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Archaic Armenian Surnames

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#1 cjgos


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Posted 28 August 2015 - 12:51 PM

So there is a bit of a backstory to my question here.  My grandfather's family immigrated to America in the early 20th century from the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine.  However, there have been some things about this side of the family that have always been mysterious.  I've attached a picture of my grandfather and as you can see he does not look like a typical Ukrainian.  A distant cousin located there stated he looked more like someone who came from the Caucasus as opposed to West Ukraine.  A recent DNA test my father and indeed showed genetic markers matched to the Caucasus region.  Also, his mother, my great grandmother's family name was listed as Balisyn on her immigration papers and her marriage certificate.  This surname is not Ukrainian, nor closely related to any Ukrainian surnames.


Later I was doing some unrelated historical research on the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and stumbled onto to the fact that during 14-1600's there was a large amount immigration into the Polish controlled territory of Western Ukraine by Armenians coming from the Kingdom of Cillicia after it fell to the Turks in 1375.  Ivano-Frankivsk's population was about 10% Armenian and the community's church still stands to this day.  As time went on most members of this community eventually assimilated into the local population.  At this point I've begun to think my great grandmother descends from this population


What I am wondering is does my great-grandmother's family name sound like an archaic version of an Armenian surname?  What were older Armenian naming conventions like?    

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#2 Yervant1


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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:16 PM

Hi welcome to Hyeforum! :)

It sounds quite interesting and mysterious to say the least. The name "Balisyn" as is does not mean much in Armenian, but the first three letters "Bal" means honey in Turkish and lots of Armenians because of Ottoman Empire rule over Armenian lands do have Turkish sounding names, hence we do have lots of "Balian"s surnames. The last three letters "syn" don't know if it means anything like Russians using "ova" or something like that, then there might be a chance that the subject in question might be Armenian but not necessarily.

Good luck hope someone else will be more helpful.


PS. Your grandfather does have Armenian features.

Edited by Yervant1, 28 August 2015 - 03:19 PM.

#3 MosJan


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Posted 28 August 2015 - 04:02 PM

i'm no linguist  -   if this  is a  translit translation or  was not  translated  by  someone  that knows  Russian and  Armenia you can have  a problem  like this. in Russian Armenian  last  names are  written like  this, ЯН = Yan = յան.
Джигарханян = Djigarxanyan so Balisyn is  ВАЛЕСЯН in Armenian = Բալիսյան-   so your Balisyn = Balisyan =   Բալիսյան


do you have a  picture of the document that the name last-name  was written ? 



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