Backlers – the German connection

I have found evidence that was gleaned from the German Lutheran Church records at the Savoy in London.  Here a Michael Christian Backler and his wife Anna Fanert (maybe Fahnert) had two children christened, Johan Christoff Backler born 10th July 1778 and Marya Anna Backler born 18th December 1781, with the records being in German.

The London Land Tax records show a series of Backler’s resident at Litchfield Street.  This is a retail and residential area.  From 1801-1816, apart from 1810 and 1813 when the books record C. Josh (presumably Johan Christoff, who appears to have anglicised his name to Christopher Joseph), the tax was noted as due from C&M Backler, presumably Christopher Joseph and Michael Christian.  In 1817 and 1818 the records show Charles Backler and William Backler and from 1820-27 they show William with Cornelius Backler.  Since writing this, I have now discovered entries in Pigot’s Directories for 1822 and 1825 that confirm Christoper J. Backler was a working as a goldsmith at 24 Litchfield Street.   I have found no further information on Charles, William and Cornelius.

In an edited publication entitled “Migration and Transfer from Germany to Britain 1660-1914”, there is a chapter written by Horst Rossler entitled “Germans from Hanover in the British Sugar Industry 1750-1900”.  This traces emigration from an area between the lower Weser and lower Elbe rivers to ports in the UK.  The German area was known as Elbe-Weser-Dreieck and was an agricultural district, where work was scarce.  In Liverpool, London and Bristol, there were German communities, mostly working in the sugar industry, who welcomed fellow Germans who were in search of a better life.  They worked in teams of less than ten people and often preferred to hire workers from Germany where there were family connections.  This raises the possibility that early Backlers in Bristol and London may have been German immigrants – see the blog page “Sugar refining Backlers in Bristol and London”.   The fact that I have found records in German at the German Lutheran Church supports this viewpoint.

I have been unable to link the two Michael Christian Backlers – the sugar refiner and the goldsmith, but the fact they were in London in the same era would suggest that there could be a connection.  I need to discover more!

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