Oldest Hasselbacher and Hesselbacher Families in Illinois?

January 26th, 2013

While rummaging through various data dumps, I found an 1893 landowners plat from Thompson Township, Jo Daviees County IL showing separate farms owned by Adam Hasselbacher and John Hesselbacher. A little more structured digging turned up two earlier families headed by an Adam. Both were originally spelled Hasselbacher, but the spellings later diverged. According to information in an 1855 state census and the 1870 federal census, both these families would have arrived in Illinois before the family of John Peter Hasselbacher who immigrated to Peoria in 1857. Both these families had male heirs and the Hesselbachers lived on their land continuously through at least 1987.

I have not been able to place either of these families in the family trees of Germany or America. I have high hopes that someone will come to our rescue. It has happened before!

26 Jan 2013

Who Is The Rock Collector George Hasselbacher?

December 4th, 2012

Who knows who the rock collector George Hasselbacher is? For the past few months, a number of specimens collected by George and labeled with his name have been put up for sale on eBay. I contacted the seller, but he knew nothing about George. Surely one of you out there can flesh out the story for us. Contact me privately.

Newly Discovered Hasselbacher Document from Germany in 1802.

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

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

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 hasselbacher.org website.

Peter, 20 May 2012

I’m still here!

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

Do you know Ida M. Hazelbaker of Ohio?

February 1st, 2012

One of our readers informs us that the Ohio Unclaimed Funds website lists Ida M. Hazelbaker as having unclaimed funds in the Citizens National bank of Ripley, OH. The reader is a Great-niece of Ida and thinks she lived in the Cincinnati area. Ida is thought to have had a daughter (and other descendants?) who would be entitled to those funds.

If any of this rings a bell, it is suggested that you visit the Ohio website and process a claim.

The Gravesite of Peter Hasselbacher/ Hazelbaker: Video & Photos.

November 22nd, 2011

Last Spring I visited Allen Township in Pennsylvania to get the lay of the land. I had an opportunity to visit the cemetery on the old Spahr farm where the patriarch of the Hazelbaker clan was buried in 1800. It is an absolutely gorgeous setting, but the graveyard itself is under threat. I posted some video on YouTube. Take a look here.

Peter Hasselbacher 2011

Adding More Original Records and Documents

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

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

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. Read the rest of this entry »