Abraham van Hellsing is one of the main characters in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. He appears in the manga and anime series Hellsing as the founder and one of the people who had captured Alucard. He is a Dutch doctor with a wide range of interests and accomplishments, partly attested by the string of letters that follows his name: "M.D., D.Ph., D.Litt., etc., etc." The character is best known as a vampire hunter, and the arch-enemy of Count Dracula. He is an ancestor of Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing.
Abraham was born into a Catholic Dutch family in the mid 1800s. As he came into adulthood he married and settled down to start a family as he studied several fields of science, medicine, physics, and psychology. His family was wracked with tragedy when Van Helsing's only son passed away. The passing drove his wife mad to the point that she became dead to Abraham, yet his status as a devout Catholic prevented him from divorcing her. Abraham continued his academic studies to receive degrees and doctorates in several fields including medicine, philosophy, and scientific study. In the course of his career, Van Helsing became a professor and took on students. Among these students is a John Seward who would one day become a doctor himself. During an incident involving a knife that had come into contact with gangrene, Van Helsing was cut and poisoned by it. Thinking quick, Seward sucked the poison out and saved Abraham, a favor he wouldn't soon forget.
Events of Bram Stoker's Dracula
When the woman Seward cared most about, Lucy Westenra fell ill with a mysterious disease, Seward sent a telegram to Van Helsing requesting his knowledge of rare and obscure diseases to help cure her. Remembering his debt, Abraham made great haste in coming to their aid. Upon arriving, Van Helsing was instantly able to see Lucy's ailment was that of a Vampire's bite, but wary that Seward and his companions would find it crazy, he refused to immediately tell them his diagnosis. Van Helsing had been learning about the Vampire for quite a while, though the field of study is difficult to grasp for those who have no first-hand experience with them. In an effort to save Lucy, Abraham attempted several blood transfusions on the girl, but their attempts to save her were appearing for naught. Abraham then left for Amsterdam giving them explicit instructions to watch over Lucy and her family. Instructions that never arrived with those whom they belonged.
Upon returning, he found that Lucy had passed away from a wolf attack in the middle of the night, and had been buried. Despite the apparent death and burial however, several reports began to come in of a beautiful woman matching Lucy's description attacking innocents in the night. Finally realizing he couldn't hide the truth any longer, Van Helsing confided in Seward, and Lucy's other suitors Quincy Morris and Arthur Holmwood about the Vampire's curse and that their dear Lucy is now among the undead. The men soon found Lucy and, after a heated confrontation succeeded in killing her with a beheading, allowing Lucy to finally rest. At that point, Jonathan Harker joined the entourage after barely surviving an encounter with their previously unknown enemy. Now knowing his name, Count Dracula, the group set out to destroy the vampire once and for all.
Now in London, the horrid Count went to accomplish one of his goals, to take Mina Harker for himself. Having seen a photograph of her and Jonathan, Dracula found he desired her, and in the middle of the night he succeeded in biting her. He proceeded to drink from her and feed to her his own blood, making her into a vampire as well, but bonding her to himself as his servant Vampire. Knowing time is short, and the only way to save Mina is to defeat Dracula, Van Helsing lead a frantic search for the Count. Due to her telepathic link to the No-Life King, they were able to use Mina to trace Dracula's steps, finally finding his whereabouts after putting her into a hypnotic state.
Events of Hellsing
The group finally followed the count back to his castle and confronted him for a battle just before dawn. After a fierce fight, Van Helsing cornered the count and was able to drive a stake through the No-Life King, defeating the Count by the light of the coming dawn. The wafer marks left Mina's flesh, a fact that Van Helsing took the opportunity to shout at the disgraced vampire. However Abraham decided not to deliver the finishing blow to his felled foe, instead taking Dracula's now powerless form with him back to England.
The events of Abraham's life after defeating Dracula are unknown, but it is commonly known that he began research to tame his one-time enemy. Through science and possibly some form of sorcery, Van Helsing succeeded at his task and turned the once proud Count into a servant whom his family would later re-dub Alucard. The rest of Abraham's life is mostly unknown, though it is assumed that he settled down and had at least one other child.
Later by Van Helsing's own hand or the actions of his child, an organization was established in England to research and combat these occult and demonic threats to humanity, such as the Vampire. At some unknown point, Abraham's offspring converted to Anglicanism, and had the family name Anglicized as Hellsing. The Organization would eventually take on this name as well, and become officially sanctioned by England and the Church of England.
It is unknown if the child of Van Helsing himself became the father of two boys, Arthur and Richard Hellsing, or if Arthur and Richard were Van Helsing's grandchildren. As another generation between Arthur and Abraham would explain the change in name and Religion more clearly. However, if a middle generation did exist, when this unknown Hellsing either retired or died, the reins of the organization were passed to the eldest child of Abraham.
Appearance in the manga
The first time he appeared in one of Alucard´s dreams, Van Helsing made many allusions to Dracula when referring to Alucard e.g. "So what are you going to do now, No Life King?". At the end of this dream, Alucard seems to cry blood. The second time Van Helsing appeared as a silhouette after Alucard transforms into the "Count", this last one is the most direct reference to the novel in the manga, since this time besides Van Helsing, Alucard mentions Quincey Morris, Arthur Holmwood and Dr. Seward, although, mysteriously, not Jonathan Harker as it is speculated that in this version Dracula killed him. He appeared for a third time in a flashback showing Alucard's previous deaths.