I inherited the family photographs of Conrad and Lena Hasselbacher, and Conrad’s sister Barbara.  These included some wonderful old photos from Germany from the late 1800’s to the 1950’s.  Because they were stored on this side of the Atlantic, the photos survived the destruction of war.  With the help of relatives in Germany, I have been able to identify many of the people and places in the photographs. I have enjoyed restoring these photos to descendants who did know that they existed.  However, some of the oldest images remain puzzles. I have a few photos left that have been difficult to identify I am hoping that viewers like you will be able to help.  Who knows, these might be your ancestors too.

Please share your insights about the photos with me, even if you cannot make any specific identification. Please show the photos to other relatives or experts.  A pdf document containing this series of photos will be made available for downloading. If you wish to examine a high resolution image, contact me.

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.

  Photos #1 & 2.  This pair of photos was taken around 1900. I suspect they were taken in Nürnberg and in the open air rather than a photographers studio. (Is this the same location as Photo #5 taken years later?)

The man with the number 1 over his head is my Great-Grandfather Johann Hasselbacher.  The boy behind him with the hat is my Grandfather Conrad, and the other small boy is his brother Michael.  The girl labeled #1 is Conrad and Michael’s sister Babetta (Barbara) and behind her(#2) is my Great-Grandmother Maria.  Conrad and Michael were born in 1893 and 1894 respectively and Babetta in 1891 so I judge the date to be very near 1900.

What do you photographic historians out there make of the setting, costumes, or possible occasion?  What can be learned?  These people could be friends, neighbors, fellow congregation members, or even family!

Photos # 3 & 4.   This pair are the most intriguing to me.  The date is after 1912 when Conrad's sister Barbara had left for America but before the War in 1914.  I understand that the note on the back of one of them is a birthday greeting to Barbara from her mother. (Can anyone give a translation for me?) The photo has a rustic look to the location so I wonder if it might have been taken in the ancestral village of Diespeck. 

The labeled people are my grandfather Conrad and his parents. I do not recognize anyone else. My heart aches to think that some of them might be Hasselbachers of Franconia that I will never be able to name.

[October 2010]
My cousin Dieter helped me translate this letter from my Great-Grandmother Maria Hasselbacher to her daughter Barbara in America.

4ten Okt.
Zu deinem 22d Geburtstage senden wir Dir alle die hertl. Glück - Segenswünsche.   Der lb. Gott möge dich behüten auf allen Deinen Wegen. Gehst du auch zur Kirche? und vergisst Du mich dass beten? Gott gebe es.  Auf Tantes Brief warten wir Nöch heute!

4th of October.
For your 22nd birthday we send you all our heartfelt wishes and blessings. The Lord God may keep thee in all thy ways. Do you go to church? And do you pray? God grant it.   For our aunt's letter, we are still waiting!

Daughter Barbara Hasselbacher born Gossmannsdorf, 4 Oct 1891. Her 22d birthday would have been in 1913, one year to the month after she immigrated to New York. This card allows us to date the photo to about the same time. My Grandfather Konrad (marked with the 'x') would have been 20. One year later he was in the hospital with injuries suffered in the opening month of WWI.

I have shown these two group photos to everyone in Diespeck that I could.  I am told by local historians that the oldest people in the village do not recognize anyone.  (A single person told me he recognized one person, but I do not know how confident I can be about this identification.)

Photo #5.  This photo was taken after WWI.  My Grandparents Conrad and Lena Hasselbacher are at the very end of the fourth row back on the left side of the image. She has a white blouse with a black over-shirt. I suspect this is some social event, perhaps related to the singing society that was such an important part of their lives. It is likely Nürnberg, but they did travel to sing in other places.


Photo #6.  As best I can read the writing on the back, this is titled: Aurflug-Warrenbach 1932.  From right to left, the three women labeled with a pencil mark are my Great Aunt Barbara who was visiting Germany, her mother Maria, and Michael Hasselbacher's wife Dorothea (who was also the sister of Lena.  (Two sisters married two brothers.)  The two young girls in the front middle are daughters of Dorothea: Marianne and Sybille. I know nothing else about this picture.  A relative in Neustadt thought the two young boys in the front row may have been related, but who died in WWII.

Photos #7 & 8. Easter in Kleinhöbing, 1929.

This photo is another potential blockbuster for family historians.  It was taken in Kleinhöbing, Germany in 1929.  It appears to celebrate the 100th birthday of the individual in the white apron.  The ages of two other men are written on the negative.  My Great-Grandfather Johann Hasselbacher is identified in both pictures.  I am again uncertain if this is a family group or of the Franconian singing society that was so important to my family. Some of the men appear to be wearing the lapel pin of the society.  This photo was important enough to my family that a copy was sent to Conrad in America where it was displayed shortly after it was taken.

Kleinhöbing is a village between Nürnberg and Munich.  I am not aware of any other family connection.  I bet that the newspaper archives of Kleinhobing would have mention of the 100th birthday of someone in the spring of 1929.  Perhaps the building in the photo can be identified.  I need help with this one.

Mystery Solved! I have identified the old man, the place, and the occasion. He was the "oldest man in Germany" at that time. Johann and his singing society sang for the occasion. Details to follow.

Photo #9.  Is this my Great-Great-Grandfather? One of his sons?
I would like to believe that this is a portrait of my Great-Great-Grandfather Johann Conrad Hasselbacher (1842 to 1903) like his father before him, a tailor of Diespeck.  I may never know.  My Great-Grandfather Johann was the oldest son of Johann Conrad who had two additional surviving sons by a second wife: Sebastian in 1881 and Leonhard Georg in 1892. I showed this photo to a surviving daughter of Sebastian who did not recognize it. (I have two other photos of Sebastian.)  Leonhard became a policeman in Münich and then in Würzberg where he lived on Domestrasse.  I have a single photo i think is Leonhard Georg taken during WWI.  I suspect that he would be too young to be the man in the photograph but there may be a resemblance. I showed the photo to someone who knew Leonhard as an adult in the 1950s and she did not recognize it. Can anyone help me estimate the date of the portrait which was taken in Nürnberg? At the very least, Johann Conrad was in Nürnberg in 1918 for the marriage of his son.

Photo #10.  This one is certainly a singing society event as suggested by the sign inset.  My grandmother, Lena is at the base of the flagpole and Conrad is nest to her.  Conrad's brother Michael is in front of him. My Great Grandfather johann is on the end of the front row with the briefcase.

The photo had to have been taken before 1923 when Conrad left for America.


Photo # 11.  This one is mostly for fun.  It was taken in 1920.  The man in the front row with a small boy in his lap is my grandfather with my father.  My grandfather carried in his wallet a smaller photo taken that same day of himself and his son until the day he died.  The little girl next to them might be my father's cousin Marianne.

Photo #12.  I have over a dozen photos of my grandfather and other family members in WWI.  Together with his wartime diary, they tell a fascinating story that I will put on these pages elsewhere. Someone saw this photo and identified where it was taken! Click the photo for details.


Photo #13. I found this image of a postcard photograph listed on eBay but was not able to purchase it (I tried!). The information provided by the seller describes a photo of Renate Hasselbacher (on the right) taken with her friend Käte Voss in 1924. Renate lived in Berlin and spent summer holidays with her friend's family in Dresden. Käte was killed in Auschwitz in 1943. I know nothing else about these families.
Sept 2008

Photo #14.  A photo of my grandfather, his fiance Lina, and her two sisters on a bridge near Nürnberg. Conrad is still in uniform so it is around 1916.  The identities of the people were not a mystery, but I searched long and hard to find the location of the photograph.  In 2010, I think I got lucky. Take a look for my best interpretation.