Archive for May, 2013

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!