Show ContentsBackus History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The many generations and branches of the Backus family can all place the origins of their surname with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name reveals that an early member worked as a worker at the bake-house. The bake-house was where all the people in a village would bake their bread in communal ovens. 1 2 3

Early Origins of the Backus family

The surname Backus was first found in London where Walter de Bakhous was registered in 1306. Later Richard del Bakhous was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Lancashire in 1332, Thomas Bachous, again in London in 1334 and Charles Baccus in Yorkshire in 1544. 3

In Somerset, we found two early entries: William atte Bakchous; and Nicholas atte Bakhouse. Both were registered 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) 4

In Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Thomas del Bakhouse and William del Bakeus as holding lands there at that time. 1

Early History of the Backus family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Backus research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1538, 1554, 1571, 1593, 1598, 1601, 1626, 1662, 1753 and 1894 are included under the topic Early Backus History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Backus Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Backus were recorded, including Backhouse, Baccus, Bachus, Bakehouse, Backas, Backhuse and many more.

Early Notables of the Backus family

Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Backus Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Backus Ranking

In the United States, the name Backus is the 5,104th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. 5

Ireland Migration of the Backus family to Ireland

Some of the Backus family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Backus migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Backus family emigrate to North America:

Backus Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Backus, who arrived in Connecticut in 1637 6
  • Mr. Backus, who landed in New England in 1637 6
  • Francis Backus, who landed in Maine in 1688 6
Backus Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Agness Backus, who landed in New York in 1709 6
  • Georg Backus, who arrived in New York in 1709 6
  • Reitz Backus, who landed in New York in 1709 6
  • Sebastian Backus, who arrived in New York in 1709 6
Backus Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Geo Backus, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 6
  • O Backus, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 6
  • Thomas Laurens Backus, who landed in Colorado in 1884 6

Contemporary Notables of the name Backus (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Edward Nolen Backus (1906-1973), American Commander of the 32nd Air Defense Division (1958-1959) 7
  • John Warner Backus (1925-2007), American computer scientist and leader of the team that invented the first high-level programming language (FORTRAN). He received the National Medal of Science in 1975
  • Billy Backus (b. 1943), American former world boxing champion
  • Albert Ernest "Beanie" Backus (1906-1990), American artist
  • Jim Backus (1913-1989), American actor, famous for his roles as the voice of Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell, III, on the 1960s hit sitcom Gilligan's Island
  • Edward Wellington Backus (1861-1934), American timber baron
  • Edward W. Backus (1834-1920), American politician, U.S. Consul in Brazil; Financial backer of Guglielmo Marconi in the development of radio transmission 8
  • Edward A. Backus, American Republican politician, Candidate for Wisconsin State Senate 6th District, 1962 8
  • Dwight Backus (1856-1922), American Democratic Party politician, Benton Township supervisor, 1898-1913; Chair of Eaton County Democratic Party, 1913 8
  • Dana C. Backus, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from New York County 12th District, 1934 8
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Indianapolis
  • Thomas Hawkins Backus (1917-1945), American crew member on board the ship "USS Indianapolis" when she was on a top secret trip for the first nuclear weapon, she was sunk by Japanese Navy on 30th July 1945, he was one of the many who were killed in the sinking due to exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks 9

The Backus Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Confido in Deo
Motto Translation: I trust in God.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Edward Backus. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from
  9. Final Crew List, retrieved 2021, October 30th Retrieved from on Facebook