Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Newly Discovered Hasselbacher Document from Germany in 1802.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Peter Hasselbacher of Münchsteinach and Peter Hasselbacher of Virginia are one and the same person.

I would like to imagine it was something more than chance, that the founding patriarchs of three of the major American branches of the Hasselbacher family who came from Germany were named Peter. There was (Johann) Peter Hasselbacher of Puschendorf who settled in Peoria, Illinois; (Johann) Peter Hasselbacher of Diespeck who settled in Red Cloud, Nebraska; and of course, the Peter Hasselbacher who came to fight for the British in the American Revolutionary War but who stayed to father the largest branch of the Hasselbacher family, the Hazelbakers. There may even be a Wolfgang Peter Hasselbacher who was a tailor in New York City in the middle 1800s whose descendants are lost to me. My father, who was born in Germany, was not named Peter but I hope to have done my part to carry on the family name as a first generation American Hasselbacher.

I also like to think that one of of the things that I have helped contribute is the European history of the Peter Hasselbacher who became the first Hazelbaker, and to make the connection with other branches of the Hasselbacher family in America and Germany.. The family lore of the Hazelbakers stated that their Peter was conscripted from Ansbach, Germany. A birth record of a Peter Hasselbacher of the right age had been discovered in the church books of Münchsteinach, Germany, but there was no known contemporaneous document linking that rural boy to the soldier. I speculated that there may have been some confusion due to the fact that the soldier Peter’s military unit was the Ansbach-Bayreuth Regiment assembled by the Margrave in whose domain both Ansbach and Münchsteinach lay. That the two Peters were probably the same person was not an unreasonable assumption. There was neither a marriage record nor death record for a Peter in Münchsteinach (although a younger Peter who would have been a nephew was born later.) As a second son, it would have been common for our Peter to have had to move elsewhere to make his living. When I discovered that Peter of Münchsteinach had Hasselbacher cousins in Ansbach about the time of the war, I realized that I needed to keep an open mind. Regardless of where he lived at the time of conscription, I just found a contemporaneous official document that proves the two Peters are one and the same!

One of the universal truisms that has revealed itself to me as an amateur family historian, is that the smallest of clues from unexpected places will open doors that one never knew even existed. So it turned out to be for this story which you can read here. I want to use this opportunity to urge you again to add your two cents (or more) to this wonderful family history of ours.

Peter Hasselbacher
December 4, 2012

Adding More Original Records and Documents

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Over the past few years I have accumulated old records faster than I have been able to process them. I am trying to catch up, particularly for those in my direct family line. Take a look at the format I have been using. I created a page for each person using that persons birth/ baptism record. I transcribe the record into modern German the best I can (if no “professional” transcription is available) and then translate it into English. I then make comments about the physical record itself and what I think it might tell us about the actual lives of the family involved. I use this birth record page as a place to put links to other records such as marriage, death, and civil records. I have been suing actual photographs of the church books whenever I can. I do not think these will be found anywhere else in the world!

Because the number of people will be very large, I have set up interactive “box-chart” family trees such that if you click on a given box, you will go to the individual pages for that person. I started with the family of Johan Georg Hasselbacher of Diespeck both because he is my direct ancestor from the 1700s, and that of the Cincinnati Hasselbachers who I recently found.

What do you think? Can you add to any of my interpretations?

[Addendum Nov 22] I have entered several dozen records to this part of the family tree including several who came to America. Take a look. PH

Peter Hasselbacher Nov 16, 2011

The Römhilds of Großbreitenbach

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Until a few years ago, I knew not even the name of my maternal Great-Great Grandfather. He was one of the figurative “Brick Walls” genealogists fear. I made a major break-through last month when I discovered the village in Germany from which he emigrated in 1854. As is usually the case, once you can identify the ancestral village, a hundred years or more of records and information pours fourth– as it did for me last month. I also met some wonderful new cousins. As an added bonus, I even found a photograph portrait of Gustav as a grown man that had been sitting in an obscure book on a shelf for over 130 years. (It is the only known image of him.)

You can follow my adventures and watch the process of analyzing old German church books as I publish my findings on the Hasselbacher Website.

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…)

The Death of Paulus the Elder, 1750

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I just posted the first of several original documents recovered during my recent trip to Germany. It is the original burial record of Paulus Hasselbacher and one I have been coveting for some time. It carries the weight of a genuine historical document and gives an insight into the village clout of even the reformed church of Germany in those times. I collected and translated a considerable body of information about this prominent ancestor of many of us and will present it in detail soon. For now, I hope you will share my reverence for such original documents that have the power to connect us with our past in an unparalleled ways.

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…)

Further Adventures in Münchsteinach

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Although I personally am not a son of Münchsteinach, my Hazelbaker friends in America are, as are some of my new relatives in Germany. Therefore, whenever I return to the Aischgrund (the plain of the river Aisch in which our little villages lie) I make it a point to visit. Even when I come with a game-plan, I generally stumble on something unexpected. After all, that is what an adventure is all about. My visit in October 2010 was no different– that is to say, full of surprises. (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.

WWI Military Records from Germany

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

I found a source for the muster records and other military records for German soldiers in this war. Not all are immediately available to me. I was able to identify at least two dozen records for members of the families Hasselbacher, Bayerl, and Gnugesser. Records for cannoneers are not yet available. I await these anxiously. I have my grandfather’s WWI diary, but cannot tell where he fought before he was bombed from an airplane-perhaps a first in Sept 1914. You can see an introduction and some of the records here.

These military records have some basic family information including information about parents andd spouses. I think they will be useful to tie up some loose ends such as the Hasselbachers of Eschenbach and Markt Erlbach.

Addendum: The remainder of the records are now on-line including my grandfather’s. They tell exactly where and when he fought, where he was wounded, and what he did after.

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!)