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Further Notes - Surat

 

Further notes on image 3115

*Aslan – a Turkish word meaning “lion” was/is also used a proper noun.

 

**Pirigul - is actually the name Pirgul, from the Perian pir, meaning “saint or old,” and quli, “slave” or “servant.”  We know of a certain Pirigul who was among the Armenian leaders involved in  the defense of Yerevan against the Ottomans in c. 1719-1724.  It’s hard to say if deceased Aslan’s father and the above Pirigul are one and the same; the chronology fits well.

                 The use of this name among the Armenians is very rare.

 

*** Yozhbar(?) – one would expect to see the name of a place here but the wording in this and the following two lines is not clear.  The shapes of the letters are also misleading.  It is tempting to read YOZHBAR as two words, meaning “very good” and take the phrase as modifying the word “land.” The line would read: “He was from the very good land and …”

 

****Gokhtan District – or Goghtn is the southernmost region of present day Nakhichevan.  In ancient and medieval times it was renowned for its vineyards and gardens.

 

*****Gaghgochi – There is no such village in or near Goghtn, but there is a well known village called Gagh or Gal in the neighboring district to the north.  It is hard to say what gochi stands for.  It could be taken as a verb meaning “called,” but a verb with the same meaning in line 3 is spelled differently.  If gochi is taken as a verb, the text would read: “from a village called Gagh.”

 

******longer cycle – This seems to refer to the cycle of  532 years that was in regular use among the Armenian, and is still in use in the Armenian Church.  The cycle is a listing of dates for Easter.  When the cycle is completed, it is repeated.  Its first year is AD 552. 

 

                1221 - + 551 corresponds to AD. 1772, as seen in the second half of the last line of the inscription.  The number 156 that appears under 1772 is the year according to Azaria’s calendar (156 + 1616=1772).

 

                February 25 – is presumably  the date according to the Gregorian calendar.  The date according to the Julian calendar would be February 14, and the the first of Nirhan. In the photo of the inscription, at the end of the last line there seems to be a small mark following the word Nirhan.  It’s not clear if this is a symbol, or part of a letter indicating the date.

 

Fr. Krikor Maksoudian comments: "Note – This is an interesting tombstone that merits some comments. 

 

a) The majority of the tombstones with long inscriptions have Christian symbols, whereas this one does not.

 

b) The framework -- enclosing a flower, presumably a carnation -- at the top of the present inscription seems to have an Islamic design.

 

c) Unlike the other longer inscriptions, this one has no reference to God or Christ.  The phrase “went up to the paternal [realm]” poses the question “whose paternal realm?”

 

d) The very rarely used name Piriguli raises questions, particularly in view of the fact that the majority of the deceased mentioned in  the other inscriptions and their fathers have Armenian Christian names.

 

e) In the longer inscriptions the family names of the deceased are specifically mentioned, whereas Aslan son of Piriguli is not identified by any family affiliation. 

 

These considerations may tempt one to draw conclusions about the origin and identity of Aslan.  But there is one basic question that remains to be answered.  If Aslan is not an Armenian Christian, why is he buried in an Armenian cemetery, amidst people that have Armenian names and Armenian family affiliations?  Armenian cemeteries were and still are considered to be sacred ground.   The graves of the faithful are buried and then “sealed” with the sign of the Holy Cross by the officiating priest.  (In other words, the priest blessed the shrouded body or the coffin on its four sides with his hand cross.  Thereafter the “sealing” is repeated each time that the grave is blessed. The teaching of the Church as reflected in the text of the burial ritual states that the “seal” will/must remain intact until the  Second Coming when the “dead shall rise.”  "

Further notes on image 3119

* Gitun – means “knowledgeable,” “learned” or “wise,” which is not an appropriate epithet for a four year old child.  Though there is no record of gitun to have ever been used as a proper noun, there is no other explanation why a child of four should be called gitun unless it is his name. If gitun is used as a first name could it be a translation?   The equivalent of gitun in Arabic, Ottoman and modern Turkish is arif which is used as a name.  There is also at least one mention of an Arif who was Armenian.  Could the deceased child’s actual name have been Arif Joseph?

**170 – according to Azaria’s calendar: 170 + 1615 = AD 1785.

 

*** Ghamar 7 = July 25 (Julian); August 5 (Gregorian).

Further notes on image 3121

* Hazarapet – is a common noun, meaning “Chiliarch” or “commander of a thousand men,” that is also used as a proper noun.  This usage is probably based on the Armenian texts of the apostolic epistles where in some instances the word steward (of good graces)is translated as hazarapet.  The earliest use of this word as a proper noun appears in the 13th century.

 

** Ugrhlu – is from the Ottoman Turkish ugurlu meaning “lucky.”  Its used both as a male and a female name by the Turks as well as the Armenians.

*** 159, Damay 25 = AD 1774, November 10 (Julian); November 21 (Gregorian).

 

Further notes on image 3123

* The words Lord, God, Jesus and Christ are all abbreviated as usual.

 

** Hayrapet – means “patriarch” and is used as a proper name

 

*** Mansurents – Whereas the end part of the family name -- that is, -RENTS --  is clear in the inscription, the first part is not.  Two of the three characters preceding the above are ligatures.  The third, namely the Armenian letter for N, may also be a ligature.  One possibility is to read the name as MANSURENTS.  Mansur is an Arabic word meaning “victory” that is also used as a proper noun.  The name appears in an inscription dated 1604 in the chapel of the Holy Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in Aleppo.  A man with the same name is mentioned in a colophon from c. 1630-1633.  One of his sons was a priest and was probably connected with one of the churches in New Julfa.

****Year 1139 …Nakha 2 = AD 1691; Nakha 2 = June 20 (Julian), June 30 (Gregorian).

 

Further notes on image 3128

THE DAUGHTER OF BARSEGH [BASIL]; HER NAME

WAS KATAN,* WIFE OF

ZAKARIA SHUKOREAN.  SHE LIVED

IN THIS WORLD FOR THIRTY

AND MORE YEARS.  SHE PASSED ON TO THE

UPPER REALM, THE HOPE OF ALL, IN THE YEAR

1765, TIRA 15, SATURDAY.**

* Katan – If this is the abbreviated form of Catherine – Katarine in Armenian – one would expect Kata instead of Katan, unless the final –n is the definite article.

** Tira 15, Saturday – October 1 (Julian); October 12 (Gregorian).

Further notes on image 3132

 Tnakert – or Tanakert was/is a village located at a distance of 6-7 km to the northwest of Ordubad, Nakhichevan.

 

** 1231 = AD 1782-1783.  The Armenian New Year was on August 11.

 

*** Ovdan 25 = February 8 (Julian); February 19 (Gregorian), 1783.  The day of the week checks out as a Wednesday.

Further notes on image 3138

*Khojazata – refers to Petros’ ancestry, “born of a khoja.” Khoja [“lord”] and zade [“born of”]are Persian words.  The term khoja was used by the Armenians in eastern Armenia, Iran and India in reference to rich merchants.

 

**Hana – The correct transliteration of the name as it appears is Yana, but there is no such name listed in dictionaries.  Sine the initial Y is pronounced H in Modern Armenian, the name is Hana, presumably a form of Anna.

***Shayin – In this name also the letter Y should be read as H.  Shahin appears in various forms, but it is a male name, whereas the person mentioned in the above inscription is a female.  Shayin may be the shorter form of Shahinar.

 

****Ovdan 2 – corresponds to January 16 (Julian calendar) and January 27 (Gregorian calendar), 1729.

Further notes on image 3142

* Evum - H. Adjarian, in his Dictionary of Armenian Personal Names, vol. 2, states that Evum, a name of unknown etymology, is mentioned but once in an 18th century document.  The document is dated 1727-1729.  This inscription is obviously the second place where the name appears in written form.

 

** The date – Nirhan 7, 161 of “the Lesser Era” corresponds to AD 1777, February 20 (Julian); March 3 (Gregorian).

Further notes on image 3159

 

SHE WAS BLOSSOMING WITH FRUIT,* [WHEN] SHE DEPARTED THIS LIFE.**

SHE WAS THE CONSORT OF STEPANNOS [= STEPHAN]

CALLED SON OF AGHABAB.

DESCENDED FROM A [NEW] JULFA FAMILY

NAMED EREWANTS.

SHE WAS RAISED AS A VIRTUOUS DAUGHTER

[TO ONE] NAMED NAZAR TILAN.***

INVITED BY THE CREATOR

SHE PASSED AWAY AT THE AGE OF NINETEEN,

IN THE YEAR ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED,

EXTENDED BY EIGHTY-FOUR [YEARS];

AS MARCH TWENTYFOURTH CAME IN,****

SHE RESIGNED FROM THIS WORLD.

 

* Blossoming with fruit – is presumably in reference to the pregnant state of the deceased.

 

** [When] she departed this Life – is the translation of barely legible and partially damaged two words at the end of the line 4 – which I am reconstructing as “keans vechareal”.

 

*** Nazar Tilan – appears in the nominative case instead of the dative, which one would expect.  This may be due to the fact that all of the sixteen lines in the epitaph end with past participles ending in –eal [the nominative form of the past participle].  Putting the name Nazar Tilan in the dative case would have required putting the participle modifying the name in the dative form as well and disrupting the rhyme. 

 

**** The deceased passed away on March 24, 1784.  The Armenian wording suggests that she died in the early hours of March 24.

 Note from Father Krikor:

"It has a sad story to tell about a very young woman with child.  Her family name Tilan appears in the list of families that lived in New Julfa.  There was also a Tilanian family living in 19th century Russia."

Extract from 'Armenians in India' by Mesrovb Seth:

Stephen Agabob's first wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of one Nazar Milan, had died on the 24th March, 1784 at the age of 15 and is buried in the Armenian cemetery at Surat. Old Agabob, who evidently had a passion for girl wives, died in 1802, aged 61 years and lies buried in the Surat cemetery.

 

Further notes on image 020

* Shams 4 – corresponds to March 24 (Julian) and April 4 (Gregorian).

 

** The final two words in the last line (line 5) are abbreviated.  In the first of the two words a single ligature reads SOWR = SUR- and the word ends with the letters TS, and

seems to spell Surat + S.  The final -S is probably the definite article which simply indicates the place where the grave is.  The second and final word in the line reads HNGTI, on top of which, clearly visible, is the abbreviation sign.  The best I can suggest is the word HANGIST, meaning “rest,” that could also mean cemetery or place of eternal rest in the genitive/dative form of the word, presumably used as a locative. 

                A more remote possibility would be “at the port of Surat.”  The regular word for “port” in Armenian is “nawahangist,” ”naw” meaning “ship.”    

 

 

 

 

 

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