Christopher Backus

LOS ANGELES - DEC 07:  Christopher Backus arrives to the "The Ha

Backus in 2015, photo by DFree/

Birth Name: Christopher Paul Backus

Place of Birth: Mission Viejo, Orange, California, United States

Date of Birth: October 30, 1981

*25% German
*25% Hungarian
*25% Norwegian
*25% Swedish

Christopher Backus is an American actor, director, and screenwriter. He is the son of Teryl and Terry Backus. Christopher is married to actress Mira Sorvino, with whom he has four children.

Christopher’s paternal grandfather was Paul Louis Backhaus/Backus (the son of Louis August Johann Backhaus/Backhus and Caroline Bertha Pfortmiller). Paul was born in Illinois, of German descent. Christopher’s great-grandfather Louis was the son of Heinrich/Henry Ludwig/Louis Backhaus and Alvina Anna Bertline Brackmann/Brackman. Caroline was the daughter of Friederich/Friedrich/Fredrick Wilhelm/William Pfortmiller and Ida Dorothea Meyer.

Christopher’s paternal grandmother was Helen Mary Toth (the daughter of Joseph Toth and Rose Lulukas). Helen was born in Illinois, to Hungarian parents.

Christopher’s maternal grandfather was Obert/Overt Sanford/I. Peterson (the son of Iver Halvor Peterson and Oline/Olena Moen). Obert was born in Minnesota. Iver was born in Wisconsin, to Norwegian parents. Oline was born in Minnesota, also to Norwegian parents.

Christopher’s maternal grandmother was Olive Adrienne/Adrian/E. Andersson (the daughter of Carl/Charles Johan Andersson and Hulda Luella Peterson). Olive was born in Minnesota. Carl was Swedish. Hulda was born in Minnesota, to Swedish parents.

Sources: Genealogy of Christopher Backus –

Christopher’s paternal grandparents, Paul Louis Backhaus/Backus and Helen Mary Toth, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Obituaries of Christopher’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Friederich/Friedrich/Fredrick Wilhelm/William Pfortmiller and Ida Dorothea Meyer –

Christopher’s maternal grandparents, Obert/Overt Sanford/I. Peterson and Olive Adrienne/Adrian/E. Andersson, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Christopher’s maternal grandfather, Obert/Overt Sanford/I. Peterson, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Christopher’s maternal grandmother, Olive Adrienne/Adrian/E. Andersson, on the 1910 U.S. Census –
Olive Adrienne/Adrian/E. Andersson on the 1920 U.S. Census –

22 Responses

  1. madman says:

    Interesting how he ended up not having any English ancestry at all. With these major changes in his ethnicity, maybe he should go to the front page?

    • follers says:

      The original page submission said “English, German”.

      Why front page? He’s not starring in a movie out this weekend (or ever), he’s not in the news, and he hasn’t said that he has Native American ancestry like Tyler Christopher and Cheyenne Jackson.

      • bablah says:

        It would be nice to have a “recently updated” list or something on the site.
        Like the comment one.

        • follers says:

          Not sure if that’s possible, but you might or might not be surprised how many pages I update per day, even if it’s in a very small capacity each.

          • bablah says:

            Maybe ones that change tags as opposed to the ones where there’s just a text addition?

          • follers says:

            Ethnic knows more about all this than I do. Interestingly, though, tag changes aren’t even detectable on the change listings that I can see within each page.

          • andrew says:


            1 Why Sofia Richie’s mother is still described as “African-American?? we don’t exactly know which is her background, unless marrying an AA makes her AA too.
            2 Jeremy Renner listed as “Panamanian” before all the rest of his ancestry is ridiculous
            3 I doubt Paulie D. has San Marino-born ancestors. It’s just a tiny Sovereign state in Northern Italy

          • follers says:

            Renner’s ancestry seems to be 25% Panamanian, and aside from that, I want to draw attention to it, especially since it’s so confusing.

            And of course Richie’s mother is black, though I’m sure she’s mixed, maybe first-generation mixed.

          • andrew says:

            Richie’s mother is black?? good joke

          • andrew says:

            I don’t get what is “confusing” about Renner’s Panamanian ancestry. It’s just happened that his WASPs ancestors lived in Panama (his great-great-grandmother’s name, Alrilla, if it’s right, sounds Spanish though). His mother is white.

          • follers says:

            No, not WASP. I think I found some Panamanian record that listed at least some of them as black. I don’t remember where.

        • madman says:

          I would also like to see a list of people with mysteries to solve in their ancestry (like Renner) or with a large part of their ancestry missing.

          • andrew says:

            Eddie Vedder’s paternal grandmother is missing, or Frances McDormand’s biological parents who are unknown.

      • madman says:

        What about Justin Long? I understand if Christopher isn’t famous or relevant enough though.

        • follers says:

          Almost nothing was known about Long’s ancestry, other than that he said his grandmother was Italian. So I thought the fact that I found his entire genealogy was a big step, especially considering
          -he was vaguely racially ambiguous (people thought he had Asian ancestry)
          -and that, as you say, he’s much more well-known than Backus.

  2. madman says:

    I’m pretty sure this is his father:

    It would mean this is his paternal grandparents were Paul Backus and Helen M. Toth (the daughter of Joseph Toth and Rose). Joseph and Rose were Hungarian immigrants:

    The surname “Peterson” is Scandinavian (Swedish or Norwegian), it could be added to the ethnicity.

    • madman says:

      What we know about his father is that he was named Terry Backus, was a lawyer, and died when Christopher was young. This Terry Backus died when Christopher was 10 years old, and he is linked, along with his mother Helen M. Backus, as a possible relative on public records of Christopher. And there was a lawyer named Terry W. Backus in California:

      Seems pretty likely he was Christopher’s father. If that’s the case, maybe his surname isn’t German, it could be derived from the Hungarian surname “Bakos”. And it isn’t clear that he has English ancestry yet.

  3. bablah says:

    This might be his paternal grandparents (they definitely have a daughter called Teryl Backus, I just can’t prove it’s the same woman):

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