens and his wife Ann. He paid taxes on that land, in 1800 and 1801. In fact, he was mentioned as being a resident of Garrard County, in a book that was written by Forrest Calico, which was titled, History of Garrard County Kentucky and its Churches.

Jacob may have gotten married around 1790, but the name of his wife is not known. And he may have had at least two children, because there were two marriage records for people with the last name of Back, in central Kentucky, whose parents are not known. Those two people were probably born between 1790 and 1800, and so they may have been Jacob's children. Jacob was not seen in the 1810 Census Report, or in any subsequent census reports, and so it is assumed that he died, sometime between 1801 and 1810.

Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw's book

Dr. Benjamin Clark Holtsclaw was the historian for The Germanna Foundation for many years. In 1964, he published a book titled, Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750. That book covered the 25 or so families that The Germanna Foundation was researching, including their ancestors and their descendants. Dr. Holtsclaw had quite a bit of information about most of those families, except for one, which was the family of Harman Back (Hermann Bach). Although Dr. Holtsclaw had some information about Harman's ancestors, he had no real information about Harman's descendants.

Shortly before Dr. Holtsclaw finished writing his book, he happened to meet Troy Lee Back. Troy had stumbled upon The Germanna Foundation, while he was living in nearby Arlington, Virginia, and doing genealogical research about his wife's and his mother's family. (His wife was his cousin, and she and his mother came from the same family.) Troy already knew the genealogy of his father's family, the Back (Bach) family, because everyone in southeastern Kentucky already knew it. The family's genealogy had been passed down, from generation to generation, for hundreds of years. The family had also held annual reunions every fall, at which they discussed their genealogy. Newspaper articles that reported on their reunions also documented the family's genealogy as well. In addition, the 1957 newspaper article confirmed that Troy was in attendance, and the 1960 article reported that Troy had even been appointed the "first vice president" of the reunion. There was even an old Bach Family Bible (a catechism), which clearly stated that the family originally came from Thuringia, Germany.

So there is no doubt whatsoever that Troy Lee Back knew the actual genealogy of his father's family.

But when Troy discovered The Germanna Foundation, he became obsessed with how much money they were making, from selling their genealogy. And when he learned that one of the immigrants they were researching was a man named Harman Back (Hermann Bach), and he found out that they didn't know much about his descendants, Troy saw that as a golden opportunity for him to make a lot of money too. He decided to create a story (a lie), connecting his Back (Bach) family in southeastern Kentucky, to Harman Back (Hermann Bach). Troy was extremely excited at the idea of "getting rich" from his newly-created genealogy, and also being viewed as "the expert" on the genealogy of the Back (Bach) family.

That was when Troy created a monstrous series of lies. He absolutely massacred the actual genealogy of his own family, as well as the actual genealogy of the family of Harman Back (Hermann Bach), with the extraordinary amount of lies that he told Dr. Holtsclaw. Troy somehow convinced Dr. Holtsclaw to include his lies in his upcoming book. Therefore, the information about the Back (Bach) family in Dr. Holtsclaw's book is absolutely incorrect.

However, Dr. Holtsclaw was rightly suspicious of Troy and his lies, and so he included the following two disclaimers, on pages 45 and 46 of his book: "(1) There is no strict proof that John and Henry Back of Madison Co., who married the daughters of John Hoffman, were the sons of Harman Back of the Little Fork group..." and "(2) The greatest objection to regarding Henry Back as a son of Harman Back comes from the old prayer book...Besides the family record, the prayer book contains the following inscription...We are from Thuringia."


1. Harman Back (Hermann Bach) and his family did not sail to America on the ship Oliver, as has been proven by the overwhelming evidence presented here.

By the spring of 1738, Harman Back (Hermann Bach) and his wife Anna had decided to leave their home in Freudenberg, Germany, and immigrate to Savannah, Georgia, in America, with fifty other people from their church. On the morning of March 13, 1738, the pastor of their church wrote down in the church records, the names of each of the fifty-three people who were leaving. The pastor also wrote down that they were headed to Savannah, Georgia. Later that day, Harman, his wife, and their infant son Harman Jr. (born 1737), left Freudenberg, along with the fifty other people from their church, and a small group of Moravian missionaries, and they all began to walk to Rotterdam, where ships were departing for America, every few days.

This group of people arrived in Rotterdam, by mid-April. Within a few days, the fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Harman and his wife and son, and the Moravian missionaries, boarded a ship called The Union Galley. The voyage took about six months. The ship landed in Savannah, Georgia, on September 29, 1738.

Harman and his family lived in Savannah for about one year. In the fall of 1739, they left Savannah, along with several other people, and they began walking north, towards Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where many of the Moravians had gone. Along the way, Harman and his family, and a few other people, decided to stop and settle in Little Fork, Virginia.

2. Harman Back (Hermann Bach) never had any other sons besides his son Harman Back Jr. (born 1737). He never had sons named Henry Back (abt.1743-1809), or John Back (1738-1794), or Joseph Back (1756-1832), as has been proven by the overwhelming evidence presented here.

The claim that Harman Back had a son named Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) was simply a lie that was created in 1964 by a strange man named Troy Lee Back. Troy was trying to connect himself, and his family, through genealogy, to Harman Back, by using Henry Back (abt.1743-1809), because he believed that he would "get rich" by selling that genealogy. And since so many historians already knew that Henry had a brother named John Back (1738-1794), and that those two brothers married two sisters (daughters of John Hoffman), Troy had to also claim that John Back was Harman Back's son as well.

As for Joseph Back (1756-1832), he was actually the son of Harman Back's only actual son, Harman Back Jr. (born 1737). So, Joseph was Harman Back's grandson, not his son.

Troy further claimed that Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) had a son named Henry Back (1785-1871), who was Troy's actual great grandfather. That was how Troy completed the genealogical links between himself and Harman Back (Hermann Bach). However, that was all a lie.

In fact, Henry Back (1785-1871) was actually the son of Joseph Back (1745-1819), who was not related to Harman Back at all.

Please review the two Family Trees below, which clearly show the actual genealogy of these two families.

3. The shocking lies that Troy Lee Back created, many years ago, simply because he wanted “to get rich,” were truly shameful. He and some of his cousins expanded those lies, to include the entire Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky, even though Troy and his cousins already knew the actual genealogy of their family. Even to this day, there are still some strange people using those same lies, and using Harman Back (Hermann Bach), for their own selfish reasons.

Harman Back (Hermann Bach) was said to have "rendered aid," during the Revolutionary War, which means that he provided supplies or ammunition to the American troops. That qualified him to be recognized as a "Patriot" in DAR (The Daughters of the American Revolution). Therefore, anyone who is a descendant of Harman Back is qualified to join DAR.

In addition, Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) had his name on a list of soldiers, in the Revolutionary War, and so that qualified him to be recognized as a "Patriot" in DAR (The Daughters of the American Revolution). Therefore, anyone who is a descendant of Henry Back is qualified to join DAR.

Unfortunately, many years ago, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" submitted their fraudulent genealogy to DAR, and so DAR included it in their database. Back then, DAR did not closely check submissions for accuracy, like they do now. And so, that fraudulent genealogy remained in DAR's database for many years--including that Harman Back (Hermann Bach) had a son named Henry Back (abt.1743-1809); and that Henry Back (abt.1743-1809) had two sons: John Back (1774-1853) and Henry Back (1785-1871).

Over time, many people applied for membership in DAR, using that fraudulent genealogy. Some of them may not have realized that the genealogy they used to apply was fraudulent. But as the years have gone by, the lies created by "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" have been exposed, time and time again.

Sadly, the more that the truth comes out about the actual genealogy of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky, the more aggressive that some people have become, who still support the fraudulent genealogy of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society." They are desperate to hang onto that fraudulent genealogy because they want to hang onto their membership in DAR. One of those people is a woman who continues to promote that fraudulent genealogy on numerous websites, including on her own "family website," on which she has loaded up lots of documents, just to make the site look credible. But, for most of those documents, she deliberately posts incorrect descriptions on them. For example, she claims they prove things that they don't, or she says they feature someone, when they really feature someone else. That fraudulent genealogy is presented all over her "family website." It's really bizarre. She has also gone onto other websites, including, and posted that fraudulent genealogy as well.

She has gotten so desperate, to promote that fraudulent genealogy, so she can hang onto her DAR membership, that she set up a "DNA Project," a few years ago, on a DNA website. She said that she was going to compare DNA samples from descendants of Harman Back, to DNA samples from members of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky, in order to "prove" that members of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descend from Harman Back. (She actually defined the end result that she wanted, right from the start, but then she later re-worded it.)

She later claimed that she had obtained several DNA samples from people from both families, although there is no actual proof of the identity of any of the participants. She just claims that she has DNA from members of both families.

Then she simply claimed that the DNA results "proved" that the members of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky descend from Harman Back! But that was a lie, and a complete misrepresentation of the so-called DNA results. She even went so far as to claim that the DNA results from each family were "a perfect match," which was a lie as well.

It is important to realize that she is the one who named the earliest ancestor of each participant in her "DNA Project," in the second column of the Results Chart, as being either Harman Back, or his alleged son Henry Back. But that most certainly does not mean that either man was! She just inserted their names in that column herself! Then she inserted the names of who she claimed their descendants were, down to the alleged participant in her "DNA Project." That fact alone proves that her "DNA Project" is completely fraudulent.

Now, when you look at all of the numbers, across the page, assuming that they are correct and that she didn't alter them as well, it appears that most of the numbers are the same, for each participant. That is what she is referring to, when she claims that her DNA results are "a perfect match." But that is not how this type of DNA testing works. She is purposefully lying about that too.

The reason that most of those numbers are the same, for each participant, is because, at least 15 generations ago (back in the 1500s or the 1400s), those people who provided their DNA samples apparently shared the same ancestor. It does NOT mean that some of those people in her DNA Project descend from some of the other people in her DNA Project! She knows that!

Furthermore, she purposefully fails to reveal that her own brother was Kit #195252! How scientific can it be, how objective can it be, when the "organizer" of a DNA Project has her own sibling be a part of the so-called results? That fact alone removes all objectivity.

The lies that are told, and the stunts that are pulled (like this "DNA Project"), trying to support that fraudulent genealogy of the Back (Bach) family from southeastern Kentucky (even though there is not one piece of actual evidence to support it), just keep going on and on and on. It is so bizarre, and it is so wrong, particularly because there is a mountain of evidence that proves that fraudulent genealogy is really fraudulent. When will it ever end? When will people stop using Harman Back for their own selfish reasons? It's been going on for needs to stop.