This page is a collection of information I have compiled on my Arslanian family. From the middle 1800s to 1915, our family lived in the village of Sergevil, in the kaza (county) of Keghi, in the vilayet (province) of Erzurum, in Turkey (a part of the Ottoman Empire). The eastern part of Turkey, in which Erzurum was a province, comprised most of what is known as Western Armenia. (Eastern Armenia, in that timeframe, was under the dominion of the Russian Empire.)
Occasionally, on this page, you will see a notation like "(#26)" after a person's name. This is a Descendant ID, a unique number assigned to each person in this family. For example, #26 refers to (working from right to left) the 6th child of the 2nd child of the family patriarch Arslan (of Dersim), namely Dikran "Dick" Arslanian, my grandfather. The spelling of personal names is not consistent in the primary source records. You will find Arslanian also spelled as Aslanian, for example. The names are equivalent. Most of the immigrants in our family anglicized their first names, so I often give the anglicized name in quotes alongside the original Armenian name, for clarity.
I have drawn upon many different sources of information to piece together our family history. Practically all of the records from Western Armenia (in what was then the Ottoman Empire) were lost or destroyed or are otherwise inaccessible. Starting with correspondence and conversations with several of our older living relatives in the 1970s and 1980s, I systematically pursued primary source records, particularly in the USA and Canada, to confirm the information and fill in the gaps. As expected, many inconsistencies were found when comparing the records with each other. Errors are commonplace in all types of records, particularly when there is a language difference between the person recording the information and the person providing it. I have tried to gather as many different types of primary source records to corroborate facts. In many cases, I have had to use my judgment to determine with version to "go with". As new sources become available and new facts emerge, I will revise my findings through this web site. If anyone has any new or different information than is presented here, please let know.
Keghi is a mountainous county in the southwestern part of Erzurum, bordering the provinces of Mamuretulaziz, Diyarbekir, and Bitlis. A defining feature of Keghi is the Kayl (Wolf) River, which roughly bisects the county from northeast to southwest. The principal town, also called Keghi (or Keghi Kassaba) is situated near the center of the county, along the Kayl River. About 6.5 miles southwest of the town of Keghi, another river, the Gran, flows into the Kayl from the northwest. Following the Gran River upstream from that point about 6.5 miles, you will find the village of Sergevil (now called by the Turkish name Açikgüney) perched on a hillside on the north side of the river. Sergevil (meaning quince, the fruit) lies at an elevation of 4,600 feet above sea level at latitude 39° 15' 48" N, longitude 40° 13' 12" E. A census not long before 1914 listed 117 households with a population of 658 people in Sergevil. (Another name for this village in the Armenian era was Sivgelik.)
"Map of Keghi (1914)" (hint: click on thumbnail to view .pdf file, zoom to 200%)
Sergevil, as it looks now (courtesy of Mehmet Emin Oktan)
For more recent photos of the village, see Photos of Sergevil, 2007
The patriarch of our Arslanian family was born in the early 1800s in a very rugged mountainous region known as Dersim, situated about 40 miles to the west of Sergevil (in the northeastern corner of what later became the province of Mamuretulaziz). His first name was Arslan (which is a Turkish word, equivalent to Aslan, meaning lion, the animal). Arslan's last name is not known. He was probably of the Mirakian tribe. According to the book The Armenian Genocide - A Complete History, by Raymond Kévorkian (London: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2011), pp. 221-222, the Mirakians were one of two Armenian tribes living in Dersim (among about 40 total tribes). "The Mirakians . . . could mobilize 3,000 fighters. Earning their living almost exclusively from sheep-raising, as well as rugmaking . . . these mountaineers were partially liquidated in 1915, although a minority of them survived in Dersim."
Arslan and his wife (whose name is not known) had at least three children: sons Garabed (#1) and Sarkis (#2), and a daughter Takouhi (#3). According to the patronymic naming system in effect in Armenia at that time, the children took their surname, Arslanian, from their father's first name, plus the suffix -ian. Takouhi married a man by the surname of Septian (or Setian). Nothing more is known about her. Family tradition holds that the sons Garabed and Sarkis had a disagreement with their father and left Dersim to settle in the village of Sergevil. There, they established themselves as successful merchants, married local women, and started their families. The Arslanians in Sergevil were known as a prosperous, educated, and wealthy family. (Some of their sons were educated in Europe.) Coming back from a business trip in 1896, Garabed and Sarkis were attacked, robbed, and killed by the Turks.
Several of their sons and grandsons sojourned to the USA, France, and England between 1900 and 1915. Many of them travelled from Turkey across Europe to France (typically the port of Le Havre) and embarked on a ship (travelling in steerage class) to New York, entering through Ellis Island. Like many Eastern European and Middle Eastern immigrants of that time, they probably went to the USA in search of employment to earn enough money to go back to the "homeland" and improve their lives there, or to bring their families to the USA.
Chart of Arslanian family descendants (click to enlarge)
The rest of the family remained in Western Armenia. Most are presumed to have died during the 1915 genocide, but several did escape to other places and entered the USA after 1920.
Garabed Arslanian (#1) was Arslan's oldest son. He was born before 1839 (the approximate year of younger brother Sarkis's birth) in Dersim. Garabed was married twice, first to Anna and then to Vartouhi. He had three sons (Kaspar (#11), Arakel (#12),and Harabet (#13)). Garabed was killed by the Turks in 1896.
Kaspar Arslanian (#11) was married three times, first to Nazlou Givrigian (who died in 1902), then to Hazou Apoyan (who died in 1914), and then to Arake -----. He had four sons (Yeram "Harry" (#111), Ohanes "John" (#113), Sahag "Sam" (#115), and Nishan (#117)) and three daughters (Haiganoush (#112), Agavnie (#114), and Anakos (#116)).
Yeram "Harry" (#111) arrived 9 March 1903 in New York aboard the ship SS Amsterdam (sailing from Boulogne, France) to join his "brother" (actually, his uncle) Harabet (#13) in Detroit. (He went back to Turkey around 1909 and re-entered New York 12 May 1913 aboard the ship SS George Washington, sailing from Cherbourg, France.) John (#113) arrived 5 August 1909 in New York aboard the ship SS Floride (sailing from Le Havre, France), destined for Detroit. Sam (#115) arrived in the USA on 26 July 1913 in New York aboard the ship La Provence (sailing from Le Havre, France) to join his brother Harry in Detroit. (Sam was living in Keghi with his father Kaspar prior to leaving Turkey.) Sam went back to the Middle East at some point and lived in Aleppo (now in Syria) and then in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey. He re-entered the USA on 23 October 1920 in New York aboard the ship SS Mauretania (sailing from Southampton, England) to join his brother John in Highland Park, Wayne County, Michigan, near Detroit.
John (#113) married in Hamtramck, Wayne County, Michigan in 1921 to Lousig Bozoyan and had children Star (#1131) (born in 1922), Ralph (#1132) (born in 1924), Anthony (#1133) (born in 1927), and Ara (#1134) (born ca. 1928-1929). John died in Highland Park in 1946. Harry (#111) died in 1953, probably in Detroit. Sam (#115) never married; he died in Warren, Macomb County, Michigan in 1992.
Kaspar (#11) and the rest of his family perished in Turkey.
Arakel Arslanian (#12) was married to Salvi Hudsian. He had five sons (Armen or Aram (#122), Misag (#124), Levon (#125) (who died young), Levon "Leon" (#126), and Mesrop (#127)) and two daughters (Satenik (#121) and Narig (#123)). Arakel appears (as "Arachil Aslanian") on the List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States from Foreign Contiguous Territory in July 1904 at Port Huron, Michigan seeking entry to the USA from Canada to join his brother "Harabed Aslanian" (#13) at 60 Solvay Street in the Delray section of Detroit. He is said to be in poor health and was denied admission on 22 July 1904 due to the skin disease psoriasis. (Arakel is described on the manifest as age 50, married, laborer, from Erzurum. He had arrived in America at New York six months earlier and had worked in Brantford, Ontario in the meantime, having traveled by railroad to Port Huron. His traveling companion (at Port Huron) was 23-year-old Boghos Mamigonian. also said to be from Erzurum. Boghos was denied admission due to the eye disease trachoma, but did gain entry to the USA in 1913, through New York, where he stated his birthplace as Keghi.) Nothing more is known about Arakel after 1904.
Arakel's oldest son Armen (or Aram) (#122) arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia 19 June 1909 aboard the ship SS Raglan Castle (sailing from Rotterdam, Holland), destined to join his uncle Harabet (#13) in Detroit. Armen was deported because he had trachoma (a highly-infectious eye ailment, the most common reason for deportation). Armen apparently was later successful in entering the USA or Canada, because he filed a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the USA on 4 November 1914 in Juneau, Alaska, under the name Aram Aslin. His birthplace is stated as "Sargill" (Sergevil), Armenia, with an occupation of miner. Although he had up to seven years to file a Petition for Naturalization, no such petition has been found. He next appeared in British Columbia, Canada by 1918, where (on 24 September of that year), he entered the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. He had changed his name to Arman Arslin. His "Attestation Paper" states that he was born 23 November 1894 in Erzurum, was a resident of the Balmoral Hotel in Vancouver, with an occupation of miner. His next-of-kin is shown as father "Hary Arslanian" (#13) of 93 Grayling Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Apparently his father Arakel had died by then, as Harabet "Harry" Arslanian is actually his uncle. Nothing further is known about Arman's service in the Canadian military. He remained in British Columbia, and appears twice on a List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission through the port of Sumas, Whatcom Co., Washington (in October 1920 and August 1923). On both manifests, he is shown as single, with an occupation of logger. In 1920, he lived in Topaze Harbour (just north of Vancouver Island, across the Johnstone Strait, between Knight Inlet and Loughborough Inlet). In 1923, he lived in Masset (on the north side of Graham Island, across Hecate Strait from the town of Prince Rupert). Arman died 4 August 1924 in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as a result of injuries from a blow on the head and concussion suffered 55 days previously. He was a logger living at Lake Cowishan, British Columbia.
Death certificate for Armen Arslanian (Arman Arslin) (#122), 1924, Duncan, British Columbia
Arakel's son Levon ("Leon") (#126) survived the genocide and was brought to Liverpool, England after the war by his father's 1st-cousin Marouke "Mike" Arslanian (#21). Leon remained in Liverpool for the rest of his life; he died there in 1988. None of the rest of Arakel's family is known to have escaped the genocide of 1915. Leon provided a sketch of his family home in Sergevil.
Harabet "Harry" Arslanian (#13) was born in Keghi in 1881. He first married to Hazou Maloyan and had a son Zorab (#131). His wife and son died in Turkey in 1915. Harry made several trips back and forth between Turkey and the USA. On 4 May 1909, he arrived at New York aboard the ship La Gascogne (sailing from Le Havre), destined to join his "brother" (really, his nephew) Yeram "Harry" Arslanian (#111) in Detroit. On that manifest, he indicated he had previously arrived in Detroit in 1897. (It is interesting that Harabet "Harry" is referred to as a brother in multiple records by his nephews. Maybe that is because Harabet is much younger than his brothers Kaspar (#11) and Arakel (#12) and is closer in age to his nephews. Both Kevork "George" (#212) and Hamazasb "Harry" (#241) were clear and consistent in their correspondence with me in the 1970s that Harabet was a brother to Kaspar and Arakel, probably a half-brother by Garabed's second marriage.)
Harry (#13) married Araxi Tetezian in Highland Park in 1920. Araxi had immigrated to the USA two weeks earlier, on the same ship as Harry's nephew Sahag "Sam" (#115). Harry and Araxi had a son Vaskin "Vincent" (#132), who was born in Detroit in 1921. Harry worked at Dodge Brothers Company in Detroit until his retirement, and died in Detroit in 1958. Vincent died in Missouri in 2014.
Harabet "Harry" Arslanian (#13)
Arslan's son Sarkis Arslanian (#2) was born about 1839 in Dersim. He married Mariam Gopoian around 1870, probably in Sergevil. They had four sons (Marouke "Mike" (#21), Mamigon "Harry" (#24), Dikran "Dick" (#26), and Reuben (#28)) and five daughters (Khatoun (#22),Yaprig (#23), Margaret (#25), Siravart "Sadie" (#27), and Lousig "Lucille" (#29)). Sarkis was killed by the Turks in 1896. Mariam died near Diyarbekir, Turkey in 1915, while being deported by the Turks from Keghi to Der el Zor (in the Syria desert). All four sons and several of the sons-in-law left Turkey for the USA and England, but the daughters and their children are believed to have perished during the genocide of 1915.
Marouke (pronounced MA'-roo-kay) "Mike/Michel" (#21) was born in the (early?) 1870s in Keghi. He was married there, probably in Sergevil, about 1890 to Khatoun Aivazian. They had a son Kevork "George" (#212) and two daughters, Anoush (#211) and Aznugh (#213). By 1906, Mike was in Madison County, Illinois (in an area just east of St. Louis where thousands of eastern European immigrants were employed in the steel and iron manufacturing industry). His brother Dick (#26) arrived there in November of 1906. Reuben (#28) joined them in 1907. Mamigon (#24) followed in 1909. They lived in Madison and Granite City. Mike's son George arrived in New York on 7 November 1912 aboard the ship SS New York (sailing from Cherbourg, France). George was going to Worcester, Massachusetts to join his father-in-law Artin (Harutiun) Kestigian. (Artin arrived in the USA on 12 April 1908, settling in Worcester.) George had married in 1911 in Sergevil to Artin's daughter Anoush Kestigian and had twin sons. (Mike's wife and daughters and George's wife and sons remained in Turkey, where they died around 1915.)
Marouke "Mike" Arslanian (#21)
Mike (#21) left the USA for Liverpool, England, possibly as early as 1908. He remarried in Liverpool to Sirpouhi "Madeleine" Doghramadjian and had a son Paul (#214) (born about 1911), and two daughters, Stella (#215) (born 1918) and Siravart "Sadie" (#216) (born 1920). Madeleine died in Liverpool around 1923. Mike sent his children to Marseille, France to be raised by his mother-in-law Berik (-----) Doghramadjian. Mike's whereabouts during the rest of his life are not well known, although is believed to have lived near Arles, France. He died around 1943 in German-occupied France at a Red Cross Hospital in Marseille. Stella married Flory Baron and lived in Marseille, France; she died there in 2010. Sadie arrived at Philadelphia on 4 September 1947 aboard the SS George Ulher (sailing from Marseille), destined for her uncle Mamigon "Harry" (#24) in Detroit. She then moved to San Francisco, California and married Robert Pashalian. Sadie died in San Francisco in 1992. Paul returned to England and then setted in Wales. He died near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England in 2011.
Dick (#26) and Reuben (#28) soon moved to Detroit, where several of their Arslanian cousins had settled. Mamigon (#24) remained in Detroit, while Dick, Reuben, and George (#212) moved west to Oregon and Washington, where they found work as laborers. Dick was in Marion County, Oregon as early as 1910, employed as a railroad laborer. George, Dick, and Reuben registered for the military draft in June 1917 (shortly after USA's entry into World War 1) in Idaho County, Idaho (about 200 miles east of Yakima, Washington). (Dick was a (beer) hops contractor in Independence, Polk County, Oregon; Reuben and George were track laborers at the Camas Prairie Railroad. They all stated their birthplaces as Erzurum, Armenia.) Only George served in the military, from 27 September 1919 to 27 October 1922, in the Far East. Dick and Reuben did not.
Registering for the World War 1 draft with them was a Mike Arslanian, born in April 1892 (also a laborer at the Camas Prairie Railroad, born in Erzurum.). I'm not sure how he fits into this family. He is too young to have been George's father. I once asked George who he was; George said his father's name was Hampar. To my regret, I never asked how Hampar was related to us. Mike filed his Declaration for Intention for USA naturalization, as Mardeg Arslanian, 11 December 1922 in Yakima, Washington and then again 8 June 1936 in Spokane, Washington. Mike appeared on the 1930 census of Kittitas County, Washington and then in 1940 in Spokane. He appeared as late as 1957 in a Spokane city directory. On his 1936 Declaration of Intention, he states that he married in Erzurum in 1909 to a woman named Elsie. Mardeg arrived at New York 21 November 1912 (as Mardiros Aslanian) aboard the SS Oceanic (sailing from Cherbourg). This man, born in Keghi, was joining his "father" "Hairabet Aslanian" at 108 Louis Ave. in Detroit. In the entry directly following Mardeg on this manifest is "Donik Katoyan" (Donig Kheteyan), also born in Keghi, who was joining his cousin Mamigon A(r)slanian (#241) at 108 Solvay Ave. in Detroit. Louis Ave. was later called Post Ave. and is four blocks directly east of Solvay Ave. in the Delray section of Detroit (where the Malleable Iron Company was located). Harabet Arslanian (#13) was known to have lived on Louis/Post Ave. at this time, but he was too young to have been Mardeg's father. Was there another Harabet Arslanian living in the same neighborhood from Keghi? Donig Kheteyan, by the way, was probably from the village of Khoups in Keghi, the village closest to Sergevil (about 1.7 miles to its east-northeast). There were certainly intermarriages between these two Armenian villages and their men stayed together as they sojourned in America prior to World War 1. (Who was Mardeg "Mike"? Could his father Hampar have been another brother to Garabed and Sarkis, or perhaps another son of Garabed? I wish that I had asked more about this when George (#212) and Harry (#241) were still alive.)
Neighborhood in Delray section of Detroit, just east of Michigan Malleable Iron Works, where our family first lived when they came to Detroit; left view from 1904 map (© 2014, Historic Map Works, LLC), right view from 2010 Google Earth image)
By the early 1920s, George, Dick, and Reuben had all moved to Washington or Oregon, eventually living near Salem. George is listed in the 1920 census of Helix, Umatilla County, Oregon as "George Muslanian", laborer at a steam railroad. In the same household are two Gopoian men, probably cousins of his from Keghi. Reuben has not yet been located on the 1920 census. Dick was living that year near Yakima, Washington.
George married in Salem, Marion County, Oregon in 1926 to Helen Derhousoff (a daughter of Alexei Derhousoff, a Russian immigrant to Canada). George and his family were in San Francisco by 1930, in Chico in 1935, in San Francisco in 1940, and settled in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California by 1942, where he lived the remainder of his life. (In 1971, when I first became interested in the Arslanian family history at age 14, "Uncle George" and I corresponded frequently about our family. I am indebted to him for getting me started on this project, sharing his memories, and putting me in touch with his other living relatives, particularly Harry and Vincent.)
Marriage record of Kevork "George" Arslanian (#212) to Helen Derhousoff, 15 March 1926, Salem, Marion County, Oregon
Sahag "Sam" Arslanian (#115) and Kevork "George" Arslanian (#212) (2nd-cousins)
Sarkis's son Mamigon "Harry" (#24) was born about 1880-1881 in Sergevil. He married about 1900 to Serma Hairabedian and had two sons (Hamazasb "Harry" (#241) and Diran (#242)) and a daughter Araxi (#243). Mamigon first came to the USA on 5 January 1906, arriving in New York aboard the SS Pennsylvania (sailing from Hamburg, Germany) to join his cousin and brother-in-law Ohanes Gopoian (#23/1) in Madison, Illinois. He apparently went back to Turkey shortly afterwards, as we see another arrival for Mamigon on 27 April of that year, coming to New York from Le Havre aboard the SS Hudson, destined for his 1st-cousin Harabet Arslanian (#13) in Detroit. Mamigon arrived (yet a third time) at New York on 10 November 1909 aboard the ship SS Louisiane (sailing from Le Havre, France). His stated destination was Granite City, Madison County, Illinois to join his brother-in-law Artin Atamian (#27/1) (husband of Mamigon's sister Siravart "Sadie", #27). In 1910, he was the keeper of a boarding house at 1635 Maple Street in Granite City where 40 other Armenians were living (including Artin Atamian). Mamigon's wife Serma and children Hamazasb, Diran, and Araxi were still in Turkey at the time. During the forced deportation of the Armenians from Keghi to Der el Zor in 1915, only Hamazasb survived. He was sheltered by an Arab Muslim family during WW1 and was brought to Liverpool, England to live with his uncle Mike (#21) in May 1920. Hamazasb "Harry" left Liverpool, arriving at St. John, New Brunswick, Canada aboard the SS Empress of France on 23 December 1920, and rejoined his father Mamigon in Highland Park. He lived in the Detroit area the remainder of his life. (Read Survival Story of Hamazasb Arslanian, as told by him around 1983.)
Mamigon "Harry" Arslanian (#24)
Mamigon's family in Turkey: Serma (Hairabedian) Arslanian (#24/1) & children
Mamigon went with his brothers to Detroit, where he married Zabelle Surabian around 1919. They had daughters Virginia (#244) and Arpina "Edna" (#245). Virginia married Vance Colvig and lived in Los Angeles, California. Edna married Earl Spears and died in 1999 (probably near Livonia, Wayne County, Michigan). Mamigon worked in the auto industry and died in Detroit in 1955. Mamigon's son Harry married Arshalous "Alice" Baronian in Highland Park in 1930. (Harry and Alice contributed significantly to my knowledge of this family in the 1970s.) Harry died in 1984.
Like others from the village of Sergevil, our Arslanian family frequented Detroit/Highland Park, Michigan, as well as Granite City/E. St. Louis, Illinois. The sojourners and (later) immigrants established small communities of their fellow villagers in these places. Those who escaped the genocide were to settle in these communities and establish families. Other locations where immigrants from Keghi settled included Troy/Watervliet, New York and southern Ontario. Many worked for the Malleable Iron Company in the foundries, later working in the automotive industry.
Sarkis's son Dikran "Dick" (#26) was born about 1883 in Turkey. He married Takouhi Apoyan in Turkey around 1903. He then immigrated to the USA, arriving in New York aboard the ship SS La Provence (sailing from Le Havre, France) on 24 November 1906, destined for Madison, Illinois to join his brother Mike.
Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26)
Dick stayed in Granite City or Madison for awhile before going to Detroit with his brothers. At the time of the 1910 census, he was living in Marion County, Oregon, near Salem, employed as a laborer on the railroad. In 1912, he married Leona E. Brown in nearby Polk County. (His first wife Takouhi was still living in 1910 in Turkey, and it is not clear whether or not he was still married to her when he remarried in 1912.) Dick and Leona were divorced by 1917. At that time (when he registered for the WW1 draft), he was a hops contractor in Independence, Polk County, Oregon. By 1918, he was in Yakima, Yakima County, Washington. He married in September of that year in Yakima to Celestine "Sally" St. Martin. He was about about 35 years old and Sally was 17. In 1920, Dick and Sally were living in Union Gap, Yakima County, Washington with their infant son Richard (#261) (born October 1918). Dick's occupation was laborer in a sugar factory.
Marriage record of Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26) to Celestine St. Martin, 16 September 1918, Yakima, Yakima County, Washington
His next two children, a daughter Lucille (#262) and a son Gerald "Jerry" (#263) were born in Yakima County in 1920 and 1921. By 1924, he had moved his family to Salem, Oregon along with his brother Reuben (#28) and nephew George (#212) (Mike's son). A son Robert "Bob" (#264) was born there in 1924. The 1926-1927 Salem city directory lists "Richd. B. Arslanian" as a hop grower living at 522 N. Church Street. A daughter Isabelle (#265) was born in Salem in 1926. A son Ronald "Ron" (#266) (my father) was born in Yakima in 1928 (although Dick was still in living in Oregon at that time). Sometime after this, Dick and his family moved to the Central Valley of California, working in farming in Lodi, Manteca, and other towns before finally settling in Fresno. His youngest child, a son Leroy (#267), was born in Fresno County in 1934.
Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26), Lucille Arslanian (#262) (on her father's back), & Reuben Arslanian (#28) (behind)
Dick and Sally were divorced in 1939, and he lived the remainder of his life in farming towns in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of central California. He died of cancer in Modesto in 1965. Dick's son Jerry (who boxed for a time under the name Jerry Lyons) died in San Leandro, California in 1970. Isabelle died in Sacramento in 1993. Bob died in Fremont in 1998. Lucille died in 2003 in Fresno. Richard died in Fresno in 2004. Ron died in Bakersfield, California in 2009. Leroy's whereabouts are not known.
Not much is known about Sarkis's son Reuben (#28), who was born about March 1892. Reuben arrived in the USA on 24 December 1907 in New York aboard the ship SS La Bretagne (sailing from Le Havre, France) to join his brothers Mike (#21) and Dick (#26) in Madison County, Illinois. Reuben accompanied his brother Dick and nephew George to Washington and Oregon. He died in Salem, Marion County, Oregon in 1931 and was buried in the Salem Pioneer Cemetery. At the time of his death, he worked as a hop grower.
Most of Sarkis's sons-in-law left Turkey and came to the USA for employment. For example, Siravart's (#27) husband Artin "Harry" Atamian (#27/1) arrived in the USA on 6 December 1908 in New York aboard the ship SS La Touraine (sailing from Le Havre, France) to join his brother Dikran Atamian in Madison, Illinois. At the time of the 1910 census, Artin Atamian lived in a boarding house of Armenians in Granite City, Madison County, Illinois run by his brother-in-law Mamigon Arslanian (#24). Nothing is known of Artin after 1910. Ohanes Gopoian (#23/1) (husband of Yaprig, #23) arrived in the USA on 5 July 1910 in New York aboard the SS Saint Louis (sailing from Cherbourg, France) to join his brother Nigoghos Gopoian in Detroit, Michigan. (Ohanes had been in the USA before, living in Detroit from 1903 to 1908.) On 12 December 1913, Ghazar Kakligian (#29/1) (husband of Lousig, #29) arrived in the USA in New York aboard the SS Olympic (sailing from Cherbourg, France) to join his "cousin" Mamigon Arslanian in Detroit. Nigoghos Depigian (#25/1) (husband of Margaret, #25) was listed in the 1910 US census of Madison, Madison County, Illinois, having come to the USA from Turkey in about 1906. It is not known whether Artin, Ohanes, Ghazar, or Nigoghos remained in the USA.
About 193 of Arslan's descendants have been identified. More research needs to be done with primary sources to determine who came to this country and when. I hope that those of you who are descended from Arslan (of the Mirakian tribe in Dersim) will provide me with more information on your branch of the family so that our historical record will be more complete. (I can also scan in old photographs, if you have any that you'd like to have included on this page.)
Here is a listing of all known descendants of this Arslanian family (through three generations):
Descendants of Arslan Mirakian [?] through 3 Generations
GEDCOM (for import to genealogy software)
Explanation of Format of Descendant Listings
World War 1 Draft Registrations
World War 2 Draft Registrations
Declaration of Intention for Armen (or Aram) Arslanian (#122) (AK, Juneau, District Court (District 1), 4 November 1914, #805-J)
Declaration of Intention for Yeram "Harry" Arslanian (#111) (IL, Madison Co., Granite City, City Court, 9 February 1920, #1058)
Declaration of Intention for Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26) (WA, Yakima Co., Yakima, District Court (Eastern District of Washington, 17 May 1920, #1065)
Declaration of Intention for Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26) (WA, Yakima Co., Yakima, District Court (Eastern District of Washington, 17 May 1920, #1065)
Declaration of Intention for Mike Arslanian (#?) (WA, Yakima Co., Yakima, District Court (Eastern District of Washington), 11 December 1922, #1370
Declaration of Intention for Mike Arslanian (#?) (WA, Spokane Co., Spokane, District Court (Eastern District of Washington), 8 June 1936, #13928
Yeram "Harry" Arslanian (#111), arriving 9 March 1903 aboard SS Amsterdam, from Boulogne to New York (number 16 on list)
Arakel Arslanian (#12), arriving 29 May 1904 aboard SS La Touraine, from Le Havre to New York (number 13 on list)
Mamigon "Harry" Arslanian (#24), arriving 5 January 1906 aboard SS Pennsylvania, from Hamburg to New York (number 16 on list)
Mamigon "Harry" Arslanian (#24), arriving 27 April 1906 aboard SS Hudson, from Le Havre to New York (number 3 on list)
Dikran "Dick" Arslanian (#26), arriving 24 November 1906 aboard SS La Provence, from Le Havre to New York (number 5 on list)
Reuben Arslanian (#28), arriving 24 December 1907 aboard SS La Bretagne, from Le Havre to New York (number 30 on list)
Zabelle Surabian (#24/2), arriving 13 June 1908 aboard SS La Savoie, from Le Havre to New York (number 6 on list)
Artin "Harry" Atamian (#27/1), arriving 6 December 1908 aboard SS La Touraine, from Le Havre to New York (number 21 on list)
Harabet "Harry" Arslanian (#13), arriving 4 May 1909 aboard SS La Gascogne, from Le Havre to New York (number 29 on list)
Armen (or Aram) Arslanian (#122), arriving 19 June 1909 aboard SS Raglan Castle, from Rotterdam to Halifax (number 25 on list)
Ohanes "John" Arslanian (#113), arriving 5 August 1909 aboard SS Floride, from Le Havre to New York (number 30 on list)
Mamigon "Harry" Arslanian (#24), arriving 10 September 1909 aboard SS Louisiane, from Le Havre to New York (number 5 on list)
Ohanes Gopoian (#23/1), arriving 5 July 1910 aboard SS Saint Louis, from Cherbourg to New York (number 13 on list)
Kevork "George" Arslanian (#212), arriving 7 November 1912 aboard SS New York, from Cherbourg to New York (number 9 on list)
Mardeg "Mike" Arslanian (#?), arriving 21 November 1912 aboard SS Oceanic, from Cherbourg to New York (number 18 on list)
Yeram "Harry" Arslanian (#111), arriving 12 May 1913 aboard SS George Washington, from Cherbourg to New York (number 21 on list)
Sahag "Sam" Arslanian (#115), arriving 26 July 1913 aboard SS La Provence, from Le Havre to New York (number 20 on list)
Ghazar Kakligian (#29/1), arriving 12 November 1913 aboard SS Olympic, from Cherbourg to New York (number 6 on list)
Sahag "Sam" Arslanian (#115), arriving 23 October 1920 aboard SS Mauretania, from Southampton to New York (number 17 on list) , accompanied by Araxi Tetezian (#13/2) (number 16 on list)
Lousig "Lucy" Bozoyan (#113/1), arriving 13 December 1920 aboard SS Zeeland, from Cherbourg to New York (number 19 on list)
Hamazasb "Harry" Arslanian (#241), arriving 23 December 1920 aboard SS Empress of France, from Liverpool to St. John, NB (number 1 on list)
Siravart "Sadie" Pashalian (#216), arriving 4 September 1947 aboard SS George Ulher, from Marseille to Philadelphia (number 1 on list)
I am often asked whether my Arslanian family is closely related to other Armenian families of that surname (and the similar surname Aslanian). The answer to that question is no. Our surname, like most other Armenian surnames, is of relatively recent origin (early 1800s). Under the patronymic naming system, Armenians typically formed their surnames (in a given generation) from their father's first name plus a suffix, like -ian, -yan, -iantz, -ouni, etc. (e.g., Arslan's children took the surname Arslanian). This naming practice, in some cases, even continued after the year 1900, as evidenced by the ship manifests and naturalization records just prior to World War 1. Therefore, there are many different unrelated Arslanian and Aslanian families from historic Armenia. There remains the possibility that our family's progenitor Arslan (of Dersim) had other sons besides Garabed and Sarkis who took the Arslanian surname.
To test that possibility, and to determine if we share a common direct paternal ancestor with Armenians of other surnames from Dersim, I submitted a y-chromosome DNA test to the Armenian DNA Project. This testing included 67 Short Tandem Repeat, or STR, markers to determine our Arslanian haplotype, as well as significant additional testing of the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, or SNP, markers to determine our haplogroup. At the haplotype level (which is used to indicate recent genealogical relationships along the direct paternal line), our Arslanian family shows absolutely no matches (not even distant) with anyone else in the public DNA databases. This could mean that our lineage is one of the few that survived from the Mirakian tribe in Dersim. Maybe there are other relatives of ours still living in Dersim who have not been tested. Someday we might get a match. Stay tuned.
As for the more distant genealogical connections, we look at the haplogroup. That is described by what is called the "terminal SNP". Using the terminology of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), our direct paternal ancestors (Arslan's father's father's father's father, etc.) belong to the haplogroup defined by the SNP (mutation) called G-L645 (shorthand G2a2b1b). This marker's age is likely over 4,000 years. See Haplogroup G Project - G-L645. There are other Armenians (and some non-Armenians) who have tested positive for G-L645, none from Dersim. They share a common paternal ancestor with us somewhere prior to 2,000 BCE. Where that ancestor lived is not known, but it is likely to have been somewhere in what became historic Armenia.
GenForum - Arslanian
RootsWeb - Arslanian
Armenian Immigration Project (Mark B. Arslan)
Houshmadyan - A Project to Reconstruct Armenian Town and Village Life
Armenian DNA Project
- Torn Between Two Lands, by Robert Mirak (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983)
- Like Our Mountains, A History of Armenians in Canada, by Isabel Kaprielian-Churchill (Montreal & Kingston, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005)
- Armenia, A Historical Atlas, by Robert H. Hewsen (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2001)
- The Armenian Genocide, A Complete History, by Raymond Kévorkian (New York, NY: I. B. Tauris, 2011)
If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to this branch of the Arslanian family so that I can incorporate them into this page.
I am often asked if my Arslanian family is related to