Newly Discovered Hasselbacher Document from Germany in 1802.

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

2 Responses to “Newly Discovered Hasselbacher Document from Germany in 1802.”

  1. Imogene Sawvell Davis says:

    I think if you will look at the 1790 census for Virginia – you will note a Peter
    Hassel – Since the Scot-Irish usually did the paper work, they did not always understand what the Germans in their broken languate were saying.

  2. Anne Richardson says:

    Excellent find Peter!

    Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to the family genealogy!


Leave a Reply