Sahagian-Getronagan Elementary School, Malatya, 1912

Vorperian collection - Yerevan

The Vorperian family collection was put at our disposal by Eliza Vorperian, who currently lives in Armenia. The Vorperian family archive dates back to the late 1800's and mainly entails materials from Malatya, from Eliza Vorperian's paternal side of the family. The root of the family surname vorp means orphan in Armenian, and according to Nshan Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's father), who wrote the Vorperian family history, the origin of the family's surname is related to the fact that the three brothers who are considered the family's forefathers were orphans. Descendants of the Vorperian family are spread all over the world, they mainly live in Armenia, France, England, Ethiopia, Canada, Egypt, USA, Brazil, Austria, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Russia and Turkey. The family history presented here is based on Nshan Vorperian's (born in Romans, France in 1934 - died in Providence, USA in 2016) writings on his family micro-history and most photographs bear Khosrov Vorperian's (born in Malatya in 1900 - died in Yerevan, Armenia in 1973, he is Nshan Vorperian's father) handwritten notes on the back identifying the people in the photographs.

The tray was made sometime between 1900 and 1910 in Malayta. It is copper with tin-plating with a diameter of 95cm and a depth of 3cm. The tray was formerly served as a dinner table; it was put on a wooden stool and all family members gathered around for dinner.

The idea of engraving the genealogical tree first occurred to Senekerim Garabed Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's paternal great-grandfather) and Mgerdich Sarkis Vorperian who were born during the last quarter of the 19th century. They used valid birth and death records of the family members.

The tray was always kept in the house of Senekerim Garabed Vorperian in Malatya. Senekerim was killed during the Genocide. During the years following the Genocide, when Senekerim’s wife Yeghisapet (born Berberian) and her children left the country, the tray was kept at the elder daughter Isgouhi’s (Eliza Vorperian's paternal grandfather Khosrov's elder sister) house, who was married to Saghatel Khraian. After Isgouhi’s death (in the 1930's), her daughter Khanuom, who still lived in Malatya, kept the tray until the 1960's; she then sent it to relatives in Armenia.

In the 1920's, before fleeing to Aleppo with his mother Yeghisabet and three unmarried sisters, Nvart, Vartouhi and Khatoun, Khosrov Vorperian (Nshan Vorperian's father and Eliza Vorpeian's paternal grandfather), Senekerim's son, copied the carvings of the tray by spreading a canvas on it, dipping a spoon into coal-dust and applying it on the spread canvas. He took this canvas with him.

Khosrov Vorperian had survived the Genocide, thus he knew who had died and who had survived. For all those who had perished during the Genocide, he added a cross and the date 1915 next to their name on the family tree.

The names of 9 generations reaching up to the beginning of the 20th century are engraved on the tray, while the names of the 3 generations who were born in the last century were added in 1974. Fulfilling the desire of the deceased Khosrov Vorperian, his son Nshan and the Ethiopian-Armenian Vardges Nalbandian (he is Kevork Vorperian's grandson, his mother is Elize Vorperian-Nalbandian - Kevork Vorperian's daughter), drew the genealogical tree on another canvas of 120/120cm, adding the names of the last three new generations of the last 60 years. At present, the genealogical tree is 300-350 years old.

The principle of the genealogical tree is as follows: the names of all born children are written, however only the generations of sons are continued, without the generations of married daughters, however this is with some exceptions which were added at the time and at a later stage. The names of 216 members are in the family tree, 50 members were killed during the Genocide (you can see the full list of all victims further down).

The family trees of three famous families from Malatya: the Moumjian, Aslanian and Vorperian families.

A kindergarten/school photo from Malatya. Zabel Moumjian is sitting on the floor in the first row, there is an Armenian "զ" for "z" for her first name Zabel and a number 1 above her head. She is Eliza Vorperian's father's maternal aunt.

The identities of the people allocated with numbers in the photograph are as follows:

  1. 1. Nshan Vorperian (Garabed Vorperian's son, he is Eliza Vorperian's great-grandfather Senekerim's brother)
  2. 2. Nshan Vorperian's wife Varter Vorperian
  3. 3. Isgouhi Vorperian (Senekerim's daughter, she is Eliza Vorperian's father's paternal aunt)
  4. 4. Nshan Vorperian's son Manuel Vorperian
  5. 5. Nshan Vorperian's son Garabed Vorperian
  6. 6. Nshan Vorperian's daughter Lousntag Vorperian

It is Nshan Vorperian who wrote down all the information he had on family members and people he recognized in the photographs, this includes the information about where the survivors had immigrated to, this info is from the 1960's and the whereabouts of these people may have changed afterwards.

The identities of the people allocated with numbers in the photograph are as follows:

  1. 1. Haroutyoun Lekerjian, later went to Frezno
  2. 2. Khosrov Sarafian, Adour agha’s son, died in 1939.
  3. 3. Setrag Moumjian, Maro's husband and Haroutyoun's son, died in Malatya in 1915.
  4. 4. Gabriel Ansarlian, died in 1915.
  5. 5. Khatchadour Bonapardian, later went to Los Angeles.
  6. 6. Professor Mgerdich Vorperian, Sarkis Vorperian's son, died in 1915.
  7. 7. Professor Samuel Khatchadourian, later went to Egypt.

The names of 1915 victims from the Vorperian family as marked on the family tree:

  1. 1. Vorperian Arto, son of Mgerdich Vorperian
  2. 2. Vorperian Srpouhi, daughter of Arto Vorperian
  3. 3. Vorperian Manishag, daughter of Arto Vorperian
  4. 4. Vorperian Vartouhi, daughter of Arto Vorperian
  5. 5. Vorperian Barkev, son of Arto Vorperian (descendants live in Egypt and the USA)
  6. 6. Vorperian Mariam, daughter of Vorperian Bedros
  7. 7. Vorperian Sarkis, son of Vorperian Bedros
  8. 8. Vorperian Zartouhi, daughter of Sarkis Vorperian
  9. 9. Vorperian Levon, son of Sarkis Vorperian
  10. 10. Vorperian Krikor, son of Bedros Vorperian
  11. 11. Vorperian Hovhannes, son of Krikor Vorperian
  12. 12. Vorperian Napoleon, son of Krikor Vorperian
  13. 13. Vorperian Yeghisapeth, daughter of Krikor Vorperian
  14. 14. Vorperian Missag, son of Krikor Vorperian (descendants live in the USA)
  15. 15. Vorperian Khatchadour, son of Kevork Vorperian (Yanoukhian)
  16. 16. Vorperian Hagop, son of Kevork Vorperian (Yanoukhian)
  17. 17. Vorperian Senekerim, son of Sarkis Vorperian (Bonjuklian)
  18. 18. Vorperian Eduard, son of Senekerim Vorperian (Bonjuklian)
  19. 19. Vorperian Dikran, son of Senekerim Vorperian (Bonjuklian) (descendants live in Iraq, USA and Armenia)
  20. 20. Vorperian Mgerdich, son of Krikor Vorperian
  21. 21. Vorperian ----------, child of Mgerdich Vorperian
  22. 22. Vorperian ----------, child of Mgerdich Vorperian
  23. 23. Vorperian Kevork, son of Garabed Vorperian (descendants live in Syria and the USA)
  24. 24. Vorperian Yeghisabet, daughter of Mariam Vorperian
  25. 25. Vorperian Silap, daughter of Yeghisabet Vorperian
  26. 26. Vorperian Manuel, son of Yeghisabet Vorperian
  27. 27. Vorperian Mariam, daughter of Hagop Vorperian
  28. 28. Vorperian Hovhannes, son of Hagop Vorperian
  29. 29. Vorperian Haroutyoun, son of Hagop Vorperian (descendants live in France)
  30. 30. Vorperian Hovhannes, son of Asadour Vorperian
  31. 31. Vorperian Nartouhi, daughter of Hovhannes Vorperian
  32. 32. Vorperian Arshalouys, daughter of Hovhannes Vorperian
  33. 33. Vorperian Asadour, son of Hovhannes Vorperian (descendants live in Ethiopia and the USA)
  34. 34. Vorperian Mariam, daughter of Asadour Vorperian
  35. 35. Vorperian Anna, daughter of Mariam Vorperian
  36. 36. Vorperian Kegham, son of Mariam Vorperian (descendants live in Ethiopia, Canada, England, Brazil and the USA)
  37. 37. Vorperian Mgerdich, son of Sarkis Vorperian
  38. 38. Vorperian Vahan, son of Mgredich Vorperian
  39. 39. Vorperian Avedis, son of Sarkis Vorperian
  40. 40. Vorperian Armenouhi, daughter of Avedis Vorperian
  41. 41. Vorperian Sahag, son of Avedis Vorperian
  42. 42. Vorperian Mesrop, son of Avedis Vorperian
  43. 43. Vorperian Margarit, daughter of Sarkis Vorperian (descendants live in the USA)
  44. 44. Vorperian Nshan, son of Garabed Vorperian
  45. 45. Vorperian Lousntag, daughter of Nshan Vorperian
  46. 46. Vorperian Manuel, son of Nshan Vorperian
  47. 47. Vorperian Garabed, son of Nshan Vorperian
  48. 48. Vorperian Senekerim, son of Garabed Vorperian
  49. 49. Vorperian Haroutyun, son of Senekerim Vorperian
  50. 50. Vorperian Vartanoush, daughter of Senekerim Vorperian (descendants live in Armenia, USA, Turkey, Russia and Bulgaria)

Standing from left to right are: Maro Moumjian (born Arslanian, Eliza Vorperian's grandmother's mother), Siranoush Moumjian (Eliza Vorperian's paternal grandmother) and wearing white is Setrag Moumjian's sister (name unknown). Seated from left to right are: Setrag Moumjian (Eliza Vorperian's grandmother's father) and Setrag Moumjian's mother. The children standing in the front row, from left to right: the little boy wearing a white dress is Sebouh Moumjian (Setrag's son), the little girl is Zabel Moumjian (Setrag's daughter) and the boy wearing a black vest is Haroutyoun Moumjian (Setrag's son).

The identities of the people allocated with numbers in the photograph are as follows:

  1. 1. Krikor Agha Aslanian
  2. 2. Haroutyoun Efendi Aslanian
  3. 3. Mgerdich Aslanian

Standing from left to right are: Nartouhi, Mgerdich and Khoren Aslanians, they are Krikor Agha Aslanian's grandchildren.

The first to third grade students of the Sahagian-Getronagan school in Malatya. The photo was taken in 1912. The first boy from the left standing in the last row, with the indicated x sign above his head is Manuel Nshan Vorperian.

Malatya, 1910's. Sarkis Bonjuklian (Senekerim Vorperian's son) and Manuel Vorperian (Nshan Vorperian's son). The Bonjuklian branch of the family also bore the Vorperian surname, however a member of the family left for Jerusalem, became Hadji and returned in clothes decorated with beads (the bead in Turkish is boncuk), thus their surname became Bonjuklian.

Turkish Republic years

The photographs in this section of the collection date from the Turkish Republic years. There are photographs from family members who had relocated to Istanbul, and other rare photographs from family members who had stayed in Malatya. There is correspondence between family members from Malatya and cousins in Armenia dating from the late 1930's.

Istanbul, 1926. Siranoush Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's paternal grandmother) is seated in the middle in the first row. Siranoush Setrak Vorperian (born Moumjian) was born in Malatya in 1904 and died in Yerevan, Armenia in 1990.

1. July 9, 1930, Istanbul. Jouhar Moumjian (maiden and married surname), Garabed Moumjian's wife, and her son Albert Moumjian who was born in Istanbul. The family later immigrated to the United States.

2. October 13, 1926, Istanbul. The seated on the second row, third from the left is Siranoush Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's paternal grandmother).

1. The Vorperian family members in Istanbul.

2. Picnic in Istanbul, the lady with the white shirt is Siranoush Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's paternal grandmother).

Siranoush Vorperian (standing first from the right) and her paternal aunt Nartouhi (seated first from the right) in Istanbul.

1. Mariam Ansourlian (Khosrov Vorperian's maternal aunt's daughter) with her family in Malatya.

2. Malatya, 1932. Isgouhi Armagan, (1900-1935, born Vorperian, Senekerim's daughter and Khosrov Vorperian's older sister) and her family. Her husband Hovsep Armagan (1884-1946) is seated next to her.

The postcard addressed to Khosrov Vorperian reads:

  1. Khosrov,
  2. My brother whom I've missed dearly, please accept our photographs, this way you'll miss us less...
  3. Your grievous brother-in-law and sister
  4. January 11, 1932
  5. Malatya
  6. May the Mother Mary keep us safe...

1. The girl on the left is Khanoum. She is Khosrov Vorperian's elder sister Isgouhi's daughter. The photo is taken in Malatya. From the writings on the back of the card, we understand that it is a Christmas card.

2. Mariam Ansourlian's (Khosrov Vorperian's maternal aunt's daughter) children in Malatya, names unknown.

Both photos show Khanoum (Khosrov Vorperian's elder sister Isgouhi's daughter) and her brother in Malatya.

From left to right are: Manuel Vorperian (Nshan's son), Yeghisapet Vorperian (Senekerim's wife, seated) and Khatoun Vorperian, the child on Yeghisapet's lap is Khosrov's sister's son as written on the back of the photograph by Khosrov himself.

1. The identities of the people in this photograph are unknown.

2. Khosrov Vorperian (Eliza Vorperian's grandfather) is holding his elder sister's, Isgouhi's daughter, Khanoum on his lap. Khanoum is the one who sent the family tray with the family tree engraved on it to Armenia. She had stayed in Malatya while some part of her family, including her uncle, had moved to Armenia.