The Hasselbachers of Munchsteinach

Hazelbaker Family Trees
Missing Hazelbakers
Analysis of Historical Records of Peter Hazelbaker by Jill Foley
Map of Munchsteinach
18th Century Hasselbacher Residents
Schwalm Archives (24 MB pdf)
Peter's Birth Record 1759
Marriage of Peter's Parents 1753
Ancestors of Peter
Peter's Baptismal Font
in Münchsteinach
Portrait of Daniel Hazelbaker 1829-65
Hasselbachers of Münchsteinach
Earliest Hasselbachers
of Franconia
Balthazar the Woodworker
Family Home in Münchsteinach
Hazelbakers of Vermillion Co.
by Mark Hazelbaker
Hazelbakers of Washington Co. PA
About L.B. Kinne
Passport for L.P. Kinne
Oldest Census Records
by Greg Humphrey
Additional Census Records 1850-1880
by Greg Humphrey
Gravesite of Peter Hazelbaker
Re-visitation of location of Hasselbacher House of Münchsteinach
Presentation about the pre-American Peter Hasselbacher.
Military Records of Peter
Peter's First Year in Virginia.
Height of German Soldiers
Hasselbacher Drechslers of Münchsteinach
Three Baptismal Fonts
Georg Lang, Grandfather to Peter Hasselbacher
Allen Township Map and Hazelbakers
1802 German Newspaper naming Peter Hasselbacher
Peter's name in 1776 list of church communicants


The Hazelbaker family is as old as our nation and has grown large with it! A number of members have had a longstanding interest in their family history. This is in part due to the fact the American family founder, Peter Hasselbacher, was a Hessian soldier from Germany who was conscripted to fight for the British in the American Revolutionary War but and who stayed and started a large family in Pennsylvania. 

The stories of how the first Peter was conscripted and his early events in America have been retold many times. Not surprisingly there are variations. Information about his life and family in Germany (where my interest lies) are sketchy and inconsistent among sources. It is widely stated that he was conscripted from the city of Ansbach Germany which is about 45 km southwest of Nuremberg and south of Neustadt.  A detailed story of the physical conscription is available, but I am personally unaware of its actual documentation and have concerns about its veracity. Alternatively, other Hazelbaker sources assume he was conscripted from Anspach (spelled with a “p” but probably pronounced the same). Indeed there is a little town in modern Germany with that name near Frankfurt. (There is an ancient village nearby named Hasselbach, which made this alternative interesting to me.) It has also been stated that although conscripted from Ansbach and perhaps having lived there, that he was baptized in the town of Munchsteinach.  It was this fact that got my attention because Munchsteinach is a stone’s throw from the ancestral home of my German Hasselbacher family in Diespeck. I initially had trouble reconciling the geographic and historical details. I have finally resolved these discrepancies to my own satisfaction. While there may have been an understandable measure of confusion over alternate spellings, it would not have been necessary for Peter to live in the discrete town of Ansbach in order to "serve" in the broadly representative Ansbach-Bayreuth Regiment. [Addendum: There was a family connection in Ansbach at that time. 18 Jun 2010]

There is no doubt that a Peter Hasselbacher was a member of the Ansbach/ Bayreuth Regiment.  His name is present in lists of individual soldiers.  Although the town of Ansbach is geographically in what was once the administrative area of Ansbach/ Bayreuth, even a superficial review of lists of soldiers in this regiment makes it clear that its members came from a wider area than the town of Ansbach itself. In a list presented by a German researcher, we are told that Peter Hasselbacher was a member of this Regiment, that he was a “Gemeiner” (don’t know what that means), that he was last heard of (“abwesend”- absent) in June 1783, and that he was born in Munchsteinach. For this list I refer you to the excellent English-language website of Jochen Seidel of Germany for an example and further discussion of the Ansbach-Bayreuth Regiment and Hessian soldiers in general.

Neither is there any doubt that Peter was born in Munchsteinach. Hazelbaker historian and descendant, Imogene Sawvell Davis, recently showed me a copy of Peter's baptismal record from the church in Münchsteinach. A technically spectacular copy was provided by yet another descendant and is reproduced here. The baptismal record lists the place of birth as Münchsteinach, and date as 22 March 1759. The father is Johann Georg Hasselbacher and the mother, Helena Barbara. (Their marriage record is reproduced here.) Peter was named for his baptismal sponsor as was the custom. Some accounts of Peter's conscription refer to him as the (only) son of a widow. Since his father died in 1774 and his mother not until 1797, this could actually have been correct. However, he certainly could not have been the only son because at least two, and perhaps three brothers from the same mother were still living. Photographs of the wonderful baptismal font in the church of Münchsteinach were provided by Imogene.

I recently found additional hard evidence (attached in “Resources Menu”) of the Hasselbachers who lived in Munchsteinach in the 1700's including the turner Johann Georg and his son Johann Balthazar who was also a turner. (Balthazar produced some crosses for the church in Münchsteinach and surrounding villages.) Two different descendants of Johann Georg and Balthazar living today in Germany provided me with confirming evidence linking the soldier Peter as the son of Johann Georg and the brother of Balthazar. One source of information comes from detailed family history of the Purzners whose Family Tree is also listed in the “Interactive Family Tree” section of this website.  The Purzners also extracted their information directly from the old Church-Books.  Another descendant of Balthazar had even more comprehensive information from Münchsteinach and other churches going back further. Additionally, the extensive work by Fritz Hasselbacher and other students of the Exulanten has been available to me. I assemble and combine the relevant information from these sources and what I had collected myself into a “Interactive Family Tree” labeled “Hasselbachers of Franconia.”  A graphic of the Hasselbachers of Münchsteinach is available elsewhere on this site.

Although I am not one of the Hazelbakers, it has been my fond wish to tie our family lines together.  I am enjoying the friendship of several of you and if I could say we were family it would be even better.  For my own personal reasons, I wish to understand better how the Hasselbachers of Austria moved around the Franconia region.  Finding how the first Hasselbachers got to Munchsteinach has been a piece of that puzzle. In the initial release of this website, I speculated about several possibilities of how I (and my known cousins) might be related to the Hasselbachers of Münchsteinach and the Hazelbakers of America. That discussion is available here. There is no longer any doubt of the relationship, although the link is as far back in the history of the German Hasselbachers as it is possible to go!

Both family lines stem from Wolf Hasselbacher who was one of the original Exulanten from Austria. Peter the Soldier and the Münchsteinachers descend from the first marriage of Wolf to Kunigunda of Austria. I and my kind descend from the second marriage of Wolf to Agatha Vogelsberger of Franconia. Peter's grandfather was Christoph Hasselbacher, born 1673 in Unterschweinach but who died 1730 in Münchsteinach. Christoph was the second son of the first marriage of Johannes (Hans) Hasselbacher to Catharina Fuchsbauer. Johannes was the son of Wolf and Kunigunda. Wolf and Kunigunda are my 9G Grandparents. More detailed information about the intersection of the different family lines is presented elsewhere on this site in the "Hasselbachers of Franconia" Tree. Use the 'Interactive Family Trees' link on the home page; click 'Surnames', and choose whatever Tree you wish to examine. The default is to list people from all trees. The instructions to that part of my website are available in several languages. Additionally, a graphic family tree (.pdf) of the Earliest Hasselbachers in this region of Franconia is available here.

Looking at the bigger picture, it may now be possible to have a sense of how and why some of the family lines left the core ancestral villages for places like Münchsteinach or Stübach. I hope to be able to describe these movements and stories in more detail in the coming months and years. Help me if you can.

Peter Hasselbacher, (the Younger)
April, 2007

Addendum Aug 21, 2007
A modern Hazelbaker descendant, Mark Hazelbaker, recently returned from a trip to Münchsteinach and prepared a booklet for a family reunion.  It describes the religious and political forces that led to the immigration to Germany from Austria in the  mid-1600's as well as presenting us with some recent photos of modern Münchsteinach. PH

Addendum Sept 20, 2007
The accomplished and respected Hazelbaker genealogist, Jill Hazelbaker Foley, has graciously contributed her Analysis of Available Historical Records related to the original Peter Hasselbacher/ Hazelbaker. Jill has been a great source of help to me and others who are learning how to approach their family histories. When I learned that the sources of some of the oft-quoted text describing the early Peter had a connection to a possible Nigerian-type scam from the 19th Century, I thought that the rest of you would be interested too. Jill's commitment to sources and documentation will serve the rest of us well.  Copies of the original letters are posted with her analysis.  I am in hopes that those in possession of such older family documents will also contribute them for the rest of us.  The more puzzle pieces we add, the better the picture will look! PH

Addendum entered late! 4 July 2008
Between Jill and Greg Humphrey, the puzzle about who L.B. Kinne is has been solved! See the entry in the Left Sidebar above.

Addendum 7 May 2008
The Hazelbaker family historian, Greg Humphrey has contributed another wonderful piece of scholarship to the site.  He has been working on the early family history in Pennsylvania and collected and analyzed for us the Oldest US Hazelbaker Census Reports.  As is often the case, names are mispelled so that it is amazing that he was able to find what he did.  We encourage others of you to comment on this informationand consider contributions of your own. Contact me for how best to do that.   You should feel free to contact Greg directly if you wish.  PH.

Addendum 4 July 2008
Greg Humphrey expanded his analysis tyo include 1850 through 1880.

[I stopped adding to this narritive some time ago, but I still try to keep the sidebar links freshened.  Check the "What's New?" link on the home page where I am more careful to add new items.]