We were provided these photographs by Ann Talanian (nee Vartabedian), who is the daughter of Reuben/Roupen Vartabedian (1893-1983). The photographs depict members of the Vartabedian family, who lived in the town of Husenig (present-day Ulukent) in the Harput Valley. Gabriel Vartabedian and his wife Anna (nee Bozoyan) had four daughters – Maritsa (1891-1967), Anjel, Sarah (born in 1892), and Zabel – and one son – Roupen. The Vartabedians were successful silkworm keepers. They ran a factory in town and lived in an elegant mansion. Gabriel’s father, Boghos Vartabedian, was a graduate of the silkworm keeping school in Bursa.
Gabriel and Anna’s children attended the local school of Husenig. We also know that at a later time, Anjel attended Euphrates College, located in the neighboring city of Harput/Kharpert. She married an Armenian lawyer from Diyarbekir/Dikranagerd, by the name of Shekhloyian (his given name unknown). After her marriage, Anjel moved to her husband’s hometown. The Shekhloyian was native to Harput. As for the other Vartabedian children, Sarah and Maritsa emigrated to the United States around 1907, and married Hampartsoum Boghossian and Krikor Aroyan, respectively. A few years later, Sarah returned to Husenig for some time, but went back to the United States in 1913.
Aside from Sarah, Roupen, and Maritsa, all other members of the family were killed during the Genocide.
The Vartabedian family, Husenig, 1907. From left to right – Anjel Vartabedian; Anna Vartabedian (nee Bozoyan), with Zabel Vartabedian in her lap; Roupen Vartabedian; and Gabriel Vartabedian. Photographed by the Soursourian brothers.
Husenig, 1911. On the right is Roupen Vartabedian, enlisting in the Ottoman Army. Beside him, seated, is a Turkish commander in the Ottoman Army. The identity of the third man is unknown. It is said that during the years of the Genocide, while the rest of the Armenian population of Harput was being massacred, Roupen was saved by this commander. Photographed by the Soursourian brothers.
Husenig, circa 1912/1913. Members of the Vartabedian and Shekhloyian families. From left to right – Skekhloyian; Anjel Shekhloyian (nee Vartabedian); Anna Vartabedian (nee Bozoyan, Anjel’s mother); Sarah Vartabedian (later Boghossian). Photographed by the Soursourian brothers.
1) Husenig, 1913. On the left is Sarah Boghossian (nee Vartabedian), and on the right, her sister Anjel Shekhloyian (nee Vartabedian). Photographed by the Soursourian brothers. This photograph was taken on the eve of Sarah’s departure to the United States. Thus, she was spared the massacres that, two years later, would bring about the extermination of the Armenian population in Harput.
2) Husenig, circa 1905. Anna Vartabedian (nee Bozoyan) and her husband, Gabriel Vartabedian. In the photograph, Anna is noticeably pregnant with her daughter Zabel.
Husenig, circa 1905. Standing, from left to right – Roupen Vartabedian, Sarah Vartabedian (later Boghossian), Anjel Vartabedian (later Shekhloyian), and Maritsa Vartabedian. Seated, from left to right – Anna Vartabedian (nee Bozoyan) and Gabriel Vartabedian. Photographed by the Soursourian brothers.