Armenian Kayseri, 1872

The 1872 defter, or taxation schedule, from Kayseri in Turkey (Gesaria or Kesaria in Armenian) is arranged by mahalle and, within that, by street. The taxpaying householders in each street are then listed. There were 8,119 taxpaying households in total in Kayseri in 1872.

At that date, Kayseri had a total of 108 recognised mahalleler or neighbourhoods, comprising between 16 and 352 households each, with the mean being 75 homes. 67 neighbourhoods were exclusively Turkish, 25 were Armenian, two were Kurdish and one was Greek. However, Greeks and Armenians lived together in some Christian quarters and there were seven neighbourhoods with a mixed Armenian/Turkish population.

The original archival material is in Osmanlı Turkish, written using a modified Arabic alphabet, and has been transliterated and transcribed into modern Turkish, which of course uses the Latin alphabet. One needs to understand the pronunciation of certain Turkish letters to be able to match them with the approximately corresponding letters used in English to spell Armenian names in transliteration. For example, the Turkish letter c may be the equivalent of j or dj, and ç and ş represent the sounds ch (or tch) and sh respectively.

Armenian and Greek personal names are rendered in Turkish style, using the suffix -oğlu to indicate “son of”, rather than an Armenian or Greek surname ending. The entries are terse and it is not always clear whether a surname has already been assumed by a family or, contrarily, a simple system of patronymics is still in use – for example, in the case of entries in the format “Manük oğlu Serkis”, it is not certain whether the individual in question is Sarkis Manoukian, or simply a Sarkis son of Manouk with no settled surname (or with a surname not recorded). Contrarily, when the entry is in the format “Demiroğlu Karabet”, it seems clear that the man’s name is Karabet (or Garabed) Demirian.

It is worth noting that the Armenians of Kayseri were native Turkish speakers.

I began by looking for surnames I knew from previous research to be associated with the town and/or sanjak of Kayseri. I was able to find only about one quarter of these. Either the other names were not from Kayseri itself but an outlying town or village, or they had not been taken by 1872 (which seems less likely).

Some of the names in the defter are simple to match to modern Armenian names, for example:

  • Arzuman oğlu Parsıh = Parsegh Arzumanian or Arzoumanian
  • Beyleroğlu Mardiros = Mardiros Beylerian
  • Erkiletlioğlu Karabet = Karabet Erkiletlian
  • Gürünlüoğlu Kesbar ve Avidis = (brothers) Kasbar and Avedis Gurunlian (or Gourounlian)
  • Kalaycıoğlu Mardiros = Mardiros Kalaydjian
  • Keşişoğlu Kalus = Kaloust Keshishian
  • Minasoğlu Hacı Agop = Agop Minasian
  • Odabaşıoğlu Agop = Agop Odabashian
  • Şahinoğlu Karabet = Karabet Shahinian
  • Seferoğlu Parsıh ve Artin = (brothers) Parsegh and Artin Seferian
  • Taşçıoğlu Ohanes = Ohanes Tashjian

Other names are less confident matches:

  • Acemoğlu Karabet = Karabet Ajemian
  • Dökmecioğlu Agop = Agop Deukmejian

The records mainly involve heads of household, as the taxpayers, and these are usually men – however, there are some women, perhaps mostly widows or women who had inherited property or had established a charitable trust (vakif).

Below are details of the Fırıncı mahallesi. Its name means simply “bakers’ neighbourhood” and it was a small, entirely Armenian quarter of the town, comprising just five streets with 23 taxpaying households, of which 21 are named in the defter. These households are shown in the table below.

street householder interpretation
Hamame Sokağı Kırnıkoğlu Hacı Karabet Karabet Kirnikian
Hamame Sokağı Mardinoğlu Karabet Karabet Mardinian
Hamame Sokağı Kazancıoğlu Hacı Agop Agop Kazandjian
Hamame Sokağı Acıroğlu Artın Artin Adjirian
Kazancı Sokağı Kazancıoğlu Murat Murat Kazandjian
Muytab Sokağı Ağlağanoğlu Hacı Agop Agop Aghlaghanian
Muytab Sokağı Keşişin oğlu kızı Meryem Miss Mariam Keshishian
Muytab Sokağı Köseoğlu kuyumcu Hacı Parsıh goldsmith Parsegh Keseian
Muytab Sokağı Külhancıoğlu Bedirus Bedros Kulhandjian
Muytab Sokağı Acıroğlu Keyfuruk Kevork Adjirian
Muytab Sokağı Çoduloğlu Agop Agop Tchodulian
Muytab Sokağı Ohanes oğlu Parsıh Parsegh Ohanesian, or Parsegh son of Ohanes
Muytab Sokağı Sade Agop oğlu Artin simple Artin Agopian, or Artin son of Agop
Gümüşoğlu Sokağı Berber Ohanes Ohanes Berber, or Ohanes the barber
Güllük Sokağı Abacıoğlu zevcesi Ehsabet Mrs Yeghsabet Abadjian
Güllük Sokağı Güllükoğlu Bedirus Bedros Kullukian or Koulloukian
Güllük Sokağı Üskü oğlu Karabet Karabet Ouskouian
Güllük Sokağı Güllükoğlu kızı Meryem Miss Maryam Kullukian or Koulloukian
Güllük Sokağı Çulha Muratoğlu Mığırdıç weaver Mgrdich Muratian
Güllük Sokağı Ağacanoğlu şekerci Artin confectioner Artin Aghadjanian
Güllük Sokağı Hızarcı Manikoğlu Karabet sawyer Karabet Manikian

 

Some thoughts on these householders:

  • Two of the streets appear to be named after the principal family in residence – the Kazandjian household in Kazancı Sokağı and the Kullukian or Koulloukian household in Güllük Sokağı (“roses street”).
  • The occupations of four of the householders are given – goldsmith, weaver, confectioner, sawyer. A fifth man – Ohanes, the sole taxpaying resident in Gümüşoğlu Sokağı – is either a barber or bears the surname Berber or Berberian – the original record does not make it clear. Given the name of this mahalle, one would assume that at least one of the men without a given occupation was a baker.
  • Three out of the 21 are women – two described as daughters (kızı in Turkish) and one as a wife (zevcesi), and presumably are respectively spinsters and a widow.
  • Four of the male householders have their forename prefixed with Hacı (Hadji), which would normally indicate that they had performed the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

 

The Google Map shows the Armenian settlements in the Kayseri province of the Ottoman Empire before the 1915 Genocide.

 

 

This article and map are versions of originals which were published by bluebirdresearch.com in 2013/2014.