Arslanian Family History
Where in Armenia did they live?
FOR SARKIS ARSLANIAN B, VENEZUELAN, PANAMA, EEUU, LONDON, ESPAÑA, BARASIL, ARGENTINAS, INDUSTRIAL DE ALIMENTOS A NIVEL MUNDIAL, ECONOMIA, COMERCIO INTERNACINAL





The former Ottoman Empire vilayets (provinces) of Van, Bitlis, Erzerum, Diarbekir, Kharput (Harput), and Sivas comprised the heart of western Armenia. Where in this area did they live before they were killed in the genocide or emigrated elsewhere (primarily to the USA, France, and England) in the first two decades of the 20th century? The answer to this question is not simple. A review of my sources reveals the confusion about exactly what village(s) or town(s) they lived in. My primary sources were interviews and correspondence from Arslanian relatives who were born in Armenia and survived the genocide, as well as original documents such as manifests (passenger lists) for ships entering Ellis Island (in New York, USA), Social Security applications, WWI draft registration, etc.

Sergevil / Dersim

"We were all born velege of SERGAVILL. State of ERZEROM . . . Arslan was my grandfathers father. thy com from State of Dersam" [Correspondence from Kevork "George" Arslanian [#000-212] to Mark Arslan, 23 June 1971]
Sergevil is located at 39° 26' N 38° 43' E in present-day Erzincan province, Turkey. It was in the far western part of the former Ottoman Empire vilayet of Erzerum, about 60 miles southwest of the city of Erzincan. Dersim was a sanjak (district) in the northern part of the vilayet of Kharput, adjacent to the southwestern part of the vilayet of Erzerum. Dersim province, Turkey was renamed Tunceli province in 1936. It is just to the south of Erzincan province and just to the west of Bingol province. Dersim was a "no-man's land of winding valleys and tiny upland plateaus," populated by rugged Armenian mountaineers. [Mirak, Robert. Torn Between Two Lands, Cambridge, MA, 1983]

Keghi / Keri

"Q [from Arslan]: When and where was your father born? A: Harabet was born 8/18/81 in Kaghee, Armenia" [Correspondence from Vaskin "Vincent" Arslanian [#000-132] to Mark Arslan, 4 September 1971]
Garabed [#000-1], Sarkis [#000-2], Kaspar [#000-11], and Arakel [#000-12] were born in Kughi, Turkey. [Correspondence from Sahag "Sam" Arslanian [#000-115] to Vaskin "Vincent" Arslanian [#000-132], ca. December 1968] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Ohannes "John" Arslanian [#000-113] to the USA in 1909, his last residence and place of birth was "Keri, Turkey". [Manifest of ship Floride, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 5 August 1909] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Mamigon "Harry" Arslanian [#000-24] to the USA in 1909, his last residence and place of birth was "Keri, Turkey". [Manifest of ship Louisiane, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 10 September 1909] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Jerim Arslanian [possibly #000-111] to the USA in 1910, his last residence was "Keri, Turkey". [Manifest of ship Teutonic, sailing from Cherbourg, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 30 June 1910] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Kevork "George" Arslanian [#000-212] to the USA in 1912, his last residence was "Keghi, Armenia". [Manifest of ship New York, sailing from Cherbourg, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 7 November 1912] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Mardirak Aslanian and Donik Katoyan to the USA in 1912, their last residence and place of birth were "Keghi, Turkish Armenia". Donik Katoyan was joining "his cousin Mamigon Aslanian [#000-24]" in Detroit. Mardirak Aslanian was joining "his father [?] Hairabet Aslanian" at the same address in Detroit as Mamigon. How these two (Mardirak and Donik) tie into our Arslanian family has is not yet known, but our Mamigon Arslanian [#000-24] was living in Detroit at that address (108 Solvay Avenue) at that time. [Manifest of ship Oceanic, sailing from Cherbourg, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 21 November 1912] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Sahag "Sam" Arslanian [#000-115] to the USA in 1914, his last residence and place of birth was "Keghi, Turkey". [Manifest of ship La Provence, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 26 July 1913] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Ghajar Kaklikian [#000-29/1] to the USA in 1913, his last residence and place of birth was "Keghi, Turkey". He left his wife in Keghi. [Manifest of ship Olympic, sailing from Cherbourg, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 12 December 1913] The "gh" in the place name Keghi (transliterated from the Armenian alphabet into the Roman alphabet) was pronounced by Armenians as sort of a uvular "r" (as in the French language). As a result, the French employees of the shipping company (Fabre Lines) that owned the immigrant ships sailing from Le Havre and other French ports probably spelled the place name as Keri instead of Keghi. Keghi (modern Turkish spelling Kigi) is located at 39° 19' N 40° 21' E in present-day Bingol province, Turkey. It was in the vilayet of Erzerum, about 70 miles to the southwest of the city of Erzerum.

Sergiwlik/Sivgelik

"In Armenia I lived in Svengalik." [Correspondence from Levon "Leon" Arslanian [#000-126] to Mark Arslan, 16 September 1972]
Sergiwlik/Sivgelik is located at 39° 16' N 40° 13' E in present-day Bingol province, Turkey. (I have seen it spelled both ways, depending on which map you look at.) It was later renamed Acikguney. It was located in the vilayet of Erzerum, approximately 10 miles to the southwest of Keghi.

Erzerum

"Sahag Sam Arslanian" was born in "Erzroom, Turkey". [U. S. Social Security Act, Application for Account Number for Sahag "Sam" Arslanian [#000-115], filed 8 December 1936, assigned 373-07-9368]
According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Reuben Arslanian [#000-28] to the USA in 1907, his last residence and birthplace was "Erzroun, Turkey". [Manifest of ship La Bretagne, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 24 December 1907] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Artin Atamian [#000-27/1, husband of Seravart "Sadie" Arslanian [#000-27]] to the USA in 1908, his last residence was "Erzeroum, Turkey". [Manifest of ship La Touraine, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 6 December 1908] On 5 June 1917, Marouke "Mike" Arslanian [#000-21], Kevork "George" Arslanian [#000-212], Dikran "Richard" Arslanian [#000-26], and Reuben Arslanian [#000-28] all registered for the WWI military draft in Idaho Co., Idaho. Each of them listed their place of birth as "Erzerum, Armenia". At the time, Mike, George, and Reuben were all railroad track laborers for the Camas Prairie Railroad in Grangeville, Idaho Co., Idaho, and Richard was a hops contractor living in Independence, Polk Co., Oregon. [WWI Draft Registration, Idaho Co., ID] According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Sahag "Sam" Arslanian [#000-115], Araxi (Tetezian) Arslanian [#000-13/2], and Araxi's sister Haiganoush Tetezian to the USA in 1920, their place of birth was "Errouh. [Erzerum ?]". [Manifest of ship Mauretania, sailing from Southampton, England, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 23 October 1920] The city of Erzerum is located at 39° 55' N 41° 17' E in present-day Erzerum province, Turkey. It was the "capital" of the vilayet of Erzerum. It is not clear whether these references to Erzerum are meant to name the city itself or the vilayet of Erzerum.

Batum ?

According to the passenger list of the ship that brought Dikran Arslanian [#000-26] to the USA in 1906, his last residence and the place of his birth was "Batoum". [Manifest of ship La Provence, sailing from Le Havre, France, arriving at New York (Ellis Island) on 24 November 1906]
The city of Batum(i) is a port on the Black Sea located at 41° 38' N 41° 38' E in what was then Russia. On the Ellis Island ship passenger lists in 1906, the "birthplace" column often contained the name of the seaport from which the Armenians departed for Europe, rather than the actual birthplace.

The only reference to Sergevil as the residence and birthplace of our Arslanian family was from George Arslanian. Perhaps he confused the name with the village of Sergiwlik/Sivgelik. I'm not sure. In an interview with me on 5 January 1980 (the last time I saw George), he said that he lived in the village of Ser'-ga-vil (pronounced that way) in the vilayet of Erzerum, about 70 miles from the capital. If the capital city he refers to is Erzerum, then this would likely be Sergiwlik?Sivgelik, near Keghi, rather than Sergevil, in Erzincan province. No other source places the Arslanian family home that far west (in present-day Erzincan province). The villages/towns of Sergiwlik/Sivgelik and Keghi are very close to each other in the southwestern part of the vilayet of Erzerum. In any case, it is probably safe to say that many of our Arslanian family lived in or near Keghi in the mid-to-late 1800s through 1915. Before that, according to George, they came from Dersim (near where the city of Tunceli is found on today's map). The Ellis Island immigration records (ship manifests) list a number of other Arslanian and Aslanian immigrants from Keghi whose connection to our family has not been determined yet.


Last updated on 2 December 2001 at 7:05 p.m.

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