Author: Hrad Poladian, 30/03/21 (Last modified 30/03/21)
This is the story of our families, as remembered by my mother, Zarouhi Poladian (nee Sayan). She shared it with me and my nephew, Dr. Leon Poladian, in 1988, in Toronto, during the latter’s first visit to Canada.
I never met my grandfather, Hagop Poladian. All we know about him is that he was born in Ourfa, and that in 1878, he married Hripsime Sayan (my Medz Mayrig (“grandmother”)). She was also from Ourfa. They had four children: Nerses, Perouz, Levon (my father), and Dikran. Hripsime was very young, and always tried to hide from her husband when he returned from his travels, which sometimes lasted more than three months. We don’t know exactly what type of work he did on these trips, but in those days, this was how men supported their families. One day, he returned home with severe dysentery. He died from it, in Ourfa, in the early 1900s.
On the other hand, I remember Medz Mayrig very well. She told us the tales of Akhtar Boudarig while putting us to bed. I also remember her asking me to tread on her back and crack her spine. Hripsime Poladian passed away on 18 July 1947, in Cairo, Egypt. Only a few weeks later, her son, Levon Poladian (my father), also passed away.
Like many Armenians in Egypt, we prepared to leave for Soviet Armenia when the Great Repatriation (Nerkaght) movement began after the Second World War. However, my father’s death in 1947 altered our fate. All my uncles, cousins, and other relatives moved to Armenia, some in 1947, and others in 1948. At the time, we believed we would join them later, but the cholera epidemic forced a suspension of maritime travel to and from Cairo. Consequently, we remained in Egypt and grew up there.
On my mother’s (Zarouhi Poladian) side, the family tree starts with Krikor Sayan and his wife Mariam. We do not know when they were married, nor do we know Mariam’s maiden name. We only know that Krikor Sayan was born in Ourfa, probably in the late 1800s, and was killed in the Ottoman Empire around 1915, during the Armenian Genocide. As the family tree indicates, the couple had nine children: Hripsime, Srpouhi, Haroutioun, Hagop, Maireni, Persape, Loussia, Eliza, and Sarkis.
Among these children, Haroutioun was the father of Zarouhi Sayan. He married Marie Ourfalian, and they were blessed with a son, Hrant, and a daughter, Zarouhi (my mother). Marie was born in 1891 and died sometime after 1935. Haroutioun was born around 1888, in Ourfa, and died in 1912, in Adana. Zarouhi Sayan was the cousin of Levon Poladian, son of Hripsime Poladian (nee Sayan).
It is not known when Hripsime came to Egypt. However, the records of the Citizenship and Naturalization Archives of Egypt indicate that my father entered the country in 1912.
My uncle Nerses Poladian married Vartanoush in the 1920s. They were blessed with two children: Perouz, born in 1924 in Cairo; and Hagop, born in 1926 in Beirut, Lebanon.
My aunt Perouz Poladian was born in Ourfa in the early 1900s. In Egypt, she married Mihran Saboujian, and died very young, sometime before 1924.
My uncle Dikran never married and worked as a city bus driver. He departed Egypt for Armenia in 1948 and died in Yerevan sometime after 1970.
My father, Levon Poladian, was born in Ourfa in 1896. He married my mother Zarouhi Sayan in 1930, in Cairo. They were blessed with three boys: Arto, Noubar, and Hrad (yours truly).
The Poladian-Sayan family. Standing, left to right: Mayreni Haladjian (nee Sayan, Ovsanna Der Sarkissian’s mother), Levon Poladian, Persape Sayan-Gebenlian (Varoujan’s mother), Elisa Kouyoumdjian (nee Sayan, Victoria Mikaelian’s mother), and Hadji Meguerditch (Eliza’s husband).
Seated, left to right: Hagop (Zmroot’s husband), Krikor Sayan and his wife Mariam, and an unidentified person. The little girl standing in the front row is also unidentified.