Archive for the ‘Austria’ Category

Haselbachers of Burgenland, Austria

Monday, May 6th, 2013

burgenland_mapMy last addition to the website identified a new Haselbacher (with one S) family that emigrated to New York City from Austria in 1921, retiring further upstate, and to Connecticut. A little more sleuthing on the Internet turned up additional information relevant to the themes we have been developing.

• Ferdinand and his wife Teresa emigrated from that furthest eastern part of Austria just south of Vienna known today as “Burgenland.” On the border of Eastern and Central Europe, it has a complicated political history. Following the 30 years war, it also received many Protestant religious refugees from resurgent Catholic Austria.

• I originally could not identify where in Austria Ferdinand and Teresa came from, but I found them! A neat little piece of detective work if I say so. The three villages mentioned in the Ferdinand Hasselbacher’s passenger list, Poksdorf (today Bocksdorf), St Michaels, and Strem are strung along a road like beads, essentially within walking distance. The town of Neustadt is almost certainly Wiener Neustadt, just to the north.

• Between the villages of Pocksdorf and St. Michael’s, lies the stream Hasselbacher. There were several Hasselbacher (and Hanzl) families living in Saint Michaels. Unless they came from elsewhere, such as central Austria, it is easy to imagine how they got their name. On the other hands, the stream may have been named after the family! I found at least one example of this latter possibility in my ancestral part of Germany.

• Many immigrants from Burgenland came to America, peaking around 1921. The immigration of large numbers of people from a relatively small area predictably has led to interest groups here in America. I found an amazing cooperative Burgenland family history website containing a wealth of information. The website even contains information about the families of Ferdinand and Teresa!

• It took no time at all for me to connect with living descendants of Ferdinand and Teresa. I hope to learn more from them about the circumstances surrounding their coming to America. Their story helps illuminate my story – our story.

Pinning down the geographic origins of this family has enabled me to weave in additional, otherwise seemingly isolated Hasselbacher emigrants. Keep an eye on the “What’s New” link on the home page or here for further details about this and other discoveries.

Gosh, this is great fun!


How the Hasselbachers got their name.

Friday, October 16th, 2009

I have speculated elsewhere on the Hasselbacher Family Website about how we got our name. I think we continue to get closer to having a satisfactory answer to this question. Once we learned that we came from Gresten, Austria, an obvious geographic possibility presented itself. The farms on which the late 16th and early 17th century Hasselbachers lived were in or near the headwaters of the Haselbach, and in the upper reaches of the Haselgraben carved out by that brook. Indeed, there was and still exists a farm in exactly that area named Haselbach. Because there was a precedent elsewhere in Europe that when last names were given out some people took the name of the farm on which they lived, it seems very reasonable to assume that this occurred for our family in Gresten.

I recently found a document at the GFF in Nürnberg that puts this assumption on a more scholarly basis. The 20th Century person with the best understanding of the names and places of old Gresten came to the same conclusion. Take a look at the document and additional discussion.

Peter Hasselbacher, Oct 16, 2009

Hasselbachers Left Behind!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Until a few weeks ago, I thought all the Hasselbachers of Gresten participated the Counter-Reformation Exodus from Austria to the Aischgrund of Mittelfranconia. Of course we always knew that at least one Hasselbacher in the Aischgrund (Valley of the River Aisch) came from villages nearby Gresten, but until this summer it was not possible to attempt any family connections to modern Haselbachers living elsewhere in Austria.

During an additional study of Gresten church books from the 18th century I found at least one Haselbacher who remained in Gresten. His name was Adam and I present his history in the Hasselbacher Family Website.