Monday, February 18, 2019

Recovering the stories of the Armenians of Asia

How could you come to be keen on the Armenian people group of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth hundreds of years in Asia?

My enthusiasm for Armenian ancestry in Asia started in light of my own family ancestry in India and Dacca [Dhaka]. Like many individuals here in the UK I was interested about my family's past yet really knew next to no about my own family name. My dad didn't talk much about his life as a tyke in India and obviously when he passed away it was past the point of no return for inquiries. His sibling had been killed in the Second World War at 17 years old. Their dad had additionally passed on during the 1940s and I was exceptionally youthful when their mom kicked the bucket, so there just was nobody that I was aware of who could inform me concerning the India association. My mom gave me somewhat data and equipped with that I made a trip to the British Library in London to perceive what I could find. I before long understood that there were numerous individuals with the name Chater in India and I concluded that it is helpful to attempt and record everybody in the documents with my surname, to attempt and construct a greater picture. It wasn't well before I discovered references to my Chater line in Calcutta and Dacca, and that was the spring-load up for an incredible voyage.

Lower Circular Road Cemetery, Kolkata, where various Chater relatives are let go.

Normally my examination drove on to a more extensive accumulation of Armenian names. It occurred to me that there was almost no data accessible at the time (around the year 2000) online that was Armenian related. Instinctually, I needed to attempt and get the Armenian family nearness India into a progressively available spot to help other people who may likewise be searching for their very own Armenian associations in India. I made my site (, and began putting general Armenian family ancestry related data on it. Obviously when you are investigating, you are always working in reverse and it wasn't some time before my enquiries had taken me from the mid twentieth century, back to the nineteenth and significantly prior to the late-eighteenth hundreds of years and past. The further back I went the more charmed in Armenian family ancestry I moved toward becoming and constantly a response to an inquiry regularly made more inquiries. I started to build up an a lot further intrigue—an energy for Armenian family ancestry in Asia. I immediately remembered it as one of the less well known parts of ancestry in India. With just a bunch of individuals who had embraced research on Armenians and their families in India, it made me much increasingly resolved to get required at roots level. Helping individuals understand their very own history, especially in the event that it contains an Armenian association, is essential to me.

You notice your scan for your family establishes in Dhaka and Kolkata. Who were the Chaters here?

In the same way as other Armenians who settled in Asia, my specific Chater line moved to India from Persia. I am extremely lucky that the family authoritative handbook for my branch has endure. The most punctual passage in the book of scriptures is of Arakiel Chater, child of Abraham Martyrose and Magdalene Chater. It states he was conceived on October 11, 1832 at 7am. Tuesday in Dacca. It proceeds to record that Arakiel wedded Miss Elizabeth Florentine on October 4, 1851 and that she kicked the bucket on November 20, 1857 at 6pm on a Friday. The good book records their kids and different ages as well.

Report recording that Arakiel and Elizabeth's first tyke was conceived on May 13, 1853 Copyright: Liz Chater

In the picture gave it tends to be seen that Arakiel and Elizabeth's first kid was conceived on May 13, 1853, whom they named Magdalene. A second youngster, Elizabeth was conceived on February 2, 1856 on a Saturday and that she unfortunately passed on the October 5, 1880, in spite of the fact that it doesn't state where.

While helping with the Bangladesh Armenian Heritage Project, what has been energizing for me actually is the way toward sorting out the interpreting and deciphering of the Church registers. These will in the long run be added to the Church site. In any case, what ought to be borne at the top of the priority list is that the Dhaka Church registers are not the first ones. Those appear to have vanished long prior—the registers the Heritage Project are working with are ones that are a lot later duplicates, most likely reviewed during the 1950s or 1960s. In any case, having got them interpreted to English, I have possessed the capacity to coordinate sections from these records with those entered in my family book of scriptures.

References to the Chater family found in the registers of the Armenian Church. Copyright: Armenian Church

Arakiel turned into an assistant in a Judge's office in Arrah, Mymensingh and Dinajpore. One of his seventeen youngsters was my incredible granddad Abraham who turned into a Post Master working in Port Blair for a long time, at that point later Calcutta, Patna and Bankipore. Abraham proceeded to have something like thirteen offspring of his own, some of whom did not endure outset.

I have discovered the records at the British Library significant in my own examination. Other than the absolution, marriage and internment returns, there are various different records accessible for discussion. For instance military papers, wills and home inventories, catalogs, papers, East India records, individual papers, Parliamentary and Treasury papers, Marine Department records, for example, boats' diaries and logs, transmitted, traditions, knowledge and mystery records, and considerably more.

Already, you have taken a shot at the parentages of the graves in the Armenian Church in Dhaka. Would you be able to enlighten us concerning that venture?

I have made a few outings to India, especially Kolkata and over the span of each visit, I tried shooting the same number of Armenian graves and headstones as I could. On returning home I invested energy interpreting the ones in English and transferring them on to my site. The Armenian ones were trickier. I don't talk or peruse Armenian, yet I was blessed that an Armenian understudy from Kolkata I met on one of my outings shared my energy for history and with his assistance, alongside the assistance of one of the Armenian educators, just as various other individuals including Professor Sebouh Aslanian, these language-bolted stones are by and by recounting their accounts, however this time in English. As I gained ground with the Armenian gravestones in India, I directed my concentration toward the ones in Dhaka. I procured a picture taker to catch every one of the stones inside the compound of the Armenian Church and by and by begin deciphering those I could, and getting proficient help for the ones written in Armenian. The Very Reverend Fr Krikor Maksoudian's assistance was priceless in such manner.

The Chater family book of scriptures. Courtes: Liz Chater

The Armenian people group in Asia has such a rich history, the stones will one day erode and those individuals who lay underneath and the accounts of their separate lives will be lost and overlooked. In the event that I am ready to make a commitment to the conservation of the Armenian nearness in Asia then I will be satisfied to have a little influence in that.

Amid an excursion to Kolkata in 2005, I was lucky to be offered authorization to get to one of the numerous submersion, marriage and internment registers of the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth. I could photo the extremely early immersion register sections between 1793– 1859. It was obviously written in Armenian and I indeed needed to locate a patient and willing assistant to decipher and interpret them. It took around two years to finish the register and I was extremely upbeat to give all the work to The Families in British India Society ( for their developing database of unreservedly accessible information.

What are you taking a shot at as of now? How has been the reaction about the undertaking with the congregation in Dhaka?

At present, the Bangladesh Armenian Heritage Project is the primary focal point of my consideration. In the course of the most recent couple of months we have made interests to any individual who may have had a family association with the Armenian people group of Dhaka anytime amid the historical backdrop of the congregation. Considering the network's numbers have dependably been little in Dhaka, both Armen Arslanian (superintendent of the congregation) and I are extremely satisfied with the reaction and commitments that have been made up until now. We have been offered access to individual family files, containing an abundance of business related reports, photos and stories.

Armenian artist Rouben Karakhanian who visited the Armenian Church Dhaka during the 1930s. Affability: Liz Chater

A totally unforeseen side-story that has become known is of an Armenian performer called Rouben Karakhanian. In 1935 Rouben was in Kolkata visiting the Armenian people group there. Making a trip on to Dhaka he played a show in the grounds of the congregation; the Armenian people group appreciated it enormously. The performer found a most mindful gathering of people and another companion in a youthful multi year old Armenian, Ruben David who was living with his uncle and family at the congregation who happened to be the occupant minister, Reverend Ter Bagrat. The performer gave the youthful Ruben two marked photos that wound up loved assets of Ruben's family, and we are enchanted that the David family are offering their chronicle to the Heritage Project. What is significantly increasingly unprecedented is that when I was talking through this disclosure with Armen, he was somewhat shocked, as a young man, he met the artist 30 years after the fact in the late 1960s at his own home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rouben Karakhanian had been welcomed by Armen's folks to play at their home. All of a sudden in 2018, as his very own result arrangement of life occasions, Armen, as superintendent of the Armenian Church in Dhaka wound up recollecting a long overlooked memory of his initial adolescence. Armen says: "Taking a gander at the photo of Rouben the performer I end up being helped to remember a minute from my initial youth time that I had no clue would interface me to my future duties of the Armenian Church in Dhaka"— the uncommon hover of Armenian life, spreading over numerous decades and landmasses.

As a group, we are squeezing forward on crafted by the Bangladesh Arme


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