In a daft moment back in the summer of 2016, without realising how much work was involved, I thought it would be a good idea to find every Backler in the 1911 Census and trace their families back through the censuses to 1841, to try and establish how many family groups existed. The 1841 census was the first of its kind. It had limited accuracy compared to later censuses and it also had less information. I didn’t manage to place every Backler in a family group either, as there were a few waifs and strays. Not surprisingly, given other data to hand, most of these family groups were traced back to Haverhill in Suffolk. My own family group has been traced back to Bristol, via Birmingham and Warrington, with tenuous links via London to Haverhill. I had hoped that this research would assist with my own family connections, but it didn’t. These were the main family groups that were established by this work and further postings will be needed to provide more information on each:
- Arthur Backler was born in 1818 in Haverhill and his wife was identified as Rachel, who was born in 1814 in Essex, both according to the 1851 census. They were then living at Coggeshall, Braintree and were married in 1842. By the 1861 census they were living in the High Street, Haverhill. Arthur was acquitted of larceny in Bury St Edmunds in 1862, but was found guilty of theft in 1868 and sentenced to 6 months hard labour. He stole a carpet and a communion table cloth, amongst other things, from a church at Castle Camps, near Haverhill and appeared before The Hon. Sir S. Martin at Chesterton, at the Cambridge County Gaol. Arthur died in 1876 and his and Rachel’s descendants have remained in the Haverhill area.
- Charles Backler was born on 6th June 1808, in Shipdham, Norfolk. In the 1841 census his surname was misspelt as Backlear. His wife was identified as Harriet, born 1801, and they were living in Plough Yard, St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, London. They had a daughter Mildred Backler, aged 8 in 1841 and born at Balsham, Cambridgeshire (1871 and 1891 censuses), who appears to have married James Maddin. In the 1891 census, Charles Linton Backler, born in Islington, London in 1867, was noted as the nephew of Mildred Maddin. Charles Linton was the son of the widow Emma Backler aged 40 in the 1881 census. Charles and Harriet had two sons, Mildred’s brothers, Charles Backler born 1836 and Thomas Backler born 1837 and Emma was married to Charles. This is an illustration of the type of detective work that researchers have to carry out to make family links when the trail goes cold! I have now written a blog page about this Charles. He could be the brother or a cousin of William Backler – see point 13 below.
- Charles Backler was born on 11th September 1808 in Haverhill and baptised on 9th July 1909. The baptism record shows that Charles’s parents were Imri and Frances Backler of Haverhill (see point 7 below). His first wife was Harriet Marsh and his second wife was Phoebe Basham. Charles lived at Chauntry Croft, then Beggar’s Row and finally at Cemetery Lodge. Charles was a weaver and later became sexton at Haverhill Cemetery. Charles’s descendants have remained in the Haverhill area. I have written a blog page about this family group.
- George Backler was born on the Isle of Wight in 1799 and he married Pamela. See the blog page already written on this family group. I have not been able to connect this group to Haverhill or the other Hampshire family group mentioned below. George’s and Pamela’s descendants have remained in the county of Hampshire.
- George Backler was born in 1811 in Haverhill, according to the 1841 census and he married Mary Ann who was born in 1818 according to the 1851 census. George was a bricklayer, who appears to have departed this world by 1851, leaving his wife and children as paupers in the Risbridge Workhouse. George’s and Mary Ann’s descendants are split between Haverhill and London.
- Henry Backler, a coppersmith, was born in London at St George in the East in 1820, according to the 1851 census. He was married to Sarah, a tailoress, who was born in Whitechapel, London in 1825. Henry and Sarah’s descendants all seem to have remained in East London.
- Imri Backler was born in 1771 in Haverhill and was married to Frances Basham who was born in 1776. The descendants of Imri and Frances were by far the largest occupiers of properties in Haverhill by 1915. There is a blog page detailing this and another blog page detailing one of their grandchildren, John Backler, who married Keziah Radford. Many of John’s and Keziah’s descendants had the double barrelled surname Radford Backler, which evolved into Backler Radford and then just Radford. This is another type of hurdle that family historians have to overcome. Many of Imri’s and Frances’s descendants stayed in the Haverhill area, but many moved to London and other parts of the country, notably Melbourne, Derbyshire. Imri may well be the son of John, born 1733 – see The Descendants of John Backler blog page.
- James Backler was born in 1785 in Haverhill and was married to Dorothy, who was born in 1791. James was a bricklayer and appeared to reside at The Weavers Arms, Hamlet Road, Haverhill. According to the Suffolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), this pub was demolished in the mid 1920’s and had a reputation as a doss house by the time of its closure, with 33 residents being recorded in the 1891 census, so it must have had rooms. Some of James’s and Dorothy’s descendants moved to nearby Linton, Cambridgeshire. Others moved to Essex and London. James may well be the son of William, born 1750 – see The Descendants of John Backler blog page.
- James Backler was born in 1788 in Haverhill and was married to Elizabeth, who was also born in the town in 1791. Their descendant’s remained in Haverhill and the immediate area. James may well be the son of John, born 1757 – see the Descendants of John Backler blog page.
- Leonard Backler was born in 1781 in Haverhill and was married to Elizabeth Dane born 1779. A son, another Leonard, born in Woolwich in 1812, became a steward in the Royal Navy. His wife, Susannah Kirswell, was born in Devonport in 1815. Leonard’s and Elizabeth’s descendants mostly remained in Hampshire in the Portsmouth area, but there are some recorded in London. There are further Leonards in later generations, who were also seafarers in the Royal Navy and a Leonard George who was a policeman in London. See the blog page on this branch of Hampshire Backlers. Leonard may well be the son of William, born 1750 – see the blog page The Descendants of John Backler.
- Thomas Backler was born in late 1777 or early 1778 in Haverhill and was married to Margaret Wakeling on 26th April 1812, who was born in 1784 in the town. Their descendants lived in the Haverhill area mostly. Thomas was baptised on 22nd February 1778 when his parents were given as Thomas Backler and Elizabeth. The older Thomas, in fact, married twice. First was Elizabeth Rowlinson on 3rd March 1772, who was buried the following year on 6th July and then to Elizabeth Stairns on 7th February 1774, who was the younger Thomas’s mother. It appears that the younger Thomas, had a sister, Phoebe Backler, who was baptised on 1st August 1779. The third generation named Thomas Backler and son of Thomas and Margaret, was born in 1812 and married Mahala Smith in 1841. Mahala was born in 1817 and they had seven children.
- Timothy Backler was born in 1784 in Haverhill, being baptised at St Mary’s and he married Elizabeth in 1810, who was also born in Haverhill in 1787. Timothy’s parents are identified as William and Mary in the baptism record of 17th October 1784. This is probably William Backler, born 1750, who married Mary Wiseman, born 1756 – see The Descendants of John Backler blog page. Timothy died in 1861 and his surname is misspelt as Backlar in the 1841 census. Timothy’s and Elizabeth’s family remained in the Haverhill area.
- William Backler was born in 1792 in Shivnum, Norfolk and he married Louisa, who was born in 1794 in Horseheath, Cambridgeshire. Family members moved to West Wickham, Peterborough and West Bridgford. In the 1841 and 1861 censuses, their surname was incorrectly spelt as Bachler. I think the reference to Shivnum may be a misspelling of Shipdham and William may well be related to Charles – see point 2 above.
As a further check, I examined the Haverhill Electoral Registers for 1909 and 1915, which bracketed either side of the 1911 census, and these showed descendants of Arthur, Charles (1810), Imri, James (1788), Thomas and Timothy. This exercise was worthwhile, because it identified three family groups that I had somehow missed when starting from the 1911 census. These were Arthur, James (1788) and Timothy. The addresses from the Registers and the occupants will be identified on each family blog page, as will further information from the censuses.
This research did not pick up my own line – see the blog page My Line of Backlers – Haverhill Roots. There is a good chance that it is linked in to one or more of the above groups. My 5 X great grandfather Samuel, was probably born around 1750 in Haverhill, which is a generation or more before the family groups listed above.
There is quite a bit of research from this exercise already completed that I will continue to write up on other blog pages. As usual, there are also plenty of gaps that need further research. It could be that, by going back a generation or two, the number of family groups will be reduced. It seems plausible that at least some of the identified thirteen will be related and the blog page – The Descendants of John Backler – has some useful details that I need to research further and this has suggested five links, as noted above. The information in this page was taken from Ancestry members public trees, with only limited checking, which means errors are possible. This will be my next step and I may well edit the contents of this page, should further information come to light.