Village of Oberrossbach and Nearby Communities in 2008

The earliest Hasselbachers to Franconia probably first settled in Unterschweinach and Oberrossbach (or Oberroßbach). These villages are basically on different sides of the same small hill. The Rossbach is the tiny creek that flows through the two villages of that name. (Ross translates to “horse. “Ober-” and “Unter-” refer respectively to an Upper or Lower location.) The Rossbach soon joins the Schweinebach which in turn joins the Aisch river just below Birkenfeld and above Neustadt an der Aisch. (View detailed map in separate window.)

Just for fun, here is a crest from a different Oberrossbach in the Rhineland. It suggests that the name does represent horse and brook!

The villages of Unterschweinach and Oberschweinach are on the Schweinachbach. This brook joins the Schweinebach downstream from the latter’s junction with the Rossbach.

The apparent word root of Scheweinach, Schweinachbach, and Schweinebach (schwein) translates to pig or swine but I do not know if the animal is being referred to in the village and brook names. I could use some help from a true German language scholar!

A high resolution topographic map is available here. Here also is a wide aerial view of the area courtesy of Google Map.

My new friend and historical guide to the area, Herr Dietrich Heber, allowed me to copy this postcard from his extensive collection. It shows images from Oberrossbach and I would guess it shows the village as it was around 1900. On my trip to Franconia in April 2007, I took many photos of the modern village. I think I found the locations of the two images on the right side of the postcard, although not from exactly the same viewpoint. (I will try to do better this April.) I did not find photos of the images on the left side, but will ask my local experts for help. I have uploaded a segment of video, a selection of photographs, and have in mind some additional narrated slideshows. You will see the above name "Johann Billner" on one of the barns in the video.

The village looks like it is in a healthy condition. It remains decidedly agricultural with cow barns and horses on either side of the main street. The village itself is surrounded with working fields. I enjoyed my morning coffee in a wonderful guesthouse surrounded by the pleasant sounds and smells of the countryside. One truly gets a sense of their roots in places like this and I heartedly recommend a visit. Contact me for details.

Below is a page from a 1938 Street Book. A few of the names are familiar, but none of my known family. In 1671, my 9G Grandfather Wolf Hasselbacher who then lived in Unterschweinach, married a widow, Agatha Vogel, who lived in Oberrossbach.  Wolf died in Oberrossbach just three years later but not before having a son, Paulus, who is my 8G Grandfather.  Thus is can be said that I am an Oberroßbacher as well as a Hasselbacher!

Other Villages: Unterrossbach and Unterschweinach.

My recollection is that Wolf Hasselbacher and some of his family were also listed as having lived in the two adjacent villages above. I will be more specific when I display the old church records. In the meantime, it was easy to visit these places. Unterrossbach is immediately adjacent to its upper sister- village. The portion of town along the creek bottom appears to better older; the part that is built on the side of the ridge appears more contemporary (although I have not had as much opportunity to explore). It appears to be more of a residential community than Oberrossbach: I did not hear any cows! I have posted some photographs of Unterrossbach here.

Unterschweinach is more weather-beaten and not in as good repair as its sisters. I only passed through once so far, and admittedly do not know much about it. With a better command of the language and a bicycle I hope to rectify that. There was a church or old civic building in the village that looked very interesting. Photographs of Unterschweinach are posted here.

Peter Hasselbacher
Jan 10, 2008.  Edited 18 Nov 2009