Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cousin Lindsay

Uncle Rouben Gavoor, Cousin David Gavoor,
 and half of myself circa 1975
"New" Cousin Lindsay
So, I am minding my own business checking e-mails on Friday, July 9, 2010, trying to whittle down my to-do list that seems to grow faster than my capacity for accomplishing things. I checked my blog, the one you are currently reading, and noticed I had a new comment on my May 2004 letter on my Uncle Rouben. I wondered who might be posting on this. I noticed the name Lindsay Greenawalt and it did not ring a bell. Here is what Lindsay posted.

I found this blog post on Rouben Gavoor today and I thought I would contact you to see if you could answer my question. Supposedly Rouben was a close cousin of my grandfather, Paul Manzoian. I am guessing that Rouben and my grandfather would have been related on my grandfather's father's side, since the Manzoians were from Kesserig as well. His father was Ohannes "John" Manzoian. John came to America in 1909 and lived in Worcester before endin up in Providence. John's parents were Boghos Manzoian/Menzoian and Anna Najarian (or Nazarian, no one is really sure which was the correct spelling).

My grandfather was born in 1925 in Providence, and according to my grandma it was his cousin Rouben who tried to get him into the officer training for WWII, but he was 17 and wanted to be "on the boat fighting".

Anyways, I've found that you've done a lot of research on your family and might have an idea of how our families are related. I've been attempting to put together as much of the family genealogy together as possible, despite numerous roadblocks! Any info would be fantastic! You can email me through Blogger.
Needless to say, I answered her immediately. We have been exchanging e-mails since then and have even talked on the phone.

If I had checked with my Father, his brother my Uncle Buddy, or any of their first cousins, I would have known that my Father's paternal Grandmother, Maryam, was indeed a Menzoian. But, I didn't do that. Lindsay being both diligent and a library scientist who really knows how to dig, uncover genealogical gemstones hidden in obituaries, and the on-line database of Ellis Island documents. She wrote me back with Aunt Yeghsa's death notice in the Portsmouth Herald(NH). Aunt Yeghsa was the youngest sister of Uncle Rouben and my Grandfather Aram. In the obituary, it clearly stated "she was the daughter of Marderos and Marion (Menzoian) Gavoorian. Later on this same day, Lindsay sent other gems from the Portsmouth Herald including letters from Uncle Rouben and an article announcing that Uncle Rouben would be retiring from government service and settling in Rye, New Hampshire: State Department Official to Retire Here – 1/4/62.

Since then, my Dad, Uncle Buddy, and their first cousin Florence Shabegian (her Mother Arshaloos was a sister of Aram, Rouben, and Yeghsa) have confirmed the Menzoian connection. They all said I should have asked them first, but my new found cousin is just too quick. She also found my Grandfather Aram's Ellis Island documents including the ship manifest of the SS Rochambeau that sailed from Le Havre to the US on January 25, 1913. She also sent his Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization forms. Cousin Lindsay has immediately endeared herself to the Gavoors.

Underlying this wonderful story that is still unfolding is my Great-Uncle Rouben. His deep devotion to family and perhaps even deeper devotion to staying connected continues to pay off in creating connections like this one with Lindsay more than fifteen years after his passing. Well before the age of unlimited calling, e-mail, facebook, twitter, and our overwhelming channels for staying connecting with friends, family, and well everyone he knew... Uncle Rouben simply "corresponded." He wrote letters and sent cards acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries. He was adamant and dedicated. He would always ask me, "Are you keeping up with your correspondence?" I hear him asking me this now.

Whatever seeds he planted led, in part, to my blog, my postings remembering him, and ultimately connecting with a branch of his family, my family, that Lindsay is part of.

So thanks Uncle Rouben and thanks Lindsay. Uncle Rouben would have loved this.

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