Bach to Back

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The “Bach to Back” DNA Project at FTDNA for Eastern Kentucky Bachs and Backs is primarily a male Y-DNA Project.  It has been a success with several participants who have completed testing and have been found to be a very close match to each other.  The seven participants displayed in the public results descend from three of the four sons of Harman Back who migrated from Germany to Virginia, wrote his will in Mercer Co KY which was probated in Garrard Co KY in 1798.  Six of the seven have tested at least 67 markers and the sixth tested 37.

NEW RESULTS May 2022 Kit # B98445 is a Breathitt County Back, a descendant of John & Catharine's son John Jr and his wife Elizabeth Cope  He is a genetic distance of just one at 67 markers from two descendants of Henry Back and Susannah Maggard of Letcher County and also from a proven descendant of Joseph Back of Garrard County Kentucky.  He is also a close match to a descendant of Harman Back Jr. who died in Fayette County Kentucky between the 1819 tax list and the 1820 census.  All of his matches are close enough to project that they share an ancestor in common in the time frame of Harman Back Sr.

Kit # 68731 is a proven descendant of James Back and Nancy Back who married in Fayette County Kentucky.  Other children of Harman Jr. married in Fayette County in the same decade with Harman Jr. giving permission, leading to the conclusion James was the son of Harman Jr.  Estate documents prove that Nancy was the daughter of Joseph Back who died in 1834 in Garrard County Kentucky.  This test subject’s great grandfather was William Berriman Back who was prominent in the history of Montezuma Well in Arizona which is now a National Parks Monument.

Kit # B281410 is a descendant of Joseph Back, son of Harman Sr. through Joseph's son Enoch.  Joseph died 1834 in Garrard Co KY.  Joseph inherited the “land and plantation” of his father Harman Sr in 1798.  He is a perfect match to two of the descendants of Henry Back Jr. of Letcher County.

Kit # 195252 is a proven descendant of John Back and Catherine Robinson Back both of whom died in Breathitt County Kentucky.  The test subject’s father was born 1908 at Stevenson near Quicksand Creek in Breathitt County Kentucky, the son of Joseph Lee Back and Mary Jane McIntosh.

Kit # 450919 is a descendant of Henry Back and Susannah Maggard Back of Letcher County Kentucky.  Henry is believed to be a brother of John Back who died in Breathitt County.  Susannah's mother was a sister to John's wife Catherine Robinson Back.

Kit # 852765 is also a descendant of Henry Back Jr and Susannah Maggard Back of Letcher County.  

Kit # 645783 is a descendant of Henry Back Jr of Letcher County.  He is one of the “perfect matches.”

Two of the Letcher County test subjects and the descendant of Joseph of Garrard Co KY are perfect matches to each other.  The other three test subjects have minor mutations which is to be expected when the most recent ancestor in common is back that many generations from the test subjects.

One member has had the Deep Clade testing.  The advanced Deep Clade test was necessary because the first 12 markers of the standard test did not yield enough information to place them in a haplogroup.  We now know that all Y DNA test subjects are E1b1b1a3, V-22.  This is a very rare haplogroup for folks north of the Alps in Europe but it does occur.  They all also have a rare deletion at DYS 425 which means no DNA was found.  We hope that this rarity will make it easier to confirm the earlier origins of our line.  The men in our project have no matches at any level to anyone who is not a member of the project and who cannot be traced to SE KY.

Several test subjects of a different Bach DNA project still living in Germany were attempting to prove a connection from themselves to the family of Johann Sebastian Bach but at last word those attempts had not met with success.  One man born in Breathitt County was tested in their program and his Y DNA does not match any of their other participants but does match the kits in the Bach to Back DNA Project. 

We need more test subjects to advance the project.  We are particularly interested in recruiting men who descend from the following:

John Back, Revolutionary War Soldier died 1840 Monroe Co., Indiana

Jacob Back died 1834 Wayne Co., Kentucky

Anyone else with an all-male Back or Bach line from Eastern Kentucky or Virginia

For the purposes of this study, we especially would like to hear from descendants who have gathered the actual documentation proving their descent.  Although published books may contain a lot of good information, they are usually not considered to be proof.  The published books can be an excellent road map for locating such documentation as wills, marriage records, birth and death records, and deeds.  Census records can also be good forms of proof.

We want to hear from you even if you have not yet gathered the proofs.  It’s possible that someone else already has them and will share.  You can also go ahead and order a test and gather more proofs while you’re waiting for results.

The test is very easy and completely painless.  You just swab the inside of your check four times and mail it back in the envelope provided.  It takes a few weeks for the lab to test your sample and send you the results.  Female researchers can recruit and pay for tests for brothers, fathers, or male cousins.  Several family members can also share the cost of a test.

Autosomal testing (Ancestry DNA or Family Finder at FTDNA) is also giving some really good information, connecting descendants to the right branch of this family.  If you have tested, be sure to upload your autosomal data to GEDMATCH so you can make comparisons with people who have tested with other companies. 

Updated September 2022