Backhouseone name study
variants: Bachous, Bakhous, Bakhouse, Backhowse, Bakehouse, Bakehous, Backus, Bachus, Bacchus, Baccas, Bakhus

Backhouse Coat of Arms


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This study is still at an early stage and not all features are implemented yet so please keep calling back to check out new content as it is added.

There have been a few more records added for you to explore.


... and other untruths

As with any subject dealing with matters from the past, many stories are told that are not necessarily true. The history of the Backhouse name is no exception so I will try to dispel some of the commons myths.


The love of wine

A number of variants of the Backhouse name led to the belief that it originated as a nickname for someone who drank excessive amounts of wine. This was because some of the instances of the modern surname such as Backus were similar to or the same as, Bacchus, the roman god of wine. This is a common misconception even though there is no evidence to back up this belief.

See variants for a more plausible explanation of the Backus name variants.

The Astor dynasty

The Astor dynasty has four generations of William Backhouse Astor of which William Backhouse Astor Sr. was known as the landlord of New York and was the richest man in the United States. The majority of his wealth was inherited from his father John Jacob Astor who made is fortune firstly from the fur trade and subsequently from property.

The Backhouse middle name would normally indicate an ancestral connection by marriage to a Backhouse family. However the truth is that there is no such connection. William's father John Jacob Astor, a poor working class son of a German butcher, emigrated first to London and then to the United States. John married Sarah Todd, a descendent of the influential New York Dutch Brevoort family, but she too had no connection with a Backhouse family.

So why has John's second son, William got a middle name of Backhouse? Well, John sailed to the Baltimore in 1783 with a consignment of flutes from his brother George's musical shop in London. He sold enough flutes to visit his other brother Henry in New York meeting up with a baker on the way. In New York, through this chance meeting, he sold bakery goods on the street. After a while he went on to work for a fur dealer where he recognised the profitability of this trade. He saved his money so that he could eventually set up his own fur trading business in 1785. In 1789 John sold his fur to Thomas Backhouse and Company in London and in doing so made acquaintance with Thomas' brother William who lived in New York. William took a liking to John, advising and assisting him with loans to establish himself in New York. In 1792 John and Sarah had a second son, named William Backhouse Astor in honour of the man who had helped him establish his business.

As you can see the Astor dynasty has no relation to any Backhouse family line but owns a great dept of gratitude to a helpful friend.


What next?

Other topics in this section
  • origin of the name including meaning, early references and variants.
  • coat of arms described and explained.
  • myths (this page) and other untrue stories associated with the name.
  • notable individuals that warrant a more detailed explanation.
Backhouse Coat of Arms
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