Welcome to Our Genealogy Site

Welcome to Backus Family History!

This site contains the results of our ongoing research on the Backus Families and branches for the last 22 years. The data contained herein has been compiled over many years, on a best effort basis. While we believe the family links we have made to be correct, you should always do your own independent validation to verify your ancestry.

Most of the profiles on this site include some supporting sources, an image of a headstone, etc., but some do not. We do this when we are building a branch and have sources yet to be added, or when we have good evidence of a relationship, but the explanation is complicated. We want visitors to see these profiles and to contact us if they have documents to help verify a relationship, or to correct errors in our conclusions. Please note that the spelling of names and the accuracy of dates are often conflicted among sources cited for an individual. We try our best by choosing the common denominator amongst these sources, and we correct spelling errors we know to be the result of repeated phonetic misspellings. For these and other reasons, the profile may not completely agree with all details of all the sources included. If you find errors that you can verify, please contact us.

If you are visiting this site, you may be related to someone in our database and may have research that could help us, or family members you would like to add. We would also be very pleased to add your photos, documents and stories.

Anyone who has spent time working on family history knows how time consuming and challenging it is. Although we are working many hours to build and maintain this site, it is also a community effort. We do not claim to have the most complete information in every case and we will continue to rely on our visitors and members to help us make this site better. We work on this project without compensation (except for our enjoyment of genealogy and family history!) but there are expenses in maintaining the Backus Family History site, costs which are steadily increasing as the site grows. We also hope to have this site maintained and developed far into the future by family members, descendants of ours and of our cousins. We have been asked if we can accept gifts to help support the operating costs of this site. The answer is yes, but please note, we are not an NPO, so your gift is not tax deductible.

If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, research to share, people, photos or documents you would like to add, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you are family and would like to have access, please click the "Register Here" link to the lower right. Please tell us how you are related and include the related person's name and ID#, and give a VALID EMAIL ADDRESS. All requests without any of this information will be ignored.

The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.". How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do.



A handful of our favorite resources.

Discover Our Family

Henry Clay Backus Family

Born 1844 in Waterbury, Vermont. Married Ellen Johnson, Had 4 children: Lucius, Ernest, James, Charles, second wife Alice Woodard, Had 6 children: Eva, Alice, Harrison, Elinor, Bessie, William. Died 1910 in Fayston, Vermont.

Gilbert Strong Family

Born 1859 in Westminster, Vermont, Married Adeline Salway 1887 in Littleton, New Hampshire, Had 6 children: William, Charles, Elmore, Clarence, Frederick, Lucille, died 1925 in Pembroke, New Hampshire.

Fred Lattin Family

Born 1896 in Horseheads, New York, Married Pearl Southard 1918 in Horseheads, New York, Had 1 child: John (Adopted), divorced and remarried 1939 in Painted Post, New York, died 1976 in Elmira, New York. Was a Carnegie Hero Fund Awardee.

Frank Cook Family

Born 1880 in Dundee, New York, Married Nettie Davis 1905 in Geneva, New York. Had 8 children: Marion, Winifred, Bertrum, Edith, Zoie, Mildred, Florence, Jean, died 1961 in Horseheads, New York.

Famous people from our tree

James Gilmore Backus (February 25, 1913 – July 3, 1989) was an American actor. Among his most famous roles were Thurston Howell III on the 1960's sitcom Gilligan's Island, the father of James Dean's character in Rebel Without a Cause, the voice of nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo, the rich Hubert Updike III on the radio version of The Alan Young Show, and Joan Davis' character's husband (a domestic court judge) on TV's I Married Joan. He also starred in his own show of one season, The Jim Backus Show, also known as Hot Off the Wire. An avid golfer, Backus made the 36-hole cut at the 1964 Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournament. He was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Backus was acting on radio as early as 1940, playing the role of millionaire aviator Dexter Hayes on Society Girl on CBS. He had an extensive career and worked steadily in Hollywood over five decades, often portraying characters with an "upper-crust", New England-like air, much like his best-known role, Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island. He appeared in (and narrated) A Dangerous Profession (1949); Deadline – U.S.A. (1951) with Humphrey Bogart; Pat and Mike (1952) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn; Rebel Without a Cause (1955); The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957); and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He also made television appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). Backus was the voice of the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo. Years later, when Backus was a frequent talk show guest, he would recount the time Marilyn Monroe urgently beckoned him into her dressing room. Henny Backus, Jim's wife, recalled the story: "Jim was in the 1952 film Don't Bother to Knock, with Marilyn Monroe. He came home one night during the filming and told me that Miss Monroe in her most seductive breathy voice asked him to meet her in her dressing room. His curiosity got the better of him and he went. Once there, she exclaimed like an excited child, 'Do Mr. Magoo!' And Jim did." On July 3, 1989, Backus died in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia after suffering from Parkinson's disease for many years. He is buried at the southwest corner of Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles.

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Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate. – Unknown