Hussenig/Ulukent, circa 1895. Members of the Sadoian family (detail from the original photo).

Edwin Sadoian collection - Fresno

This page is dedicated to Edwin Sadoian's ancestors who hailed from Hussenig (present-day Ulukent) and Morenig (present day Çatalçeşme). Hussenig and Morenig are situated in the Harput/Kharpert plain. Family members immigrated to the States before 1915.

The paternal side of Edwin’s family was originally from Hussenig. Edwin's father, Khachadoor Sadoain, was born in Hussenig in 1909. Khachadoor's father was Hovhannes Sadoian and his wife was Sarah Sadoian. We can trace back to Edwin's great-grandparents: Mardiros Sadoian and the great-grandmother who can be seen in the photos displayed on this page but whose name is unknown. The Sadoians were 5 brothers: Mardiros, Mihran, Harutiun, Arakel and Edwin's father Khachadoor.

Edwin's maternal side of the family was originally from Morenig. His maternal great-grandparents were: Yughaper Rustigian and Zakar Rustigian. Edwin's maternal grandmother was Varter Avakian (née Rustigian), and his grandfather was Yeprem Avakian. Their daughter Pailadzoo Avakian is Edwin's mother, who was born in 1902 and went to the States when she was 3 years old. The great-grandparents Yughaper and Zakar had 4 daughters: Varter and 3 others (their names are unknown) and 3 sons: John, Yeghia and Avedis. Edwin's grandfather Yeprem Avakian was born in Morenig in 1876 and died in the US in 1968; he had immigrated to the States early on. Yeprem also had a brother whose name was Asadour Avakian.

Edwin's parents Khachadoor Sadoian and Pailadzoo Avakian married in the States in 1916.

From left to right: Mardiros Sadoian (Edwin’s paternal uncle) standing first from the left, Hovhannes Sadoian (Edwin’s paternal grandfather) seated, Mihran Sadoian (Edwin’s paternal uncle) standing second from the left, the seated (second from the left) woman's name is unknown - she is Edwin’s great-grandmother and Mardiros Sadoian's wife, Harutiun Sadoian (Edwin’s paternal uncle) standing third from the left, Mardiros Sadoian (Edwin’s great-grandfather) seated on the far right, and Sarah Sadoian (Edwin’s grandmother) standing on the right.

The parents (Sarah and Hovhannes) and grandparents (Mardiros and his wife) didn’t make it to America, but the sons immigrated in 1909. The boys planned to go back to their hometown but the Genocide interrupted their plans.

From left to right: the identities of the woman standing on the left and the woman sitting first from the left are unknown, grandmother Sadoian is sitting second from the left (Edwin’s great grandmother), Hovhannes Sadoian is standing (Edwin’s grandfather) in the middle, Mardiros Sadoian is sitting (Edwin’s great grandfather) on the far right, while Mardiros Sadoian (Edwin’s uncle) is standing on the right in the back. None of them could join family members in the US; they probably perished during the Genocide.

1. Postcard displaying the Church Sourp Varvar on the left, the Armenian school in the middle, and the Protestant Church on the right in Hussenig.

2. The backside of the postcard on the left. It is dated 1920, and the writing in Armenian reads: « Նուէր Գալիֆօրնիայի Հիւսէնիկցիներուն », a gift to the Hussenig community in California. It is addressed to a Hovhanness Azadian at 138 Charles Street.

The St. Varvar church was built in 1856. The plan was drawn by Garabed Amira, an architect from Agn. The constructions works were carried out under the control of 3 masters from Hussenig: Hagop Vahanian, Manoug Benneyian, and Kevork Konjoian. The church was built from stone and had three altars: St. Varvar, St. Asdvadzadzin and St. Garabed. In 1888, a donation from Hussenig compatriots, who had immigrated to the States, made it possible to cast a church bell, which was transported all the way to Hussenig. In 1895, during anti-Armenian massacres, local Turkish begs ordered the bell to be taken down.

There was a small spring which ran under the altars of the church. St. Varvar was also famous for eye treatments; as such, pilgrims from near or far, suffering from eye ache, would come to St. Varvar on Saturdays, they would approach the shining lamp on the altar after mass, and the priest would take the mortar from the lamp and would put it on the pilgrim's aching eye, this was accompanied by prayers.

Members of the Sadoian family in Hussenig. From left to right: the Sadoian son (Edwin’s paternal uncle), grandmother Sadoian (Edwin’s great-grandmother, name unknown), and another Sadoian son (Edwin’s paternal uncle).

The Rustigian family. From left to right: the two sisters standing first and second from the left are Edwin’s maternal great aunts, their names are unknown, Yughaper Rustigian is seated first from the left, she is Edwin’s great-grandmother, standing behind her is John Rustigian, he is Edwin’s great uncle, sitting second from the left is one of Edwin’s great aunts, Zakar Rustigian is sitting third from the left, he is Edwin’s great-grandfather, Yeghia Rustigian is the little boy standing fourth from the left, he is one of Edwin’s maternal great uncles, Avedis Rustigian is sitting on the far right, he is Edwin’s maternal great uncle), and Varter Rustigian is standing on the far right, she is Edwin’s maternal grandmother.

A family tree showing the Sadoain ancestors going back to Edwin Sadoian's great-great-great grandfather Tovmas Sadoian.

The brief family history on the left top corner of the page tells the story of three brothers who were originally from Kars but who had to flee to Hussenig. Life took the brothers in different directions - Cilicia, Damascus etc. Each took a different surname based on circumstances; Edwin's ancestor took the surname Sadoian since, according to the family history, he had bought land from a Turk named Sado. The other brothers of the Sadoian forefather took the surnames Jamgochian (family members had become sextons, whence the surname Jamgochian - jamgoch means sexton in Armenian), Soujigil (they worked as water carriers, whence their surname Soujigil - sou means water in Turkish) and the ones who moved to Damascus (also known as Al-Sham in Arabic) were called Shamlian.

To see a more legible version of the tree, please click here.

The Sadoian family from left to right: Sarah Sadoian (Edwin’s grandmother) standing on the left; Mardiros Sadoian (Edwin’s great grandfather) sitting first from the left; Harutiun Sadoian (Edwin’s uncle) standing in the back second from the left; Mihran Sadoian (Edwin’s uncle) standing in the front; Mrs. Sadoian (Edwin’s great grandmother) sitting in the middle, name unknown; Khachadoor Sadoian (Edwin’s father) standing third from the left in the back row; Hovhannes Sadoian (Edwin’s grandfather) sitting on the far right; and Arakel Sadoian (Edwin’s uncle) standing on the far right in the back with his hand on Hovhannes's shoulder. 

This photograph was taken just before the family left for America.

From left to right: Varter Avakian (Edwin’s grandmother), Pailadzoo Avakian (Varter's daughter, Edwin’s mother), Asadour Avakian (Edwin’s great uncle).

Varter’s husband Yeprem Avakian was already waiting in America, where he worked and became a citizen before sending for his family. Yeprem was a student at the Euphrates College (Kharpert/Harput) before going to America.