Hasselbachers from Austria


The Earliest Hasselbachers

The earliest Hasselbachers to the region of Mittel-Franconia were Exulanten from Austria. The Exulanten were protestant religious refugees from Austria during the Counter Reformation. The historical setting was the end of the Thirty-Years War and the area of Germany where they would eventually settle had been devastated and literally depopulated by the direct effects of war, and by crop failure and disease. The Lords of the Land were quite happy to receive those fleeing from Austria and many settled there. The First Hasselbachers appear to have arrived in 1655 (Johann & Maria). Three brothers, the sons of Steffan and Anna, came with their families shortly thereafter (and apparently not all at once). They all settled in a very small geographic area surrounding Neustadt am Aisch and peopled not only the region with Hasselbachers, but America as well. While I do not expect the fact to hold up too much longer, every Hasselbacher I have found so far in the USA derives from these families. For the record, one of these Exulanten, Wolf Hasselbacher and his second wife, Agatha, were my 9x Grandparents.

I obtained the information on these pages from several sources. The first was church and family data collected by the late Fritz Hasselbacher and provided to me by his relatives living today in Germany. I am still translating and filling in with this material. We all owe a great debt to Fritz. The Hasselbacher Family will never forget him. I hope to honor him appropriately elsewhere on this website.

A second major source is a remarkable book that catalogs the Exulanten of Franconia. This massive tome is titled, "Exulanten aus der nieder-österreichischen Eisenwurzen in Franken" by Manfred Enzer and Eberhard Krauß, Nürnberg 2005.  I neither read nor speak German (yet) so I have much to learn, but I can understand the genealogical listings, town names, occupations, and the like. I abstract all that I could for you here. This resource also provides the histories of other Exulanten families that our ancestors married into.  We carry more than Hasselbacher genes alone!

During several visits over the past three years, I personally collected additional primary church and historical records in Germany.  I found several distant German relatives who had other pieces of the puzzle and who had collected (and translated) other church records. I express my gratitude in advance to those who helped, including some who do not wish to be identified. I have their permission to place their materials on this website along with my own and will continue to do that.

I placed almost all the names of these Austrian-German Hasselbacher ancestors in databases that can be accessed from the homepage of this site. My intent is to place them all there. With the exception of Johann and Maria (mentioned above) and their daughters, all are documented members of the same family. (As detailed elsewhere in this site, the large Hazelbaker family of the USA is also descended from this clan.)

See this page for a discussion of the village of Gresten, Austria.

[Addendum 1/14/08. I added a 7 min audio/visual presentation summarizing the elements of the exile from Austria.]

Peter Hasselbacher
Louisville, KY
Jan 24, 2007. Revised June 18, 2007. Addendum Jan 14, 2008.