Bach or Back?: The family originated in Thuringia, Germany. Thuringia is one of the sixteen states in Germany, and it is located close to the center of the country. As far back as 1520, and probably before that, the family's last name was spelled as "Bach." In the mid-1700s, several members of the family sailed to America, including Johann Heinrich Bach (1709-1789). Shortly after they arrived, they changed the spelling of their last name to "Back," so that other colonists could more easily pronounce it, and spell it. In fact, many immigrants changed the spelling of their name, for the same reasons.
Members of this family continued to spell their last name as "Back," for several generations. But starting around 1900, some of them went back to using the original spelling of "Bach." That is why both spellings are used within the family.
The family's documented genealogy: After Johann Heinrich Bach and his family arrived in America, in the mid-1700s, they settled in the southern part of Virginia, in what is now Culpeper County, and he changed the spelling of his name to "John Henry Back." Two of his sons, John Back (1738-1794) and Henry Back (1743-1808), married two sisters, Margaret Hoffman and Elizabeth Hoffman, who were the daughters of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg. The Hoffman family lived along the Robinson River, and the Bach (Back) family lived along Crooked Creek, near where the creek flowed into the Robinson River. So the two families were close neighbors. After John Back died, and after his brother Henry Back died, each of their widows moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, as proven by several census reports and tax lists. Margaret and Elizabeth both died in Rockingham County, and they were both buried there, probably on their small farms along Wolf Run, near Harrisonburg.
Johann Heinrich's daughter, Anna Back (1755-1804), married Benjamin Strother, who fought valiantly in the Revolutionary War, for several years, until he was badly injured. After he was discharged, they moved to Fauquier County, Virginia, because his family lived there. Anna died there, and she was probably buried on their farm. Benjamin then got remarried to Sarah Wynn. NOTE: Anna's first name may not have been Anna. Her actual first name has not yet been confirmed.
Johann Heinrich's son, Joseph Back (1745-1819), and his wife and children, migrated to southeastern Kentucky. They settled along the banks of Quicksand Creek, in what is now Breathitt County, in 1791. Joseph and his wife, Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard, had four children: Joseph Jr. (1773-1802); John (1774-1854); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871). NOTE: Elizabeth Hoffman's parents had died when she was young, and she was adopted by the Maggard family. This is why researchers refer to her as, Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard.
Therefore, every person who has a Bach (Back) ancestor from southeastern Kentucky descends from Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard.
NOTE: Joseph Back had some cousins. He had a first cousin who fought in the Revolutionary War, and who lived in Wayne County, Kentucky, and Monroe County, Indiana: John Back (1760-1840). Joseph had another first cousin (John Back's brother), who also lived in Wayne County, Kentucky, and who married Sarah Lloyd: Jacob Back (1764-1839). And Joseph had a fourth cousin, who changed his last name to Peck. He lived in what is now Smyth County, Virginia, and he married Margaret Kingery and Julia Ann Litz Romans: Jacob Peck Jr. (1765-1843).
Link to John Back's grave
Link to Jacob Back's grave
Link to Jacob Peck Jr.'s grave
The genealogy of Joseph Back's family, all the way back to the 1500s in Germany, was passed down, from generation to generation, for hundreds of years. Everyone in the family knew their genealogy. It was always discussed at Christmas, so that the younger members of the family could learn about it, and, ever since 1762, it was also written down in the old Bach Family Bible, which Joseph had brought with him, to Kentucky.
In 1933, the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky began holding annual family reunions, along Quicksand Creek, and the genealogy was always discussed at those gatherings as well. In fact, newspaper articles about the reunions also reported on the family's genealogy.
A fraudulent genealogy was published: However, in 1994, a genealogy book was published about this family, which was intentionally incorrect. It was a complete fraud. It was published by a few family members who had started a little club with the official-sounding name of, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," even though not one of them was a genealogist. Instead of documenting the actual genealogy of the family, which each of them already knew, they claimed that the family descended from a man named Hermann Bach, who had immigrated to America, from Freudenberg, Germany!
Now, there really was a man named Hermann Bach, and he really was from Freudenberg. He had sailed to America in 1738, and then he later settled in northern Virginia, in a little community called, "Little Fork," in 1739. But he is not related to the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky, in any way at all. Link to the true story of Hermann Bach.
However, without any evidence whatsoever, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" simply claimed that Henry Back (1743-1808), who was the son of Johann Heinrich Bach, and who married Elizabeth Hoffman (the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg), was the son of Hermann Bach! They further claimed that, after Henry died, in 1808, his widow Elizabeth moved all the way down to southeastern Kentucky, with her (alleged) seven children, and founded the Bach (Back) family there! But none of that was true, and they knew it wasn't true.
The fraudulent genealogy lists seven children for Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman, but three of them were actually children of Joseph Back and Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard: John (1774-1854); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871). "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" switched those three children to Henry and Elizabeth, because those three children were already well-documented as living in southeastern Kentucky. So, by simply switching the parents of those three children, from Joseph Back and Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard, to Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman, and by claiming that Henry Back was a son of Hermann Bach, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" created their fraudulent genealogy.
But "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" also created a serious problem for themselves, when they added those three children to the four children that Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman actually had. This is because one of their four actual children was Aaron Back. He was born on June 18, 1785. And the son named Henry (1785-1871), who they incorrectly claimed was Henry and Elizabeth's son, was born on February 6, 1785. But it was impossible for Aaron and Henry to have been brothers, because their dates of birth were only four months apart!
In their fraudulent genealogy book, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" actually admitted this problem, but then they quickly glossed over it, and it was forgotten. They even claimed in their book that they couldn't verify the dates of birth for Aaron and Henry, even though that information had already been well-documented in many places, including on Aaron and Henry's own gravestones!(see below)
Link to Aaron Back's grave
Link to Henry Back's grave
Now, it is a proven fact that Henry Back (1743-1808), who married Elizabeth Hoffman (the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg), was a son of Johann Heinrich Bach. Henry was definitely not the son of Hermann Bach.
Furthermore, it is also a proven fact that, after Henry Back (1743-1808) died, his widow Elizabeth moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, to live near her widowed sister Margaret. Elizabeth died there, in 1815. She definitely never went to Kentucky. NOTE: Elizabeth's sister Margaret had married John Back (1738-1794), who was a brother to Henry Back (1743-1808) and Joseph Back (1745-1819). After Margaret's husband John died, she moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1807, and she died there around 1831. Elizabeth had moved to Rockingham County, to live near her sister.
In fact, in 1787, Johann Heinrich Bach wrote down, in his Bach Family Bible, the name of "Elizabeth Back," and her date of birth (July 13, 1746), because she had married into his family. She had married his son Henry. Many years before that, John Hoffman (Elizabeth's father) had written down, in his Hoffman Family Bible, the name of his daughter Elizabeth, and her date of birth (July 13, 1746). This was the same woman!
These two Bible entries (in the Bach Family Bible, and in the Hoffman Family Bible) are absolute proof that Elizabeth Hoffman, the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg, married into the family of Johann Heinrich Bach, and not the family of Hermann Bach.
The members of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" knew full well that their genealogy about Hermann Bach was completely wrong. But they published their book, because they believed that it would make them a great deal of money. That made their book not only a fraudulent genealogy, but a scam as well. That's because it's only purpose was to scam the members of their own family, out of money, just so they could "get rich quick." Let's start at the beginning...
How the fraud began: It all started with a man named Troy Lee Back. He was born in Viper, Kentucky, in 1904. He never even graduated from high school, and he worked as a coal miner. He later became the safety director at his mine. In 1940, he was transferred to the Coal Mine Safety Board, in Washington, D.C., and so he and his family moved up there. But it was just a meaningless, clerical position, with no responsibility. He just filed papers all day.
Because his job was so simple and so unimportant, he had lots of free time on his hands. Around 1960, he decided to write a book about the genealogy of his wife's family, the Brashear family, because he already knew the genealogy of his Bach (Back) family. He self-published the Brashear genealogy book, in 1963. Although the book was poorly written, and it contained countless errors, lots of "plugged information," and an unrecognized and bizarre numbering system, Troy thought that it made him a "genealogy expert." During his "research" for that book, around 1962, he had discovered The Germanna Foundation, which was a genealogical organization, located in Locust Grove, Virginia. It was only about two hours away from where he lived, in Arlington, Virginia.
The Germanna Foundation: It was established in 1953, and it is still in operation today. It is comprised of the descendants of a small group of Germans who had settled in northern Virginia, back in the early 1700s. Those settlers had lived in the small communities of Germanna, Germantown, and Little Fork. Most of the leaders of The Germanna Foundation are highly educated and very wealthy people. They purchased some land, near where their ancestors had lived, and they built some buildings there, including a lavish "Visitor's Center." They have created an extremely profitable business, by selling the genealogy of their ancestors. They have turned genealogy, from a fun hobby, into a money-making machine.
Troy was mesmerized by The Germanna Foundation. He desperately wanted to join their organization, so that he could "rub shoulders" with all those rich, educated, upper-class people. He wanted to show off, and impress them, that he was a "genealogy expert" too. He also wanted to make lots of money selling his genealogy, just like they did. But the only way a person could join their organization was if one of their ancestors was one of those Germans who had settled in one of those three small communities, back in the early 1700s.
Hermann Bach: Troy soon found out that one of the ancestors of The Germanna Foundation was a man named Hermann Bach, who was from Freudenberg, Germany. Hermann, his wife Anna, and their 1-year-old son Hermann Jr. had immigrated to America, in the fall of 1738. They later settled in Little Fork, in the fall of 1739.
However, The Germanna Foundation didn't have much information about Hermann, his wife Anna, or their son Hermann Jr. All they knew was that Hermann Jr. had migrated to central Kentucky, in 1789. He lived in Garrard County, which was nowhere near Breathitt County, and he died there, in 1798. NOTE: Some people mistakenly claim that it was Hermann Sr., the immigrant, who migrated to Garrard County and died in 1798. But Hermann Sr., the immigrant, had died in Little Fork, sometime before 1789, as evidenced by the fact that, when his son Hermann Jr. sold his father's farm, in 1789, the deed stated that he was selling land that he had "inherited."
Troy saw that lack of information about Hermann Bach as being just the opening he needed, to create a connection between himself and Hermann Bach, so that he could join The Germanna Foundation. He simply told The Germanna Foundation that he descended from Hermann Bach. Troy had absolutely no proof of this claim, because it wasn't true, but that didn't matter. He simply told them that he had proof.
Here is the lie that Troy created. He told The Germanna Foundation that Henry Back (1743-1808), the son of Johann Heinrich Bach, was really the son of Hermann Bach. Troy did this, even though he knew full well that Henry Back was the son of Johann Heinrich Bach.
Troy also told The Germanna Foundation that, after Henry Back (1743-1808) died, in 1808, his 62-year-old widow Elizabeth left their home in Virginia, and she moved over 400 miles away, all the way down to the remote and dangerous wilderness of southeastern Kentucky, with her (alleged) seven children. Troy claimed that Elizabeth founded Troy's family there, even though she knew nobody there, had never been there before, and had no reason to go there. NOTE: If Henry Back really was a son of Hermann Bach, and a brother of Hermann Jr., why didn't Elizabeth move to Garrard County, where Hermann Jr. had moved, in 1789? Hermann Jr.'s children (her alleged nephews and nieces) lived there, so why wouldn't she have gone there, to live near them? Why would she have gone all the way down to Breathitt County, which had no connection at all to Hermann Jr.'s family?
Troy's story was ludicrous. He didn't have one shred of evidence to prove it (because there wasn't any), but he was persistent in claiming that it was true. Troy believed that, if he could connect himself to Hermann Bach, not only could he join The Germanna Foundation, and be a "genealogy expert," but he could use their credibility to help him make lots of money selling a fraudulent genealogy of his Bach (Back) family! And that's exactly what he did.
NOTE: Hermann Bach and his wife Anna had just two children who can be documented. Those two children were twins: Hermann Jr. and Anna Ella. They were born on March 10, 1737, in Germany, as documented by their old birth records. But Anna Ella had died, shortly before the family sailed to America, in the spring of 1738. (The immigration records show that Hermann Bach and his wife Anna sailed with just "one" child.) There is no evidence whatsoever that Hermann Bach ever had any other children. In fact, it is believed that his wife Anna had died, shortly after they got to Little Fork (four years before Henry Back was even born). Furthermore, the people in Little Fork maintained a great deal of records, and there is no record of a man named Henry Back ever being born there, or ever living there.
NOTE: In addition, John Hoffman and his family (including his daughter Elizabeth) lived over 20 miles south of Little Fork, along the Robinson River, in the far southern part of Virginia. Back in those days, it was virtually impossible for a man to meet (and then marry) a woman, who lived that far away. So how would any man, living way up in Little Fork, in northern Virgina, ever even meet a woman, who lived 20 miles away, down along the Robinson River, in the far southern part of the state?
NOTE: It is also important to know that, back then, people married, within their same social, economic, and cultural class. Hermann Bach was a very poor farmer, who only owned 100 acres of land. In contrast, John Hoffman was a very wealthy and prominent man, who owned over 3,500 acres. Mr. Hoffman would never have allowed one of his daughters to marry the son of a poor farmer like Hermann Bach. However, Johann Heinrich Bach, who was a close neighbor of Mr. Hoffman, owned 786 acres of land, and came from a very prominent family in Germany. Johann Heinrich Bach was in the same social, economic, and cultural class as Mr. Hoffman.
NOTE: Now, it's true that John Hoffman had first lived in Germanna, which was a community that had some ties to Little Fork. But he had moved away from Germanna, to some land along the Robinson River, in 1729, which was ten years before Hermann Bach had even arrived in Little Fork. Therefore, the chances that John Hoffman and Hermann Bach ever even knew each other were extremely remote.
Henry Back (1743-1808): He was born, either in Maryland, or Virginia, about three years after his parents had immigrated to America. He was the son of Johann Heinrich Bach and his wife Anna Hoffman, who were from Thuringia, Germany.
Around 1775, Henry married Elizabeth Hoffman, who was the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg. The Hoffman family and the Bach (Back) family were neighbors. They lived about two miles away from each other, near the Robinson River, in the far southern part of Virginia. Henry and Elizabeth had seven children: John (born 1776); Benjamin (born 1781); Joseph (born 1782); Aaron (born June 18, 1785); Lewis (born October 14, 1787); and two daughters (born 1775-1784) whose names are not known.After Henry died, in 1808, his widow Elizabeth moved about thirty miles away, to Rockingham County, Virginia, with her son Aaron and her two daughters. They were seen living there, in the 1810 Census Report (see below).
Elizabeth had moved to Rockingham County, in order to live near her sister Margaret, who had moved there in 1807, after her husband John Back had died, several years before, in 1794. (John Back was a brother to Henry Back. These two brothers had married these two sisters.) Elizabeth and Margaret each bought land along Wolf Run, which was a stream near Harrisonburg. (When their husbands were alive, they had also lived near each other, along the Robinson River.)
In this 1810 Cenus Report, Elizabeth's son Aaron was shown as being the head of the household. He was born on June 18, 1785. He was then 25 years old, and so he was indicated in the third column, which was for males between the ages of 16-26. The sixth column was for females under the age of 10; that little girl may have been Elizabeth's granddaughter. The ninth column was for females between the ages of 26-45; those two women were Elizabeth's two daughters, whose names are not known. And Elizabeth was indicated in the tenth column, which was for women age 45 and older; she was then 64 years old. In fact, as you can see in this census report, they lived right next door to Henry Hammer and his family. Aaron Back married Mr. Hammer's daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, the following year, on March 12, 1811.
Elizabeth Hoffman Back and her son Aaron Back were also listed in all of the Tax Lists, for both real property and personal property, in Rockingham County, from 1810 through 1815. They were listed together, because he was living with her, during that time. (After he got married, in 1811, his wife moved in with them.) Elizabeth and Aaron were listed as "Aaron and mother," in the Tax Lists. One of those Tax Lists is presented below. (All of these tax lists are available on the Internet.) NOTE: There was only one man named Aaron Back living in America at that time, and that was this man, the son of Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman Back.
Elizabeth died in late 1815, or perhaps in early 1816, and she was probably buried on her farm along Wolf Run. Her son Aaron and his wife Margaret Elizabeth left Rockingham County, in 1816, and they migrated to Preble County, Ohio. (They later moved to Huntington County, Indiana, where they died.) NOTE: Aaron would never have left Rockingham County, until after his mother had died.
This 1810 Census Report in Rockingham County, and all of the Rockingham County Tax Lists, from 1810 through 1815, provide absolute proof that Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the widow of Henry Back, the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg, and the mother of Aaron Back, actually moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1808, and not to Kentucky. She never went to Kentucky, and so she could not possibly have been the founder of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. She died in Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1815, when she was last seen in the tax lists, and right before her son Aaron and his family moved away from there. NOTE: Elizabeth's sister Margaret was also documented as living in Rockingham County, Virginia, in the 1820 and 1830 Census Reports, and in the Tax Lists, from 1811 until 1830. She died there, around 1831.
The newspaper articles: Everyone in southeastern Kentucky knew what the actual genealogy of the Bach (and Back) family was, including Troy Back. He had probably known about it, since he was a boy. But he most definitely knew it, at least by the time he was about 29 years old, in 1933, which was about thirty years before he went to The Germanna Foundation.
This is because, in 1933, the family started holding annual family reunions, along Quicksand Creek, where they discussed their family's genealogy. The reunions were written about in several newspapers, including The Jackson Times and The Lexington Herald, from 1933 until 1990 or so. There were dozens of those articles. They stated that the family descended from Johann Sebastian Bach, and that the founder of the family in southeastern Kentucky was Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth. In fact, there is proof that Troy attended those reunions, because his name was mentioned in the 1957 and 1960 newspaper articles, as being there (see below).
These articles prove that Troy attended the reunions, and so he definitely knew the actual genealogy of the family, several years before he went to The Germanna Foundation. Here are a few more articles about the reunions, which discussed the family's actual genealogy (see below).
Dr. Wilgus Bach: It is also important to note that a man named Dr. Wilgus Bach had already documented the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family, back in the early 1900s. His friends and his patients called him, "Dr. Wilgus."
Everyone in southeastern Kentucky knew and respected Dr. Wilgus, not only as a excellent physician, but also as an excellent genealogist. He spent many years researching the genealogy of his Bach (Back) family. He hired genealogists, in America and Europe, and he also interviewed a large number of elderly people in southeastern Kentucky.
Dr. Wilgus wrote about the results of his research, in a book titled, Manuscript of Families of Breathitt County Area. In addition to his research on the Bach (Back) family, his manuscript included research on sixty-two other families in southeastern Kentucky, all of which are included in his book. Of course, Troy knew all about Dr. Wilgus's genealogical work, and his manuscript, just like everyone else in southeastern Kentucky did. In fact, Dr. Wilgus was considered to be, "the genealogist of the family."
Everyone knew Dr. Wilgus, everyone liked him, everyone respected him, and everyone trusted him. Everyone also knew that Dr. Wilgus's genealogy was correct, because it was the same genealogy that had been passed down within the family, for hundreds of years. It was also the same genealogy that had been documented in the old Bach Family Bible, and other historical records.
NOTE: If you would like to obtain a DVD copy of Dr. Wilgus' book, click on the link below.
Link to Manuscript of Families of Breathitt County Area
Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw: Dr. Benjamin Clark Holtsclaw was the official historian at The Germanna Foundation, from about 1956 until 1985, which included the period of time in which Troy Back was there. Before Dr. Holtsclaw became the historian there, he had earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University, and he had been a professor at the University of Richmond, for 36 years.
In 1963, while Dr. Holtsclaw was writing a book about the ancestors of The Germanna Foundation, including his own ancestor, Jacob Holtzclaw, Troy somehow convinced him to include his fraudulent genealogy about Hermann Bach in that book, so that he could join The Germanna Foundation. Dr. Holtsclaw's book was titled, Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750, and it was published in 1964.
NOTE: If you would like to obtain a copy of Dr. Holtsclaw's book, click on the link below.
Link to Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750
However, Dr. Holtsclaw was clearly suspicious of what Troy had told him, because he wrote in his book that he "had difficulties" with Troy's stories. He also wrote that, "There is no...proof that John and Henry Back...were the sons of Hermann Bach of the Little Fork group..." Keep in mind that, because Troy claimed that Henry Back was a son of Hermann Bach, that meant he also claimed that Henry's brother John Back was a son of Hermann Bach, because these two brothers married two sisters (Elizabeth Hoffman and Margaret Hoffman).
Dr. Holtsclaw wrote that his main reason for doubting Troy's stories was the fact that the old Bach Family Bible, which had belonged to the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky, for hundreds of years, had a handwritten statement inside of it that said, "We came from Thuringia" (see below).
And because Hermann Bach was from Freudenberg, Germany, which was nowhere near Thuringia, Germany, Dr. Holtsclaw believed that there were actually two Bach (Back) families: one was from Thuringia, and the other one was from Freudenberg. Dr. Holtsclaw was, of course, absolutely correct. But Dr. Holtsclaw included Troy's story in his book anyway, so that Troy could become a member of The Germanna Foundation. As a result, Troy had accomplished the first step in his plan.
Troy's plan: His plan was to write a book about the genealogy of his Bach (Back) family, which would connect him and his family to Hermann Bach, and thus, to The Germanna Foundation. Of course, that genealogy would be completely wrong, but he didn't care. He only wanted to create that connection to The Germanna Foundation, so that he could use the credibility of that organization to make himself rich, by selling the fraudulent genealogy book about his own Bach (Back) family that he planned to write.
But before he could write that book, he had to first get rid of any evidence of the actual genealogy of his Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. So that is exactly what he did.
The old Bach Family Bible: This old, antique book was printed in England, around 1607. In the mid-1700s, after the Bach (Back) family had settled in Virginia, the immigrant in the family (Johann Heinrich Bach) bought this old book for his youngest son Joseph, from one of his cousins, who still lived back in Europe. When the book arrived at his cabin, Johann Heinrich opened it up, and he wrote inside of it, "We came from Thuringia." He wanted his future descendants to know where they came from, before they had sailed to America. For nearly two hundred years, entries were made into that old book by many family members.
The old Bach Family Bible was actually a Catechism, not a Bible. A Catechism is a book that teaches Christianity, through a series of questions and answers, with specific references to the Bible. Because Catechisms are so similar to Bibles, they are often simply referred to as Bibles. Such is the case with this book.
Around 1911, the old book was given to Dr. Wilgus, so that he could study it, during his genealogical research of the family. The book was kept at his house for many years. He and his wife Amanda let anyone come over to their house and look at it, and they even let people take it to their own homes to look at it. After Dr. Wilgus died, in 1936, his widow Amanda continued to keep the old book at her house, until her death in 1977. Many years later, in 2009, her descendants donated it to the Breathitt County Library, in Jackson, where it is now on display.
NOTE: If you would like to obtain a DVD that has copies of all the pages in the old Bach Family Bible that have handwritten entries on them, click on the link below.
Link to the DVD of The Old Bach Family Bible
Troy ruined the old Bach Family Bible: In the spring of 1969, Troy retired from his government job, and he returned home to southeastern Kentucky. Shortly after that, he went to see Amanda Bach. She was then living in Lexington. Troy told her that he wanted to look at the old Bach Family Bible, and of course, she was more than willing to show it to him. But when she left the room, he pulled out a razor blade from his pocket that he had brought with him, and he cut out the statement that said, "We came from Thuringia." As astonishing as that sounds, it is true. Nowadays, you can clearly see where that statement was cut out (see the picture to the right).
Troy cut out that handwritten statement from the old book, because Dr. Holtsclaw had told him that it was the primary piece of evidence that was in conflict with Troy's genealogy about Hermann Bach. So, by simply cutting it out of the book, Troy got rid of the problem! He got rid of the main proof that the family was from Thuringia, so that he could then claim that they were from Freudenberg. NOTE: It is suspected that Troy may have cut out other parts of the old book, or even removed entire pages.It should also be mentioned that Dr. Wilgus saw that handwritten statement, "We came from Thuringia," in the old Bach Family Bible, because he wrote about seeing it, in his book, Manuscript of Families of Breathitt County Area. Also, Dr. Holtsclaw had written about seeing it as well, in his book, Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia 1714-1750.
Furthermore, in 1941, the Writers' Program of the Works Projects Administration (the WPA) published a book titled, In the Land of Breathitt. On pages 145 and 146, they discussed the old Bach Family Bible. They wrote that it was owned by Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth, "who brought it into eastern Kentucky from Culpeper County, Virginia..." They also wrote that the old book was later owned by Dr. Wilgus.
But this was just the beginning of Troy's obsession with destroying the actual genealogy of his own family, so that he could write and sell a fraudulent genealogy about his own family, hoping to get rich, by "riding on the coattails" of the credibility of The Germanna Foundation.
Troy vandalized Dr. Wilgus Bach's manuscript: Amanda Bach, the widow of Dr. Wilgus, died in 1977. The following year, her family donated Dr. Wilgus' manuscript to The Kentucky Historical Society, in Frankfort, Kentucky.
So Troy quickly went to The Kentucky Historical Society. He was able to get hold of Dr. Wilgus' manuscript, and while he sat alone, somewhere in that building, he used an ink pen and a bottle of "white out," to change Dr. Wilgus' research. Wherever Dr. Wilgus had written the name "Joseph Back," as being the founder of the family in southeastern Kentucky, Troy crossed it out and wrote "Henry Back" next to it. He did that because his fraudulent genealogy claimed that Henry Back's widow founded the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky.
Troy also used "white out" on the manuscript, to eliminate Joseph's name, and then he wrote in Henry's name. Just one example of this extraordinary vandalism is shown below. NOTE: "White out" was not even invented until 1951, which was fifteen years after Dr. Wilgus died, and so you know that Dr. Wilgus could not have possibly used it on his manuscript.
Troy destroyed the section of Dr. Wilgus' manuscript about the Bach (Back) family. He did that, in order to remove proof of the actual genealogy of the family, and replace it with his fraudulent genealogy. His goal was to make it seem as if Dr. Wilgus' manuscript described Troy's fraudulent genealogy, and not the actual genealogy of the family.
Nowadays, when you look at the section of Dr. Wilgus' manuscript about the Bach (Back) family, it is really confusing, because of all of Troy's scribbling. (Troy didn't scribble on the pages that were written about all the other families.) In addition, you can tell that entire pages of the Bach (Back) family genealogy are missing, which, of course, were removed by Troy. And, to top it all off, Troy even inserted a typed page of his fraudulent genealogy that he had brought with him, right into the manuscript! It even had his name and address on it! The man had no shame.
Troy stole, and altered, books in libraries: For many years, Troy and his cohorts visited libraries and historical societies, all across the state, looking for books and documents concerning the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. If they could, they simply stole those items from those facilities. But if they were unable to get them out of the building, they took out an ink pen and, when nobody was looking, they crossed out the name "Joseph Back," and wrote in "Henry Back." And wherever they saw the word "Thuringia," they crossed it out and wrote in "Freudenberg." Librarians, from one end of the state to the other, know all about this, including some of the staff at the Breathitt County Library.
Troy lied to Bud Phillips: Mr. Phillips was born around 1930, and he was a descendant of Samuel Maggard (1774-1858) and his wife Rebecca Robertson (1776-1855). Samuel Maggard had been best friends with John Back (1774-1854), the son of Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back, who had founded the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. In fact, Samuel had migrated to Kentucky with Joseph Back and his family, in the late 1700s.
There are even more connections between Samuel Maggard and Joseph Back's family. Samuel's wife Rebecca Robertson was a sister to Catherine Robertson, who married his best friend John Back. And Samuel's grandfather was the man who had adopted Elizabeth Hoffman (Joseph Back's wife, and John Back's mother), when she was orphaned, back in 1770. NOTE: This is why researchers refer to her as, Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back.
After Samuel and Rebecca got married, they lived on her parent's farm in southwestern Virginia, for about ten years. In 1805, after her father died, Rebecca, Samuel, and their children, moved to Kentucky, and they settled along the Cumberland River, in southeastern Kentucky.
In 1987, Mr. Phillips decided to write a book about his Maggard ancestors, and so he went to southeastern Kentucky, on a research trip. While he was there, he met Troy Back. Troy told him all about his fraudulent genealogy of the Bach (Back) family, and he convinced Mr. Phillips to include it, in his upcoming book. Mr. Phillips' book, Coming Down Cumberland: A History of the Maggard Family of Eastern Kentucky, was published in 1991.
Several years later, Mr. Phillips learned about the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family. He told several people (including Tilden Bach) how much he regretted including Troy's fraudulent genealogy in his book. But just like what had happened with Dr. Holtsclaw's book, the damage had already been done.
Troy destroyed the gravestone of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back: In 1988, Troy Back and his cousin Custer Back went to The Maggard Cemetery, which is in Partridge, Kentucky, and not far from the Cumberland River. They went there for a specific reason. They actually had decided to remove the gravestone of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back (see the picture below). She was the wife of Joseph Back, and she was their great, great grandmother! They wanted to remove her gravestone because it said that she came from Thuringia, and since they wanted to create a genealogy that claimed their ancestors came from Freudenberg, her gravestone simply had to go!
Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard were the actual founders of the Bach (and Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. Dr. Wilgus had referred to Elizabeth as being, "the matriarch of the family in southeastern Kentucky." Dr. Wilgus had actually found her original gravestone, back in 1922, which was just a small, simple stone with only her name on it. He wanted to honor her, and so he had a large gravestone made for her grave, which was inscribed with additional information. That was the gravestone that Troy and Custer removed.
Her gravestone said that she came from Thuringia, and so Troy and Custer simply pulled it out of the ground and threw it over the hill. Again, as astonishing as that sounds, it is true. Custer even admitted that they removed Elizabeth's gravestone, in an article that he wrote, in the October, 1988 edition of the Filson Club History Quarterly. He wrote that article to promote Troy's fraudulent genealogy, and he also included the statement that, "action has been initiated to replace Elizabeth's gravestone."
NOTE: Back in 1922, Dr. Wilgus had made two small errors in the inscription on Elizabeth's gravestone. First, he had her date of birth as July 13, 1746, because that was the date of birth that he had seen in the old Bach Family Bible for a woman named Elizabeth Back. He thought that was the Elizabeth who had married Joseph Back. But that was actually the date of birth for the Elizabeth who had married Henry Back (Joseph Back's brother). Both men had married women named Elizabeth Hoffman, although Joseph's wife's name was actually Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard. Second, Dr. Wilgus had her gravestone inscribed that she was born in Thuringia, however, she was actually born in Virginia. It was Joseph's parents who born in Thuringia (as were her parents.)
A woman named Hazel Bach Craft soon heard about the outrageous and immoral crime that Troy and Custer had committed in The Maggard Cemetery, as did many other people. Who, in their right mind, would pull up a gravestone and throw it over the hill! Especially the gravestone of their own great, great grandmother! It was unheard of.
Hazel and her husband, Rev. Wardie Craft, immediately went to The Maggard Cemetery, and they retrieved Elizabeth's gravestone, from the side of the hill. Then they took it back to their house, which they had converted into a museum called, "Memory Hill," many years before.
They placed Elizabeth's gravestone out in their backyard, next to a small cemetery that was back there, which was called, "The Memory Hill Cemetery." (Hopefully, Elizabeth's gravestone is still there.)
But when Troy and Custer found out what Hazel and Wardie had done, they were absolutely furious. So they sent someone over to Hazel and Wardie's house, to chisel the word "INCORRECT," in big, black letters, across the bottom of Elizabeth's gravestone (see the picture above, to the right). They weren't going to allow any piece of evidence to escape unscathed! Hazel and Wardie tried to stop the man from defacing the old gravestone, but they were unable to do so.
And then, Troy and Custer actually put up a new gravestone in The Maggard Cemetery, over Elizabeth's remains (their own great, great grandmother's remains), which intentionally described a completely different woman!
Their new gravestone described Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the wife of Henry Back (see the picture to the right). She was a completely different woman, with completely different parents, and married to a completely different man. She never went to Kentucky. When her husband died, in 1808, she moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, to live near her sister Margaret. She never went to Kentucky. She died in Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1815. And Troy and Custer knew all of that!
But Troy and Custer did this, in order to "prove" that Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the wife of Henry Back, had moved to Kentucky, after her husband had died in 1808, in order to "prove" that Troy's fraudulent genealogy was correct. Troy and Custer had this new gravestone inscribed with other incorrect information as well, including an incorrect date of death.
Nowadays, the people who are fooled by Troy's fraudulent genealogy, and fooled by "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," actually point to that gravestone that Troy and Custer put up themselves as being the "proof" that Troy's genealogy is correct. It is incredibly bizarre.
Meanwhile, the remains of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back, the matriarch of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky, continue to be ignored and disrespected, under this new gravestone.
Troy Back probably eliminated much more proof of the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family than what is documented here. But these instances are the ones that have been confirmed. We may never know the full extent of the damage that he caused. We may never know what other precious relics, antiques, or historical records of the family's ancestry that he destroyed.
It was time to publish: By 1992 or so, Troy Back had decided that he was finally ready to proceed with publishing his fraudulent genealogy book. Not only was Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw deceased, who would have challenged his fraudulent genealogy book, but Troy and his cohorts had eliminated as much of the family's actual genealogy as they could find. NOTE: They were not able to get rid of the old newspaper articles about the actual genealogy of the family, which were on microfilm, at various libraries and historical societies. Hopefully, that documentation still remains.
Troy had already brought his cousin Custer onboard, who was also very anxious to publish a book, based on Troy's lies. They couldn't wait to get rich! They figured that, if they created a genealogy that connected their family to Hermann Bach, whose descendants were part of The Germanna Foundation, they would make lots of money selling their genealogy, just like The Germanna Foundation did. They were going to use the credibility of The Germanna Foundation to create the illusion that their fraudulent genealogy was correct. Plus, any actual descendants of Hermann Bach would buy their book too!
Troy and Custer had no experience in real genealogical research, but that didn't matter! (Troy was a retired government bureaucrat, and Custer was a retired janitor.) They teamed up with Custer's son Kenneth, and one of their friends, Dexter Dixon, who had agreed to help with the book. But they had no experience in real genealogical research either. Kenneth was a tax collector and Dexter was a bookkeeper.
Troy and Custer also enlisted the help of their cousin, Reedus Back, simply because he had a Ph.D. They thought that it would "look good," to have someone who had an advanced degree, to provide additional credibility for their book. But Reedus had no experience in real genealogical research either. He had only taught education at a small college, where he was strangely known for "turning storage rooms into classrooms." Yet, they made him the "president" of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" anyway.
Reedus soon made contact with The Germanna Foundation, and they worked out a deal in which "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" would collect membership dues for The Germanna Foundation, if The Germanna Foundation would go along with the fraudulent genealogy about the descendants of Hermann Bach that he and his buddies were going to publish.
In addition, a few years earlier, The Germanna Foundation had created a story that Hermann Bach had sailed to America on the ship Oliver, in order to "juice up" the story of his life, to spark new interest in their organization and bring in even more money. "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" was more than eager to include the story about the ship Oliver in their book as well, because it glamorized Hermann Bach, who was the "hero" of their fraudulent genealogy. Plus, everyone loves a good story, and good stories sell books! Furthermore, The Germanna Foundation was grateful for any additional support they could get, for their fairy tale about Hermann Bach being on the ship Oliver.
The ship Oliver was one of the most well-known immigrant ships, because it sank, just off the Virginia coast, in January of 1739, and two-thirds of its passengers had died. But Hermann Bach was definitely not onboard the ship Oliver. That was actually another scam! Link to the true story of the ship Oliver
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" began: Troy, Custer, Kenneth, Dexter, and Reedus created a little club, which they planned on using as a "front," for writing, publishing, and selling their fraudulent genealogy. They thought that their little club would protect them from any liability, in case they got sued for what they were doing. They named their club, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society." They gave it that official-sounding name, in order to make it appear as if they were real genealogists, who knew what they were doing. However, not one of them was a genealogist, and not one of them had any experience as a professional genealogical researcher.
They soon gathered a few more people together, and they started holding meetings as, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," to discuss their "book project." They tried to make their meetings seem so official and so important, by following "parliamentary procedures." This means that they made decisions by first having someone propose an idea. And then, someone else "moved" it. And if a third person "seconded the motion," the idea passed.
They actually wrote pages and pages of rules and by-laws, and they even wrote a constitution! They elected "officers," including a president, a vice president, a secretary, a treasurer, and a financial secretary. (Why a financial secretary was needed, in addition to a treasurer, was never explained.) They also announced that the treasurer and the financial secretary were bonded, "for the protection of the Society." (Notice that the bond was not to protect the members' money, but to protect themselves!) Obviously, they were expecting a huge amount of money to be pouring in! But they never explained what all the money was needed for, or what it would be spent on.
They set up several committees, including a Membership Committee and a Steering Committee. They voted on everything, no matter how trivial or how absurd. They also spent a lot of time congratulating each other. They even published the minutes of their bizarre meetings in newsletters, and then they distributed the newsletters to as many people as they could find. It was all so ridiculous. But they did these things, in order to try to create the appearance that they were a legitimate organization.
They even announced in their newsletters that they had "obtained a tax number," from the state of Kentucky, because they had "set up their organization as a non-profit." But that was a blatant lie. They only said that, to make it appear that they were legitimate, as well as philanthropic. They never applied for a tax number, and they never became a non-profit.
The Kentucky Secretary of State has no record of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" ever applying for a tax number, or ever registering as a non-profit. In fact, there are no records of them ever registering as any type of entity (corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or non-profit). The state has no record of them at all. It was all such a scam. NOTE: How could they have reported all of their income, if they didn't have a tax number? (Answer: they probably didn't report any of their income!)
The fraudulent genealogy book was published: The book was finally published in 1994. It was a 2-volume set. They printed 500 copies. But then Reedus suddenly announced that, "all the plates were destroyed." This meant that they could not publish any more copies, unless they started over from scratch. Apparently, someone in the family was so angry at them for publishing that book that they were somehow able to get hold of the printing plates, and then they destroyed them. But Reedus later used a copy of one of the books, to create a CD of the book, which he then began selling for $45. However, when the CD was produced, it was announced that, "No attempt was made to correct errors which occured in the original books." But that makes no sense at all. Why not correct any errors?
One of the first things Reedus did was to make sure that copies of their fraudulent genealogy book got into every library and historical society in Kentucky; the Family Search Library, in Utah; and the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C. And then, after that, Reedus announced that, since their book was in all of those places, it meant that the genealogy it contained must be accurate! But of course, that was absurd! Anyone can ship a book to those places. It meant nothing. But that was all part of the scam.
Not only did the book contain a fraudulent genealogy of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky, it was also full of typographical errors, misspelled words, poor grammar, and countless other mistakes. The carelessness was extraordinary. And the book contained the same, goofy numbering system that Troy Back had created for the book he wrote about the genealogy of his wife's family. Now, there are several well-established genealogical numbering systems, and they have been around for a long time because they work. But neither Troy, nor any of those other people in "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" knew anything about them, because they were not genealogists.
The book immediately caused a huge uproar in the family, because everyone knew that it was wrong. It tore the family apart. The "old-timers" were particularly upset, but some of the younger people thought that maybe the genealogy it contained could be correct, since it looked like it was professionally done. After all, it was published with a fancy orange cover that had gold-foil letters on it!
The book had no ISBN number: Shockingly, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" never even obtained an ISBN number for their fraudulent genealogy book! Every author (and every organization) who publishes a book, knows that every book needs an ISBN number, so that it can be found in libraries and bookstores. Nobody would ever think of publishing a book without an ISBN number. But "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" did! Their incredible incompetence cannot be overstated.
ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number." It is a 10-digit, or 13-digit, number that identifies a particular book. (In 2007, ISBN numbers went from being 10 digits, to 13 digits.) ISBN numbers are obtained from a company called "R.R. Bowker," and they only cost $125. And getting an ISBN number is fast and easy. You can usually get one, in a few days.
Just before any book is published, the author(s) applies for an ISBN number for their book. After they get their number, they get it transformed into a barcode, and then the number and the barcode are placed onto the back cover of the book, usually in the form of a sticker. NOTE: If you go into any library or bookstore, and pick up any book, you will see what an ISBN number looks like.
The book was based on Hermann Bach: The genealogy in the book was based on two main lies: (1) Hermann Back had a son named Henry Back, who married Elizabeth Hoffman, the daughter of John Hoffman and Maria Sabina Folg; and (2) After Henry died, in 1808, his widow Elizabeth went to southereastern Kentucky and founded the Bach (Back) family there. But the book contained a massive amount of other lies and incorrect information. It was a complicated tangle of lies, misinformation, and things that made no sense at all. Nothing in the book was documented or proven.
The book started off with a "Disclaimer." They claimed that the book represented "a good faith effort." But they knew full well that the book was based on lies! Lies are not "a good faith effort!" They also claimed that, because the book was so large, they could not confirm all the data, and that "verification was impossible." (Of course verification was impossible...the book was based on lies!) They also made sure to include a statement that they were "not liable for any errors or omissions." They knew what they were doing was wrong, and they were afraid of getting sued for it.
Strangely, they presented a bizarre explanation as to why two spellings of the last name are used within the family. They were too incompetent to know, or understand, the real reason. Instead, they said that they "tried to use the preferred spelling" for each person's last name, and that "cemetery markers do not always conform to personal use." What in the world does that mean?
They also attempted to explain the goofy numbering system that they used in the book. They even said that it was a "modified Dewey Decimal system!" Can you believe that! The Dewey Decimal System is a sytem that is used to organize books in a library! There is no such thing as a "modified" Dewey Decimal system. These people were so strange.
In their "Preface," they also stated some very odd things. They said that the family was German, but now, they are "pure American." But the strangest statement was this: "One outstanding characteristic of the Bach/Back descendants that has been handed down through the generations is their strong attachment to family and home. May this never change." What a sappy and hypocritical statement that was. Here they were, presenting what they knew was a fraudulent genealogy of their own family, and then stating that they had a "strong attachment to family and home." It's enough to make you sick.
There was also "A Special Tribute" page, telling the readers that they should be "grateful for the initiative and follow-through work of Custer and Troy Back." So, apparently everyone should thank those two men for removing, and then defacing, the gravestone of the woman who was the matriarch of all members of the Bach (Back) family from southeastern Kentucky. They destroyed her gravesite, and everyone should thank them for it! It was truly sick.
In their "General Introduction," they claimed that Hermann Bach had four sons! There was the first son, Hermann Jr., who was the only actual son, according to The Germanna Foundation and all known facts. Then there was the second son (Henry Back), who they had added, to create their fraudulent genealogy, connecting the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky to Hermann Bach. And then there was the third son (John Back), who they also added. Actually, they had to add him, because he was a known brother of Henry Back. But they made a terrible mess of their information about John Back (see below). And then there was the fourth son (Joseph Back), who they also added. But he was actually a son of Hermann Jr.! The incredible lies and the incredible incompetence of these people was staggering.
Their deceitful Acknowledgements Page: When they wrote the "Acknowledgements Page," they even had the nerve to "thank" people who were not even involved with their scam, as well as other people who did not go along with their scam at all. It was incredibly dishonest, insulting, and misleading, to list the names of all those innocent people. They made it appear as if all those people on that list supported, and agreed with, their fraudulent genealogy, but practically all of them most certainly did not!
For example, they "thanked" Dr. Wilgus Bach, but yet they had destroyed his manuscript! They actually changed his research, with an ink pen and a bottle of "white out," to make it appear that he believed that Henry Back's widow Elizabeth had founded the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. Dr. Wilgus must have been rolling over in his grave!
They "thanked" Dr. B.C. Holtsclaw, but he never even researched the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky! In fact, he clearly stated in his book that there were two separate Bach (Back) families: one was from Thuringia, Germany (who owned the old Bach Family Bible, and migrated to southeastern Kentucky); and one was from Freudenberg, Germany (the Hermann Bach family, whose descendants later lived in central Kentucky).
They "thanked" Hazel Bach Craft and her husband Wardie, but they were the people who had retrieved Elizabeth's gravestone from The Maggard Cemetery, and they wanted absolutely nothing to do with them!
They "thanked" Josephine Wheeler (Nancy Josephine Wheeler Bach), but she had told them repeatedly that their genealogy was all wrong. She had extensive proof that the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky was related to Johann Sebastian Bach, and that Joseph Back, the son of Johann Heinrich Bach, had founded the family in southeastern Kentucky. Ms. Wheeler was married to John Everett Bach (1900-1982), who was a Kentucky state legislator (see the article below). She was the head of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), in Breathitt County, and she was a professional genealogist. She knew the truth about the family, and she wanted nothing whatsoever to do with "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society."
They also "thanked" Mary Edith Marley, who really was a descendant of Hermann Bach, through his only son Hermann Jr., who had moved from Little Fork, Virginia, to Garrard County, Kentucky, in 1789. She had repeatedly told Reedus, Troy, and Custer that their genealogy was all wrong, and that her Bach (Back) family, the Hermann Bach family, who lived in central Kentucky, had nothing whatsoever to do with the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. Mrs. Marley was also a professional genealogist, and so she knew what she was talking about. She knew the genealogy of her own family very well, and she had hundreds of documents to prove it. But they weren't interested. They even returned her letters to her, unopened, just to insult her.
They also listed The Magoffin County Historical Society, on their Acknowledgements Page. But the vast majority of the Bach (Back) family lived in Breathitt County and Letcher County! There were some members of the family who lived in Harlan County, Menifee County, Morgan County, Perry County, and Magoffin County. But the family had originated in Breathitt County, and then mainly spread to Letcher County. Why was Magoffin County listed, but the two main counties were not? (Probably because the Breathitt County Historical Society and the Letcher County Historical Society wanted nothing to do with them.)
But they did not dare list Tilden Bach's name. He had been researching the actual genealogy of the family for many years, and he had been planning on publishing a book for a long time. Tilden knew the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family very well, and for years, he tried to tell Reedus, and all the others, that what they were doing was not right.
Five parts: The book consisted of five parts. The first part was about Hermann Bach and his ancestors back in Germany. They got that information from The Germanna Foundation. And then, each of the other four parts covered each of the four sons that they claimed Hermann Bach had (Hermann Jr., Henry, John, and Joseph).
But the only actual, and documented, son that Hermann Bach had was Hermann Jr.
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" claimed that Hermann Bach had a son named Henry, so they could create their fraudulent genealogy. And since it was well-documented that Henry had a brother named John, and that these two brothers married two sisters (Elizabeth Hoffman and Margaret Hoffman), "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" had to claim that Hermann also had a son named John.
But "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" really made an incredible mess of the information they presented about the alleged son John. First of all, they claimed that John had an unknown first wife, and that he had two sons with her (John and Jacob). But that was not true.
The two sons (John and Jacob) that they claim John had with his unknown first wife were actually the sons of Johann Wilhelm Bach, who was a brother to Johann Heinrich Bach. Johann Wilhelm Bach had immigrated to America with his brother, Johann Heinrich Bach, in the mid-1700s, as documented in the passenger lists and other records.
Johann Wilhelm Bach and his family, including his two sons (John and Jacob), left Culpeper County, and they migrated to southwestern Virginia, around 1772. They settled along Copper Creek, near where it joins up with the Clinch River. Where they lived became Russell County, in 1786. Johann Wilhelm Bach later died there, in 1794. His son John had fought in the Revolutionary War, and he later lived in Wayne County, Kentucky and Monroe County, Indiana. His son Jacob married Sarah Lloyd, and they later lived in Wayne County, Kentucky.
Next, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" claimed that John was a millwright, and that he owned land along Crooked Creek, but that was actually Johann Heinrich Bach, who was known as "John Back" in public records! "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" knew nothing about the old German customs, and how German men who had two first names used their first name in public (when signing documents), and their second name in private (when they were with their family and friends). They further claimed that John moved to southwestern Virginia, with his alleged two sons (John and Jacob), and then he "abandoned them there," and returned to Crooked Creek! But that is also not true.
They even claimed in their book that there is no record of John's death. However, old records in Madison County, Virginia clearly show that he died there, in January of 1794. The court appointed four people to administer his estate, on January 27, 1794: his widow Margaret, his brother Henry, and two family friends, John Wayland and John Miller. Old records also show that John's brother, Joseph Back (who was married to Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard), returned from southeastern Kentucky to post the bond. Dr. Wilgus documented all of this in his book, but "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" pretended that they didn't know about it, because Joseph was the actual founder of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky!
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" also made a mess of the information they presented about the alleged son Joseph. Joseph was actually the son of Hermann Bach Jr.!
However, in their book, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" deliberately backed up Joseph's date of birth (from 1756 to 1742), to make it seem plausible that he was a son of Hermann Bach Sr. Why they thought they needed this fourth son for Hermann Bach Sr. is not understood.
Joseph's date of birth (April 9, 1756) was clearly written in his Family Bible (see the picture to the right), and it is known for a fact that "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" had a copy of that page, which they got from Mary Edith Marley, who was a descendant of Hermann Bach Jr.
Their fraudulent genealogy book is so full of incorrect information that it would take another book to sort it all out! They were so careless, and so sloppy, both intentionally and unintentionally. In their book, they even misspelled Hermann Bach Jr.'s name as "Hannon," on several pages!
The deception on page 13: "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" made sure that their book contained all sorts of information about Hermann Bach, including his alleged voyage to America on the ship Oliver, because he was the "hero" of their fraudulent genealogy.
They even created an incredible deception, to enhance the lie about the ship Oliver. On page 13 of their book, they referred to an article that had been written back in 1952, about the voyage, in the prestigious scholarly journal, The William and Mary Quarterly. That article was four pages long, and it went into great detail about how, in early 1738, a man named William Byrd II had sold 33,400 acres of his land, in southern Virginia (along the Roanoke River, near the North Carolina border), to a group of people from Switzerland, and how the ship Oliver had been chartered by a company in Bern, Switzerland, to bring those people to America to settle on his land. But "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" certainly did not want their readers to know what that article actually said! They only used the first paragraph of the article, which they altered, to create a false impression, upon which they created their deception.
The title of the article was, The Tragic Shipwreck of the Protestant Switzers. (Swiss people were often called "Switzers," back then.) A screenshot of the first paragraph of that article, including the title, which was taken directly from the actual, original article, is shown here, to the right. And down below that, is a picture of what "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" presented in their book as being an exact replica of the words, from that same paragraph, from that same article.
Please compare the screenshot of the actual article (above), to what "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" presented in their book as being an exact replica of the article (below). You can clearly see that "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" chopped off the title of the article (because it said that the ship had Swiss passengers), and they also inserted the words "(and Germans)," into the second sentence, to make it seem as if there were lots of Germans onboard (fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Hermann Bach).
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" also deleted the last seventeen words of the second sentence, which described William Byrd's land as being along the southern border of Virginia, and along the Roanoke River. They didn't want to reader to know that those people were headed there, and not to Little Fork, in northern Virginia. What they did with this article is a perfect example of the kind of lies, and the kind of deception, that are rampant throughout their fraudulent genealogy book.
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" also wrote at the top, that those fifty-three people from Freudenberg (described as, "The Nassau-Siegen group"), including Hermann Bach, were on the ship Oliver, and that this one short paragraph "sums...up" that claim. But the paragraph was altered from the original! And that article never said one word about anyone from Freudenberg (or Nassau-Siegen) being onboard the ship Oliver. The article talked about a group of 300 Swiss people buying land from William Byrd II, and then sailing on the ship Oliver, in order to settle on that land. Now, there may have been a few Germans who bought some of William Byrd's land, who were living in Switzerland at the time, and there may have been a handful of German redemptioners onboard, but there was certainly not fifty-three Germans from Freudenberg onboard! If there had been, it would certainly have been mentioned, in this in-depth article about that voyage.
NOTE: The fifty-three people from Freudenberg, including Hermann Bach, were not redemptioners. Redemptioners were people who could not afford to pay for their voyage. A few redemptioners were allowed to board many of the ships sailing to America, right before they sailed, in order to fill up the last few remaining seats. And then, when those people arrived in America, they had to "work off" the cost of their voyage, by being an indentured servant for someone, for seven years.
The people from Freudenberg had money to pay for their voyage. They all left Freudenberg together, and they all went to Rotterdam to board a ship together. And once they got to America, they did not work as servants for someone else, for seven years. They lived in Little Fork and they owned land!
There was no proof: In their fraudulent genealogy book, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" offered no evidence, and no proof, for all of the genealogy that it contained, prior to the birth of the three children who they incorrectly assigned to Henry Back and Elizabeth Hoffman Back: John (1774-1854); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871).
In addition, so much of their book made no sense at all. It is very strange that anyone would even consider believing one word of it. There was not one piece of evidence that Henry Back was a son of Hermann Bach, because it wasn't true. There was not one piece of evidence that Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the widow of Henry Back, ever went to Kentucky, because it wasn't true. There was not one piece of evidence that Henry and Elizabeth had those three children: John (1774-1854); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871), because it wasn't true. There were no birth records, no church records, no census reports, no tax lists, no marriage records, no death records, no letters, no wills, no land deeds, nothing, to prove these outlandish claims, which were at the center of their fraudulent genealogy.
However, there is ample evidence that Henry Back was the son of Johann Heinich Bach. There is also ample evidence that Elizabeth Hoffman Back, the widow of Henry Back, moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, after Henry died, and that she died there, in 1815. There is also ample evidence that Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard were the parents of those three children: John (1774-1854); Mary (1777-1807); and Henry (1785-1871). There is also ample evidence that it was Joseph Back and his wife Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard who went to southeastern Kentucky, in 1791, and founded the Bach (Back) family there. And there is also ample evidence that Joseph Back was the son of Johann Heinrich Bach (and a brother to Henry Back, who married Elizabeth Hoffman).
But Reedus, Troy, and Custer couldn't be bothered with evidence, proof, facts, or the truth! They were too excited at the prospect of connecting themselves to The Germanna Foundation, and "getting rich" by selling their fraudulent genealogy!
At no time did "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" ever bring in any professional genealogist or researcher to review, or verify, the genealogy that they were planning on publishing. That was because they knew that there wasn't one piece of evidence, not one shred of proof, that connected the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky, to Hermann Bach up in Little Fork. Not one. And so that's why there is no proof in their book either.
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" even sold memberships: Starting around 1993, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" actually started selling memberships in their little club, just like The Germanna Foundation sold memberships in their organization. "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" constantly promoted the ridiculous concept that a person had to buy a membership in their club, in order to be involved with the genealogy of their own family!
The memberships cost $20/year, or you could buy a "lifetime membership" for $100! The membership application form stated that you also received a "calligraphy certificate," but those were never sent out. A membership also included a very strange "newsletter," which was printed twice a year. But there was no news in it. It was just a few pieces of paper, boasting how wonderful their little club was, and begging the reader to solicit other people to buy a membership. The newsletter also printed the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the newest members. What a violation of privacy that was!
In several issues of the newsletter, Reedus Back even wrote about how much he wanted to "build an ongoing and profitable genealogy business." That was a really strange comment to put into print. He was blatantly admitting, in writing, what he was doing!
Reedus also tried to make the readers of his newsletter feel guilty, if they had let their membership expire, or if they had not solicited other people to buy a membership. He wrote that, "by buying a membership, then you could enjoy being family." Apparently, you really weren't a part of the family, unless you bought a membership in his little club. (Just 200 members brought in $4,000 a year.) What was all that membership money used for? Where did all of that money go?
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" also collected membership dues for The Germanna Foundation, which they continually referred to as being "their sister organization." They did everything they could, to connect their little club to The Germanna Foundation. They wanted people to believe that they were just as credible, and just as prestigious, as The Germanna Foundation was. (How shameful can you get?)
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" took over the family reunions: In 1993, which was the year before they published their fraudulent genealogy book, they simply took over the annual family reunions. From that point forward, they ran the reunions. They were in charge. They were the self-appointed authorities on, and the sole distributors of, the only genealogy of the Bach (Back) family, and that was that! Shockingly, they used the reunions, just to make money for themselves. It was despicable.
First of all, they moved the reunions from Quicksand Creek (where they had been held for over sixty years), down to Whitesburg, because most of their club's "officers" lived down there. (However, in 2000, they strangely held the reunion way up in Morehead, simply because Reedus lived there!) Then they changed the entire format and function of the reunions, to resemble the reunions held by The Germanna Foundation. In other words, instead of the reunions being the way they had always been, ever since 1933, which was a pleasant afternoon for family members to bring a covered dish, and share stories and pictures, they were transformed into a two-day fundraiser for Reedus and his buddies. The sole purpose of the new reunions was to get the attendees to open up their wallets.
Now, before each of the new reunions took place, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" sold tickets to attend them ($25 per person), even though nobody had ever paid anything to attend their own family reunion before. There were also additional fees ($15-$25) for various "side trips," in which the attendees were taken to cemeteries, or other places, in buses, as a group. Of course, every year, there was a "side trip" to The Maggard Cemetery, where the attendees were led over to the newly-erected gravestone that had the name of Elizabeth Hoffman Back on it. The attendees were repeatedly told that the gravestone was the "proof" that their (fraudulent) genealogy was correct. Of course, the attendees were never told that the gravestone was actually sitting on top of the remains of another woman, Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back, who was the actual matriarch of the family in southeastern Kentucky.
A couple of months before each reunion took place, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" begged people to donate items to them, so that they could sell them at the reunion and pocket the proceeds. Since the items were donated, that meant the profit margin on the items was 100%. The items included tools, quilts, coffee mugs, clothes, candles, pot holders, key chains, picture frames, books, bowls, plaques, dolls, and all sorts of useless knick knacks and handmade things. What all that junk had to do with genealogy was never explained. At the reunion meeting, the donated items were stacked on a large table by the door, and so the attendees had to walk by all that junk, whenever they came in, and whenever they left. And one of the "officers" always stood right next to the table, harassing the attendees to "buy something," every time they walked by. Later that day, whatever items had not been sold, were then auctioned off, to the attendees, towards the end of the reunion meeting.
Of course, they sold their fraudulent genealogy book at the reunions. They even told the attendees to, "buy extra copies for your children!" And, of course, they prohibited the sale of any books about the actual genealogy of the family, including the well-documented books that Tilden Bach had written.
And since most of the attendees were coming from outside the area, they needed a hotel room to stay in. So, a few months before the reunions, "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" arranged for blocks of rooms to be reserved at all of the local hotels. That way, they got a "kickback" on the room charges, when the attendees booked their reservations.
First of all, their printed Agenda showed that, since they were now in charge of the reunions, they only counted the number of years that they had been in charge (since 1993), as being the total number of years that the family had been having reunions, instead of all the years that the reunions had actually been going on (since 1933).
For example, in 2003, their Agenda said it was the "Tenth Annual Reunion" (since 1993). However, the Bach (Back) family reunions had started back in 1933, and so, in 2003, that would have been 70 years, not 10 years. But since "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" had obliterated the actual genealogy of the family, starting at the reunion in 1993, they only counted the years since 1993, as being the period of time that the reunions had been going on. They simply wiped out the past, not only on their printed Agenda, but in their fraudulent genealogy book. NOTE: Their printed Agendas nearly always contained typographical errors and misspelled words as well. They couldn't get anything right!
These new reunions put on by "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" took place over two days. On the first day, which was always a Friday, most of the "side trips" took place. Sometimes, more "side trips" took place the following Saturday morning. And then, the reunion meeting was held, late in the day, on Saturday. The meeting started at 6:00pm, and it took about three or four hours. (Why not start it in the afternoon, so that it could be over at a reasonable hour?)
For some unknown reason, the buffet dinner took place, shortly after the reunion meeting started. So, the meeting suddenly stopped, and then all the attendees got up from their chairs, walked over to the far side of the room, and then they stood in line to get something to eat. When the attendees were done eating, the meeting resumed! (Why not have the meal before the meeting, or after the meeting? Why interrupt the meeting to have a meal? Everything about these people was so strange.)
Each reunion meeting started off with a prayer, and then later, it ended with a prayer. They wrapped religion around their reunions, around their little club, and around the promotion of their fraudulent genealogy book, in a desperate attempt to make people believe that everything they were doing was good and true. It was truly blasphemous. They even had "preachers" give speeches at their reunions, who actually had the attendees sing religious songs together, like you do at church! They tried to make their reunion meetings seem like a Sunday morning at church, to make it appear that they were "on the right side of God." They even had a man from the Gideon's give a religious speech that was packed with Biblical quotes. At the end of his speech, he actually solicited the audience to buy one of his Bibles! But the Gideon's have always given Bibles away for free! That's what they are known for! But this was just another sick attempt to get even more money out of the attendees.
They also had live music at the reunions. Strangely, besides playing countless religious songs, the musicians also played patriotic songs, such as The Star Spangled Banner, This Land is Your Land, and America the Beautiful. What did singing patriotic songs have to do with genealogy! Nothing! Just like how they wrapped religion around their fraudulent genealogy, they wrapped the flag around it as well. They were trying to make the attendees think that their fraudulent genealogy was good and honorable, just like religion and patriotism was. How sick can you get!
But the main focus at each reunion meeting was Reedus Back. He stood up at that podium, like he was the President of the United States! He tried to act so important and so authoritative. But all he was doing was lying to members of his own family, and brazenly stealing money from them. Those innocent people were only there, because they were just trying to find out who their ancestors were.
Reedus knew full well that the genealogy that he and his buddies were promoting and selling was absolutely wrong. There is no doubt whatsoever that he knew the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family. He had known it, ever since he was a boy. Everyone in southeastern Kentucky knew it! But he didn't think he could make nearly as much money selling the actual genealogy of his own family, as he could selling a genealogy that connected his family to The Germanna Foundation.
Reedus stood at that podium and droned on and on about Hermann Bach. He recounted the fairy tale about "Hermann Bach and the tragic shipwreck of the ship Oliver," and then he actually told the attendees how "lucky" they were to even be alive, because Hermann had survived! He also droned on and on about how wonderful his little club was. He kept begging the attendees to give him money, to "support" his little club, and he tried to make them feel guilty if they didn't. And if someone dared to ask about the actual genealogy of the family, he, and the "officers," quickly dismissed them, with a wave of their hand, and then they openly laughed at them and made fun of them.
"The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" even sold trips to Freudenberg, Germany, just like The Germanna Foundation did. And Reedus always talked about those trips at the reunions as well. He begged people to sign up, to go to Freudenberg with him, the following year. That was actually the biggest rip-off of all, because of how much the trips cost ($5,000).
Reedus headed up the annual trips to Freudenberg. He actually took thousands of dollars from innocent people, got them on an airplane to Germany, and then took them around to places where Hermann Bach had lived, telling them that those were the places where their ancestor had lived! He blatantly lied to those people about their own heritage! NOTE: It is suspected that Reedus didn't even pay for his own trips, and that all of his expenses (and his wife's expenses) were paid for with funds from "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" (money from selling all those memberships, all those fraudulent genealogy books, and all that junk at the reunions).
The people in the Bach (Back) family, who knew the actual genealogy of the family, were so upset and so angry about that fraudulent genealogy book, and how "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" had swooped in and took over the family reunions, that they stopped going to the reunions, after Reedus took them over, in 1993.
Before 1993, upwards of 1,000 people used to attend the reunions every year, and the people looked forward to going back, year after year. The reunions were wonderful and lots of fun. But just as soon as "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" took them over, the attendance at the reunions suddenly dropped to a few dozen people. Starting in 1994, the small number of people who attended the reunions were probably not even aware of the actual genealogy of the family, and so they had no reason to question the fraudulent genealogy that was being presented.
By 2012, only a handful of people showed up for the reunions, and so Reedus and the "officers" just walked away from them. (They couldn't make any money, with just a few people in attendance, and making money was the only reason that they had taken over the reunions.) And so, one of the members of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," a man named Larry Back, who is an uneducated forklift driver, brazenly appointed himself "the new genealogist" of the family, and then he took over the reunions. But he wasn't a genealogist either. He liked to throw around genealogical terms, pretending that he was a genealogy expert, but he didn't even know what those terms meant! In fact, he spelled "surname" as "sirname."
Larry Back actually believed that he was suddenly "in charge of" the family's genealogy, and that he decided what the genealogy of the family was, simply because he said so. And just like every other member of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," Larry knew full well what the actual genealogy of the family was, but he claimed (insisted) that the fraudulent genealogy was correct.
Of course, Larry also did everything he could, to eliminate, or discredit, the actual genealogy of the family (just like Reedus, Troy, and all the others had done), while promoting the fraudulent one. Larry was so obnoxious, so overbearing, and such a bully, that he drove away the last few people who attended the reunions. And now, there are no more reunions.
That is what that terrible book, and those evil, greedy people did, to the family. They tore the family apart, with their lies, and the family has never been the same.
Where's all the money?: "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" printed 500 copies of their fraudulent genealogy book, which they sold for $85 apiece. That comes to $42,500. What happened to all of that money? And what happened to all the money that they raised at all of those reunions, or from selling all of those memberships, or from selling all those trips to Germany? Where did it all go? What was it used for?
Since they had no tax number, and they were not legally organized as any type of entity, how did they report all of that income to the IRS? (Or did they report it?) Frankly, it looks like it all just went into someone's pocket, tax-free. If so, that's illegal.
In 1997, Troy Back died suddenly, of a massive heart attack, just three years after his fraudulent genealogy book was published. It is not known how much money he got from the scam that he had started...a scam that began with him lying to his own family, and destroying the ancestral records of his own family...and ending up with his own family torn apart, because of what he had done.
And Reedus Back never did achieve his dream of building an ongoing and profitable genealogical business, like The Germanna Foundation had. He just went home to Morehead, and continued to deny that he had ever done anything wrong.
Apparently, Reedus and the "officers" of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" made a "quick buck," and then they disbanded, around 2014. By that time, too many people had become aware of the fraud, and too many people were asking too many questions. Reedus had to have been concerned that he and the "officers" might get sued for what they had done, or the IRS might come after them, and so he shut down "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society." The organization is now defunct.
Tilden Bach tried to show them: In 2003, a man named Tilden Bach wrote a book about the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky. It was titled, Our "Bach" Family Ancestral Heritage. His book was based on the research done by Dr. Wilgus Bach.
For many years, Tilden tried to provide the people at "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" with the overwhelming proof of the family's actual genealogy, but nobody in the club would listen. Tilden knew that they already knew the truth, but he wanted to physically put the actual documents right in front of them.
Finally, around 2000, Reedus Back, and another member of their little club, David Risner, agreed to go to Tilden's house, to meet with him.
While they were there, Tilden showed them an enormous number of documents, proving the actual genealogy of the family, which was the one that Dr. Wilgus had actually described. But neither man had much to say. A few hours later, as they were leaving, and standing on the front porch, Tilden asked Reedus what he thought about what he had just seen. Reedus replied, "Well, since we got our genealogy out first, that's the one that will go down in the records, as the history of the family." Then he just turned around and walked away. Tilden was stunned. Reedus never spoke to Tilden again.
But a few years later, David Risner contacted Tilden. He told him that he knew that the genealogy that Tilden had shown them was correct, and he also knew that the genealogy put out by "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" was all wrong. David said that he "knew for a fact" that Reedus and the others had "simply made up the story about Hermann Bach," and that they had "plugged information," to create their fraudulent genealogy. He also said that he was "tired of going along with the lie," and that he was ashamed of what he had done. He stopped associating with "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society" completely, and he and Tilden became good friends. (Sadly, David died in 2008.)
In 2004, Larry Back, who supported "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," and who later took over the family reunions, told Tilden that he wanted to see the old Bach Family Bible. At that time, the old book was kept at Mary Sue Stamper Smith's house, in Lexington. She was Dr. Wilgus Bach's granddaughter.
Tilden was friends with Mary Sue, and so he arranged for a meeting at her house, so that Larry could get in to see the old book. Tilden met Larry, at Mary Sue's house that day, and they spent hours, looking at the old book. While they were there, Larry told Tilden that he wanted to buy a copy of his book, Our "Bach" Family Ancestral Heritage, but he claimed that he didn't have any money on him at the time. (He drove all the way to Lexington, without any cash or a checkbook. Sure.) So Tilden handed him a copy of his book, and Larry promised him that he would mail him a check for $35, when he got home. But he never did. He stole Tilden's work, even after Tilden had gotten him in to see the old Bach Family Bible.
Then, Larry posted Tilden's work all over the Internet, giving it away for free. Larry even took credit for Tilden's research, by making it appear that it was his research! Tilden died in 2009, but Larry never did pay him the $35 for the book. That's the kind of person who belongs to "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society." (Tilden's book is no longer for sale.) Strangely, even though Larry Back learned all about the actual genealogy of the family, he still promoted the fraudulent genealogy of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society."
Fake DNA "evidence": Around 2011, a woman named Karen Simmons, who is a cousin of Larry Back, suddenly claimed that she had DNA "evidence," which proves that the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky descends from Hermann Bach. However, her DNA "evidence" only shows that, hundreds of years ago (about 14 generations ago, and before the year 1500), the two families may have shared a common ancestor. It does not prove that the Bach (Back) family in southeastern Kentucky descends from Hermann Bach. But she lies about it anyway. It's all part of the scam.
T. Bach also published a book: In 2012, a new book about the actual genealogy of the Bach (Back) family was published by a woman named T. Bach. It was titled, We Came from Thuringia: Genealogy of the Bach Family in Breathitt County, Kentucky. It was a massive book that took over a decade to research and write. It included the research of Dr. Wilgus Bach and Tilden Bach, plus a great deal of additional information. She included countless source documents that proved the actual genealogy of the family. But within just a couple of months, the people who cling to that fraudulent genealogy sprang into action.First, Reedus Back, the "president" of "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society," had a friend of his (Diana Back) buy the book. Diana made a copy of the book, and then she mailed the copy to Reedus. That way, his name was not involved. Then Diana contacted the author, Ms. T. Bach, and demanded a refund. However, when the book was returned, it was all torn up, and it could not be resold. But Diana had taken a photograph of the book, before she had destroyed it, "proving" that she had returned it, in excellent condition. That's the kind of person who belongs to "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society."
Reedus Back then started emailing Ms. Bach. He actually threatened her, and he said some really nasty things to her. He even claimed that he had never been to The Maggard Cemetery, and that he knew nothing about the gravestone over the remains of Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back. In fact, he even denied that her gravestone was pulled out of the ground and thrown over the hill. Of course, everything he said was a blatant lie. That's the kind of person who belongs to "The Back-Bach Genealogical Society."
And then, Larry Back (the man who stole a copy of Tilden Bach's book) stole a copy of Ms. Bach's book. He got it from an elderly relative. Then he made a PDF copy of it, and he emailed it to as many people in the family that he could find, telling them that they "didn't need to buy it." Not only was that hateful, it was illegal. And then, just like what he had done to Tilden Bach, Larry posted Ms. Bach's research all over the Internet, giving it away for free, and taking credit for all of her research. He even posted entire paragraphs of her book, word for word, on the Internet, pretending that he had written them himself. He also posted numerous pictures from her book, on the Internet, which had taken her years to locate. Many of those pictures were given to her with special permission, and with specific instructions that they were only to be printed in her book. But Larry made it seem as if the pictures were his! Ms. Bach didn't even know Larry Back!
And then, in July of 2016, Larry Back and his cousin Karen Agee went onto Amazon.com, where Ms. Bach's book was for sale, and they posted negative and untrue reviews of her book, just to deliberately discourage people from buying it. (Strangely, Amazon allows people to post reviews of a product, even if they have never purchased it.) After Larry and Karen did that, nobody ever bought Ms. Bach's book from Amazon, and so she decided to take her book off of Amazon. Shortly after that, Larry and another cousin of his went onto a popular genealogy website and they got Ms. Bach's account taken away from her, so they could steal some of her work, and also destroy some of her work. When Ms. Bach found out what they had done, she was finally able to get her account reinstated, but she was not able to recover her work that they had stolen from her. What they did to her was so hateful and so mean.
But that was really nothing, compared to what Peter Bach did to Ms. Bach.
Peter Bach is German, and he lives in Flein, Germany. He likes to pretend that he is related to Johann Sebastian Bach, but he isn't. He runs a bizarre website about Johann Sebastian Bach (BachonBach.com), which has to be one of the worst sites on the Internet. On the site, he proclaims that he is the authority on Johann Sebastian Bach, and that only "real Bach's" are "allowed" on the site. But the site contains nothing but Peter's foolish jibberish. He tries to sell some strange calendars, and some other odd things, but his "store" doesn't even work. His website is absolutely awful.
In 2013, Peter Bach obtained a copy of Ms. Bach's book. However, he and his family are not related to her or her family, in any way. His interest in her book was quite peculiar.
After he got a copy of her book, he asked her, if she would put a link on her website (no longer online), linking to his website (BachonBach.com), then he would put a link on his website, linking to hers. She agreed, and she put the link to his website on her website. However, he never did put a link on his website, linking back to hers. But she really didn't mind.
Three years later, in the early spring of 2016, Peter Bach contacted Ms. Bach again, and he asked her for another link on her website. That one, he said, would be to a new website that he had just launched, for a children's book. Ms. Bach politely declined, because her audience was adult readers, and it had nothing to do with children's books.
Well, Peter Bach went ballistic. He sent her an incredibly bizarre email, claiming that she had "withheld information" from him, about the genealogy of her Bach (Back) family, three years earlier. He accused her of "hiding information" as well. She replied that there was nothing to hide, she had not hidden anything, and she had not withheld anything. All of the genealogical information that she had on her family was in her book. That's why she wrote the book!
Peter Bach also outrageously claimed in his email that Ms. Bach had promised him that he could sell her book and keep all of the profits for himself! What! That was absurd! What author would do such a thing! She never promised him that! Furthermore, that was three years ago. So why in the world was he saying that now? Ms. Bach realized that Peter Bach truly was a lunatic.
Shortly after that, in the late spring of 2016, Ms. Bach happened to see a website that said it was giving away her book for free. But when she opened the site, and clicked on the link, it went to a YouTube video of Peter Bach, sitting in his living room, begging people to send him money so that he could "write a book!" She could not believe it! She also saw a few other websites online that said they were giving away her book for free, and when she clicked on the links on those websites, the links actually went to a PDF copy of her book, allowing anyone to download it for free! So she immediately sent an email to Peter Bach, and she asked him why was he giving away her book for free, on the Internet. She told him that it was illegal, and it was a violation of copyright law. She told him to stop doing it. But he never replied.
Ever since then, Peter Bach has been illegally uploading Ms. Bach's book to the Internet, practically every day, giving it away for free, as a PDF, on a link, which he puts on the websites that he creates, in blatant violation of U.S. Copyright Law (and in violation of the copyright laws in Germany). He buys the domain names, he creates the websites, and he buys the hosting services, to get the websites onto the Internet. He probably spends at least $40 to set up each website. The amount of money that he has spent, since the spring of 2016, must be in the hundreds of thousands.
Ms. Bach contacted several attorneys, but all of them told her that there was nothing they could do, because Peter Bach lives in Germany. All she could do was file "DMCA Notices," with the companies that were hosting the websites, to try to get the websites taken down from the Internet. So she did that, for two and a half years. Every day, she had to get on the Internet, find the websites that he had created, which were giving her book away for free, get the URLs, and then try to find out who was hosting the websites. Then she had to prepare a DMCA Notice and email it to the hosting service. Sometimes, the hosting services took down the websites right away. Other times, it took a week or two. But many times, the hosting services just ignored the DMCA Notices. (There are no repercussions if they ignore them.) She spent several hours doing this, every day, for two and half years, just trying to protect her own book, her life's work. But for every site she got taken down from the Internet, he just put up four or five more.
From time to time, Ms. Bach emailed Peter Bach, and she begged him to stop. But he never replied. He just posted her book for free, on even more websites.In 2017, Peter Bach hooked up with some of those websites that illegally provide digital downloads (mainly PDF's) of copywritten books, for a very small fee, if you buy one of their "memberships." Most of those websites are based in Indonesia. He then began creating websites that "re-directed" people to those illegal websites. That way, he actually earned a commission for every one of Ms. Bach's books that were sold! So Peter Bach had finally figured out a way to make money from selling Ms. Bach's book.
Ms. Bach contacted the FBI, and Homeland Security, but neither agency would help her, even though copyright infringement is part of their responsibility. Nobody would do anything, even though she pleaded with them for their help. The FBI and Homeland Security were only interested in great, big cases, not just one little woman and her genealogy book.
Between the spring of 2016, and the late summer of 2018, Ms. Bach filed more than 6,000 DMCA Notices, trying to get the websites that were giving away her book for free taken down from the Internet. (Some notices contained more than one website, if they used the same hosting service.) But not all hosting services follow the DMCA law, particularly the ones based in foreign countries, even though those countries have agreed to abide by the law. They just ignore DMCA Notices. As a result, many of the websites that were giving away her book for free remained on the Internet, and there was nothing that she could do about it. Furthermore, Peter Bach started putting the link to her book in the "cache" of a website, and DMCA does not address that problem. But anyone can get to the cache, just as easy as they can open the website. He even created some "soft porn" sites and put her book on them as well.
Even worse, for every website that Ms. Bach was able to get taken down from the Internet, Peter Bach just put up several more. There was no end to it. Also, many of the websites that he created had malware on them, and so anyone who clicked on them got their computer infected.
Moreover, the "membership" websites never removed her book from their sites, no matter how many DMCA Notices she sent them. Even more bizarre was the fact that they constantly changed the URL for her book, so she was "chasing a moving target." Ms. Bach discovered that there is nothing that any author can do, to get their book removed from any of those illegal "membership" websites. Once one of those "membership" websites gets an author's book, they have to just "kiss their book goodbye."
By the late summer of 2018, Peter Bach had bought over 8,000 domain names, and set up over 8,000 websites, either giving her book away for free, or making a commission on the illegal sale of her book on those "membership" websites. It was absolutely insane.
Day after day, month after month, and year after year, Peter Bach continued buying domain names, creating websites, and illegally uploading Ms. Bach's book to the Internet, either giving it away for free, or making a commission by selling it. And there was nothing she could do to stop him.
Peter Bach destroyed Ms. Bach's book, and he destroyed her life. And for what? He doesn't even know her, and he's not even related to her. Her book was about her family, not his! What was the point of it all?
On September 28, 2018, Ms. Bach gave up.