Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Further Discussion of What Our Name Means: No Rabbit Need Apply

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I thought I had a handle on what our name, Hasselbacher and its variants, meant. We are peoples who stem from places named Haselbach or Hasselbach. The common thread which gives our name its meaning is a brook or stream named the Haselbach, and the presence of Hazelnut bushes. My scientific theory took a hit when I found the Wappen or insignia of a volunteer firefighter’s corps in Haselbach near Pfaffroda. It contained a rabbit jumping over a brook– the embarassment of my childhood revived!

As it happens, this exception proves the rule. The rabbit is not a traditional part of the logo of the village. Everyone in town assumes my expected explanation: the brook that runs through both the town and the hazelnut bushes on its banks.

Learn more about this interesting story on the website.

Peter, 20 May 2012

I’m still here!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I apologize if it seems I have abandoned the site. Since last November, I became busy with a local hospital merger controversy and put much time into my Health Policy Blog. None the less, I continued a number of projects and hope to start placing the material on this website.

    • I translated quite a few old church records from Diespeck. Lots more to do. (Surely one of you out there can read the old German and help!
    • I found old records from Burghaslach, a pivotal village in the migration of the Hasselbachers in the Aischgrund.
    • I discovered a Jewish Family Hasselbacher from the German Hasselbacher heartland and the touching story of how they got their name.
    • I discovered new branches of the Hasselbachers from Leutershauesn and Mühlhausen.
    • I worked with a historian from Münchsteinach who has written about the history of the church in that village that sponsors the largest number of Hasselbachers in America.
    • I looked further into the origin and meaning of our name and demonstrated that a possible exception proved the rule.

Give me a few weeks to update all the information. I will notify you in the “What’s New” link on the home page, or in this Blog.

April 4, 2012

Peter’s Trip to Germany: Aug-Sep 2011

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

It was a wonderful trip. I feared I had run out of things to find but that was not the case. As usual, it was the unexpected things that were the best. Among the highlights are:

Important brick wall breached. I found my Great-Great Grandfather’s birthplace in Großbreitenbach. With it came a photograph, four more generations back, and new cousins.

Visited the archives in Bamberg only to find everyone away on holiday for the month of August but still came away with more information from my historian friend who lives there.

Found a new Hasselbacher family in Leutershausen whose connections are back through the Hasselbachers of Ansbach, Rehweiler, Burghaslach, and Stübach.

Found the Zinngießermeister Johann Friedrich Hasselbacher of Leutershausen and his Zinngießer son Johann Leonhard who trained in Nürnberg when his father died.

Found the Jewish Hasselbacher family of Vestensbergsgreuth. A simultaneously wonderful and tragic story. Members of this family emigrated to America. (more…)

Hasselbacher Family Website Taking Off

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Since the creation of this website, it has been viewed by a progressively increasing number of people. In the past few months, however, things have really taken off. In fact, discrete page views doubled from January to February 2011 to well over 110,000 discrete page views monthly! Of course a single viewer will look at multiple pages so the number of unique viewers is smaller. Nonetheless I am very pleased.

The majority of viewers arrive as the result of a Google search. Since we are well indexed by Google, this is not a surprise. If I make a change in the website, Google reflects the change within the day. Although I suspect the majority of the traffic reflects interest by the greater Hasselbacher community, there is a tremendous amount of information behind the homepage about the other branches of my family, and indeed the hundreds of other maternal lines. Google appears to be able to see details of the public family tree. There is also an increasing amount of information about geographic factors.

This amount of traffic inevitably makes me think differently when I receive suggestions from Google to monetize the site by allowing them to place advertisements. I did not start this website to make money. However there are very real costs involved in assembling the information and keeping it on the Internet. What are your thoughts about this possibility?

Thank you for your support and contributions over these past four years.

Navigation and Search on

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

I started the parent website ( for this Blog with absolutely no knowledge of how to code or structure a website. At first there were only a few pages and I gave little thought to a consistent method of navigation. Frankly, I’m still not sure what I should do. The pages on the site are heavily linked to each other and I usually try to have a link open in a separate window so that your place among the documents is not lost. I have relied on the “What’s New” link on the homepage, and to a less consistent extent on this blog to notify people when something new has been added or if there has been an extensive edit. (more…)

Back from Germany: A Great Trip

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I just got back from my seventh trip to Germany since 2005. As I build on the knowledge and relationships of previous trips, they just keep getting better and better. I had a couple of projects I hoped would keep me busy, and indeed some of them bore fruit. However it is always the unexpected opportunities that provide the magic of this hobby of ours.

I visited the area in southern Bavaria near Augsburg where my grandmother’s family lived as early as 1700. I stood in the farmyards in which they lived and died. The families living in those places today were wonderful to me and are beginning to feel like family in their own right. (more…)

The Best Beer Ever; and how we got our name, continued

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Early in my search for the oldest Hasselbachers, I stopped in an aptly named village in southern Germany and drank a special beer in excellent company. As I continue to digest the experience even today, my understanding of how we got our name is solidified. Additionally, just as one might assume there are other planets in the universe harboring life, so I must concede that someday I will find a Hasselbacher who is not related to us. Read about the episode here, and learn about the best beer I ever tasted.

Fish, Animal, or Plant– Who are we?

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

What does our name Hasselbacher mean? We have a pretty good idea how we got our name, but what does it actually mean? Are we wild boar killers? Fuzzy bunnies? Cold-blooded swimmers? Or non-sentient living things?

I take my best shot at an answer here. What do you think?

Addendum: My initial wish to be a wild boar hunter may have some grounding!

Individual Historical Summary for Wolff Hasselbacher

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I am experimenting with formats for adding narrative summaries of known information about individuals. This will also allow me to link up documents and information scattered throughout the site. I am not sure I have figured out the best way yet. I started with Wolff Hasselbacher, my 9th Great-Grandfather, and an ancestor of the vast majority of all known modern Hasselbachers. It is he, for example, that ties together what I call the Illinois, New Jersey, & Nebraska Hasselbachers; and the Hazelbakers.

This iteration was prepared with Omni-Outliner which is as it sounds, an outlining program that I like for organizing my thoughts. The problem is to elegantly turn its output into something that looks good in the HTML language of the web and for which the code is not so complex that I cannot understand and modify it. I do not think I am there yet, but it is a start. Expect to see a fair amount of non-uniformity for a while. (But you already are used to that, aren’t you!)