My line of Backlers in Bristol

This blog page details my direct Backler ancestors who have been traced to Bristol, before moving to the Birmingham area (see the blog page on The Backlers in Birmingham).

My 4 x great grandfather was Henry Backler (born 1785 in Haverhill, Suffolk and died 1st April 1868 aged 82 in Bedminster, Bristol), who was an anchor smith in the marine industry.  In the 1861 census, Henry is shown as being born in Suffolk, Harva Hill (a West Country spelling no doubt).  Henry and his wife Elizabeth had three children, William Backler in 1818, Elizabeth Backler in 1819 and Mary Ann Backler in 1826.

My 4 x great grandmother was Elizabeth Backler, who died at the age of 78 (according to her death certificate) at 22 Cathay,  Bedminster, Bristol on 12th March 1856, witnessed by her daughter Mary Ann Backler.  Her husband Henry was described as a foreman anchor smith on the death certificate.  In the 1851 census Elizabeth was described as a laundress aged 70 (i.e. born 1781 – three years younger than shown on her death certificate).  She was living at 57 Hope Square, Bedminster, and recorded that she was born in Barnstaple, Devon.  At the same residence were her daughter Mary Ann, also a laundress, aged 26 and her granddaughters Mabel aged 7 (daughter of Elizabeth) and Louisa aged 1 (daughter of Mary Ann).

Henry married Ann Offer twice.  The first time was on 7th June 1840 at St. Marys, Bitton, Gloucestershire, when they lived in Willsbridge, where he was described as a widower with the profession of smith and she was a straw bonnet maker.  The second time was on 26th December 1859 at the parish church of St. Mathias, Bristol, where he was still described as a widower, this time correctly.  Their address was given as Merchant Street, Bristol.  This raises the distinct possibility that Henry was a bigamist between 1840 and 1856, and it makes it likely that he and Elizabeth lived apart for at least this period.  Ann died on 26th November 1864 at the age of 62, from chronic bronchitis in Bedminster, in the presence of Henry, now described as a journeyman anchor smith.

On Ann’s and Henry’s first marriage certificate Henry’s father was described as Samuel, a shoemaker of London.  Nothing further is confirmed about Samuel Backler, but I have  research that suggests that he married Martha in Haverhill, Suffolk and they are my 5 X great grandparents (see the blog page My Line of Backlers – Haverhill Roots).

My 3 x great grandfather, William Backler (born 1818) was a cabinet maker according to his marriage certificate.  William must have relocated from Bristol to Birmingham, probably somewhere between 1834 and 1843.

UPDATE July 2019: – The Birmingham Daily Post of 25th June 1880 reported that Superintendent Backler received a retirement presentation at a dinner given in his honour at The Grand Hotel, Temple Row and it noted that he had joined Birmingham Police on 11th August 1836.  His relocation from Bristol would, almost certainly, therefore, have been in 1836.

Henry and Elizabeth’s older daughter was another Elizabeth Backler.  She married Edward Sidney on 7th August 1849 in the parish church in Stapleton, in the registration district of Clifton, Bristol.  Elizabeth was 30 at the time and her father Henry was described as a Factor.  The marriage was witnessed by her brother William and sister-in-law Ann.

The birth certificate for Elizabeth’s daughter Louisa, born on 5th September 1837 in Bedminster, Bristol does not mention a father.  At the time both Elizabeths, mother and daughter, were living at Hope Square, Bristol.  Louisa died of small pox at the age of 3, on 9th August 1840, by which time her name had changed to Louisa Sidney Backler, so an educated guess would suggest Edward Sidney was her father.  At the time she was living at Devonport Street.

Mabel Sidney Backler was born in 1845, in Bristol according to the 1851 census, again before her parents were married.  She died at The Horsefair, Bristol at the age of 18, on 18th January 1864, with her aunt Mary Ann Backler present at her death.  Mary Ann was living at Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol at the time.  Mabel was described as a shopwoman, flour and bread concern.

Henry and Elizabeth’s younger daughter was Mary Ann Backler, mentioned above, who was born, according to the 1851 census, in Bedminster.  She married Stephen Pratt on 23rd May 1860, when he was aged 22 and they lived at Charlotte Street, Bedminster.  Stephen was a seaman on HMS Royal Albert.  Mary Ann gave her age as 25 on her marriage certificate, when she was actually about 34.

Mary Ann had a daughter, Louisa Backler born in 1850, who died at the age of 3 on 28th August 1853 of small pox.  Elizabeth was present at the death and Mary Ann was shown as a seamstress on the certificate.

It must have been terrible losing two young girls at the age of the 3 to small pox and it must have had a lasting effect on all those involved.  I need to find out what happened to the two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann to finish this story on the Backlers in Bristol.

2 thoughts on “My line of Backlers in Bristol

  1. HI RAY. GRAHAM in AUSTRALIA sent me your blog as I have been researching the BACKLERS from all over the world, and have a lot of info on them, Would you please get in contact with me. ALL THE VERY BEST GRAHAM.


  2. Hi Graham,

    Great to hear from you. I knew of you through my Aunty Betty and also from when Peter and Margaret visited you from Australia back in 2006, I think. My email address is

    If you can email me, I will provide you with my phone number and maybe we can have a chat.

    Have you seen the blog ? it is written by Barbara Meredith and she inspired me to write my own blog.

    I would be interested to know if you have managed to link the Backlers in Dedham to Haverhilll and beyond!

    Best wishes,



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