Hasselbachers Left Behind in Austria

There are no Hasselbachers or Haselbachers living in Gresten today, but there are a number of Haselbachers living in Austria. Indeed, there is a Haselbacher trucking company based in Vienna and Neunkerchen. I have often wondered if any connections could be made between the Hasselbachers of Germany and the contemporary Haselbachers of Austria.

I often mention the fact that two brothers and the son of a third from Gresten, sons and grandsons of Stephan and Anna Hasselbacher, emigrated to the Aischgrund in the mid-1600's. What is sometimes overlooked is that the first Hasselbacher family to emigrate appears to be that of Johann and Maria in 1655 from the Austrian Village of Freidegg or Steinakirchen am Forst. These villages are less than 20 km north of Gresten and it is not unreasonable to speculate that the families were related. I do not know if anyone has looked at the Austrian records from these places but hat would be an interesting thing to do.

Previous historians have combed through the Gresten Church-books and extracted all the Hasselbacher names. I think I have them all displayed elsewhere on this website. During my last trip to Germany, I had an opportunity to go through the modern German transcriptions of the Gresten books from the late 1600s and 1700s by Leopold Schöberl. Imagine my pleasant surprise to come access the name of a new Hasselbacher! An Adam Hasselbacher is married twice. Once in 1704 to Anna Maltalehner, and a second time in to 1708 to Eva Reisinger. I rather assume it is the same Adam marrying twice. Adam was a very early Hasselbacher family name and was, in fact, the name of the third son of Stefan that did not go to the Aischgrund.

I do not yet know what happened to the Hasselbachers left behind. Perhaps they remained as Catholics. Perhaps they emigrated elsewhere.  (Of course it is also possible that an Adam returned from Germany to Gresten, but of the 4 Adams in our German database, none would be a candidate.)

Although we speak of ourselves as children of Gresten, The fact is that we lived high above that village in a saddle-pass that descends on the other side to the village of Ybbsitz. The Haselbach stream flows down through the Haselgraben towards Ybbsitz, not Gresten. Indeed, early maps suggest that some of the farms on which Hasselbachers lived were actually in the Parish of Ybbsitz, including the Haselbach farm itself. I do not know the religious history of Ybbsitz but it is my understanding that it escaped some of the religious strife suffered by Gresten.

In any event, there are plenty of reasons for an interested person to explore some of the villages around Gresten for traces of the Hasselbachers, as well as to try to find some modern Austrian Hasselbachers to help with the challenge.

Peter Hasselbacher
October 15, 2009