A warm welcome to the Backer Dirks Website!

Backer family coat of arms.  Click to see details Backer Dirks family coat of arms.  Click to see details Dirks family coat of arms.  CLick to see details

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Site last updated Dec 2020

About this site

This is the website of the Backer Dirks family. The purpose of this site is to provide information about our family past & present. If you find any errors or inconsistencies on this site or if you have any additional information which you think may belong on this site then please contact me from the link at the top of the page or by clicking on the following icon Thank you.

This website mainly records the genealogy of two families, the Backer Dirks family and the Elvy family. The Backer Dirks family has its origins with the Backer family and the Dirks family of the Netherlands and Germany. The Backer Dirks family is very small, with fewer than 50 people having been born into the family to date, and all those people known to the author are included on the website. The Elvy family, on the other hand, is huge and has its origins in Great Britain where it comprises many thousands of people most of whom have to traceable links to each other. Only one branch of the Elvy family is covered.

Why these two families? Well, my father, Rudolf Backer Dirks, is the person who did all the research over many years, and he married an Elvy, my mother Barbara Mary Elvy.

As you might expect, many other families were recorded when researching our two families. Currently, the site contains over 400 surnames, 1500 individuals, and 500 marriages. The following surnames are most represented:

We hope this site will contribute to your knowledge of who you are, what your origins are and who is in your wider family and that it will lead to new contacts within wider the family.

How to use this site

The blue links right at the top of this page will take you to all main points of this site. The link to "Detailed family genealogy" takes you to the main centre of information on this site (over 2000 web pages), a complete list of all individuals, their names, dates, professions, etc., and in some cases additional information and pictures. If you are interested in genealogy or you are trying to find someone then this is where to look.

Where we have been able to find information about someone which is of particular interest or which makes a nice 'story' we have grouped these stories under the link "Family history and stories of long ago". Most of these stories can also be accessed from the individual's page under the "Detailed family genealogy" link.

Pictures can be found on an individual's page under the "Detailed family genealogy" link, but we also have a picture gallery where many pictures can be found.

Useful information

  • Did you know that prior to 1752 in Great Britain, dates between 1st January and 24th March were recorded as belonging to the previous year?
  • Many Elvys were yeoman or husbandmen. Do you know what that means?

The Backer Dirks family in a nutshell

Looking at the amount of information and the number of people involved in our family tree, you need a pretty large nutshell to capture the basics of the Backer Dirks family. However, here are some interesting points to start with...

  • The name Backer Dirks hasn't always existed. In the olden days, before 1813, there was a Backer family and a Dirks family. These families are still thriving today in the Netherlands. The name Backer Dirks first came about in April 1813 after an exciting adventure involving two cousins of these families, a certain Jan Dam Backer and a Jan Dam Dirks, who changed their identities when one of them was called up to enlist in Napoleon's army. Following this adventure, Jan Dam Dirks changed his name to Jan Dam Backer Dirks.
  • There are only about 30 Backer Dirks' in the World today. We are all related to each other and can trace our ancestry back to the first Backer Dirks, Jan Dam Backer Dirks, and to his great-great-great grandfather Johan Jacobsz Kuchenbecker who was born around 1568. He became a Master Baker in Jever, a town which now lies in North Germany.
  • There are links from our family to many interesting historical figures such as Joachim Neander, after whom Neanderthal man was named , Arnulf of Metz who lived around 0582 - 0640, and to the great lineage of mediaeval Frankish Kings, including Charlemagne Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Despite our small number the Backer Dirks family has started to take over the World and we currently inhabit several continents.

  • Picture galleries

    Family history, stories of long ago, and some ancient pictures

    Genealogy: If you are interested in the genealogy of the Backer Dirks, Elvy and related families then please go back to the top of this website and click on the link called "Detailed family genealogy". This will take you to all the information about births, baptisms, marriages, children, professions, deaths, etc.

    Stories and pictures: If you want to read some stories about the Backer Dirks and Elvy ancestors then please click on the links listed below. Alternatively, click on this icon to see a overview of the entire family tree from where you can also click on individuals to read their stories.

    How confusing dates can be! Did you know that prior to 1752 in Great Britain, dates between 1st January and 24th March were recorded as belonging to the previous year?

    Backer Dirks stories and pictures:

    Elvy stories and pictures:

    Statistics of the Descendants of Johan Jacobsz Kuchenbecker

    descendants of Johan Jacobsz Kuchenbecker

    This chart shows the growth in population of the descendants of Johan Jacobsz Kuchenbecker, our earliest known direct ancestor.

    Johan was born around 1570. He married a girl called Anna, and in 1603 they had a son. After a restless but inspirational night, they named him Jacob Johannsen, which means Jacob son of Johan.

    Young Jacob married a girl of whom we have no details, except that he was obviously extremely fond of her because he wasted no time in siring eleven children with her. 😁 We descend from the ninth child, Dirck Jacobs.

    Jan Dam Dirks, who in 1813 changed his name to Jan Dam Backer Dirks, was the great-great-great grandson of Dirck Jacobs. We all descend from him.

    Statistics of the Backer Dirks Family

    Backer Dirks population This chart shows the trend in population of people born into the Backer Dirks family.

    It begins in 1813 when Jan Dam Dirks changes his name from Dirks to Backer Dirks. Jan Dam was, therefore, the first Backer Dirks in the world.

    We observe an encouraging surge in population in 1825 as the population doubles from 1 to 2 when Jacobus Johannes is born to Jan Dam. This is followed by a calamitous 50% drop in population from 2 to 1 when Jan Dam dies in 1844, leaving his 19 year old son as the only surviving Backer Dirks in the world! 😨

    For the next 37 years the world holds its breath as the Backer Dirks name teeters on the brink of extinction. 😱..

    In the summer of 1880, unable to stand the suspense any longer, the Good Lord, Creator of Heaven and Earth, hatches a masterly plan and leads Anna Maria Clasina Thierens to the now 55 year old Jacobus. Jacobus immediately falls in love with Anna (who wouldn't! She was almost 20 years younger than him 😉) and they marry.

    Jacob and Anna have 5 children. Their first child dies in infancy, as does their third, leaving them with three children, two sons and one daughter, to pass on their lineage.

    After this precarious start, the Backer Dirks name has steadily grown to its present height. There are two main branches to the Backer Dirks family today. One branch descends from Jacobus & Anna's second surviving child, Cornelis Pieter Backer Dirks who was born in 1883, and the other branch descends from Jacobus & Anna's fourth surviving child, Jacobus Johannes Backer Dirks, who was born on a bright mid-Winter's day in 1886. Their third surviving child, their daughter Ida Sara Backer Dirks, died unmarried.

    Family tree

    Below is an overview of the Backer Dirks family as it currently stands, built mainly from information in the family history book written by my Pap. Click on any box to see a detailed view.

    Linked to that is an oveview of that part of the Elvy family that the Backer Dirks faily is related to. Again, click on any box to see a detailed view.

    Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore Click to explore

    Click here to see a picture of closely related families.

    Note: Not all the families recorded on this website appear in the family tree diagrams. If you want to navigate the entire genealogical tree (about 1600 individuals) and see additional photos, details and descriptions please click on the blue link "Detailed family genealogy" at the top of this site.

    Did you know these facts?

    • No other family in the world has the name Backer Dirks. Our surname started in 1813 and since then only about 50 people have been born with this surname. Most of them are still alive today.
    • Our earliest direct ancestor we could find traced through the male line is Johan Jacobsz Kuchenbecker from Jever (which is now in Germany). He was born around 1570.
    • Our earliest direct ancestor we could find traced through the male and female line is Jan Thierens who lived in the mid 1400's. That's two generations before Christopher Columbus sailed to America.
    • Our earliest indirect relation (i.e. including links by marriage or siblings) we could find is Arnulf of Metz who lived around 0582 - 0640.
    • We can trace indirect links from our family to the great lineage of mediaeval Frankish Kings, which includes Charlemagne Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
    • Our family tree contains around 1600 people.
    • We have relatives in the Netherlands, Germany, England, the United States, Argentina, South Africa, and others...?
    • Neanderthal Man was named after someone in our family tree, Joachim Neander who died on 31 May 1680.
    • We have appeared countless times in newspapers articles (all for honourable reasons!)
    • We have received numerous honourary titles, distinguished diplomas and other accolades.
    • Our family has published many books and academic articles. Our relatives were frequently honourary guests at top Universities, including at Harvard and Oxford.
    • There is a large monument in IJmuiden, Netherlands, in honour of one of our most famous ancestors, Justus Dirks.
    • The Dutch Royal Family have popped in for an informal cuppa tea with our relatives at their home.

    Contributions and recent changes to this website

    Recent changes to this site

    This site was launched on 12 September 2001 at 2.30 a.m. Since then...

    • 24/10/01 - a few old pictures added, plus a few more 'did you know' facts.
    • 05/11/01 - photograph added of Karjan Backer Dirks with her husband Harry and son Robin.
    • 06/11/01 - personal web pages of Maurice Backer Dirks added.
    • 04/12/01 - Feuilleton "Uit den Franschen Tijd" added to history section, and counter of visitors added.
    • 06/01/02 - Introduction of graphical family tree, descriptions of coats of arms, re-organisation of history pages, cloaking of e-mail addresses.
    • 21/01/02 - personal web page Oliver Backer Dirks added.
    • 06/02/02 - Dowry of Margarethe Meins added to history section.
    • 01/03/02 - Story of Jacob Dirks added to history section, and over 100 new Dirks relatives added to the family tree.
    • 28/04/02 - Genealogy and stories of the Elvy family added (over 500 new individuals).
    • 14/11/02 - Links to Lisbeth's personal website added.
    • 12/02/03 - new hit counter added.
    • 22/02/03 - Backer Dirks and Elvy picture galleries added.
    • 07/09/03 - Michael Nathaniel Backer Dirks added - the latest Backer Dirks!
    • 21/03/04 - New names and new photographs added.
    • 17/08/04 - links to the lineage of Frankish kings (including Charlemagne).
    • 19/10/06 - lots of details and photos of descendants of Lida Clasina Dirks (?-1926).
    • Oh dear, I haven't maintained this list of changes!
    • 19/01/17 - details of Jurjen BD's family added.
    • 20/11/20 - Elvy family tree diagrams added
    • 20/12/20 - correction to Charlemagne family tree


    I hope to put a lot more history on the website, and many more pictures as well. Much of the Backer Dirks history is in Dutch; I will translate this into English when I get the time.

    What you can contribute

    If you would like to contribute something to this website then please do. For example, you could:
    • send me historical facts about the family
    • correct errors or fill in gaps in our family tree (people and dates)
    • let me know of any births, marriages, and deaths in the family
    • send me a photograph of yourself or your family


    Here is a list of people who have contributed to this site.

    Rudolf Backer Dirks (to many of us Dolf, Pap, or Opa)
    Pap is the Great Historian of the Backer Dirks family and deserves a special mention. Practically all the historical information on this site is thanks to his hard work.

    Elisabeth Backer Dirks (Lisbeth)
    Lisbeth helped convert Pap's typed documents for display on the web and also scanned some images. Also, there are a couple of links to her own website (see link at top of this page)

    Jan Dam Julius Backer Dirks (me, Jul, or Jules)
    I deserve a mention for setting up and maintaining the website. Here too, hundred's of late night hours of fun in front of the computer (fun for me, not the wife).

    Karjan Backer Dirks
    Karjan kindly corrected a few facts, supplied some new information and a sent photograph of her family.

    Maurice Backer Dirks
    Maurice has created his own personal web pages. You can view this by clicking on the 'e-mail addresses and personal web pages' link at the top of this page.

    Oliver Backer Dirks
    Oliver has also created his own personal web page. You can view this by clicking on the 'e-mail addresses and personal web pages' link at the top of this page

    Elisabeth Backer Dirks
    Lisbeth sent some pages and links to her own site. You can view this by clicking on the link to "e-mail addresses and personal web pages" at the top of this page

    Karen Yvonne Johnson (née Elvy)
    All details of descendants of Ludford William Elvy (1890-1972) and a lot of help with producing the Elvy family tree diagrams.


    Andy Jones for hosting this site free of charge on his hosting service JavaHoster.

    GenoPro excellent genealogical package which you can download from the Internet. I used this to create the 'Detailed family genealogy' pages.