Friday, October 9, 2009

Pascal Normart- my Great-Great Grandfather

My Great-Great Grandfather-Pascal Normart was the 8th and youngest child of Markar and Yakood Yanikian.He was born October 1, 1858. He along with his brothers ran a variety store in Armenia called Yanikian Freres.  He came to the United States in 1888 to join his brother Maderos. He married Verkina (Virginia) Kurkjian Feb. 2,1880. Her father died when she was young and her mother re-married to Andrew Antony who was the Consul from Italy for Ezeroom. They were well to do and well educated. When they immigrated to America they brought much jewelry and fine clothing but her family had to sell most of it to help support the family. Pascal and Verkina had 6 children including my great grandfather Onig Normart. Two of the children died early. Pascal's 5th child, Lily was believed to be the first Armenian child born in Fresno, Calif. Pascal became a citizen three years later. He was a farmer, buying a 60 acre farm and raised Alfafa. He loved politics and a good debate. Pascal died June 27th 1864.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Avakian History-My Grandmothers side of the family

Peter Avakian was my great grandfather. He lived in Harpoot Armenia which is where he was born.He fought the Turks in the mountains near his village. He joined a rebel army and encountered several battles before he was captured with his companions. They were to be shot the next morning but during the night the Turkish guard, who was an Armenian sympathizer let Peter and his companions escape into the night. He settled in Worcester, Massachusetts and learned english at night while working at factories and a leather shop in the daytime. He would send money to his family in hopes they could join him in this new land. His brothers Sahag and Simon and sister Anna, along with their families soon had enough to make the voyage over. His parents were killed in the Armenian Genocide. He married Dirooh Hagopian and moved to Lowell Massachusetts. Soon after that they moved to Lynn Massachusetts Where their 2nd daughter was born. In 1901 he moved to Fresno,Calif. because he heard it was like Armenia. He bought a 20 acre ranch on Monroe ave but later moved to Fowler, California and bought a 60 acre ranch there. He became a US citizen in 1906. My Grandmother Servart was his last child born in 1914.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Very Excited!

Just visited my 95 year old grandfather and he let me borrow half a dozen photo albums with pictures dating back to his grandfather! This is my mom's side of the family named Osterholtz so my "project" just doubled but in a good way. This side of the family migrated from Germany in the 1880's. He is the younger boy in front with his brother and parents. More info to come

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

History of Normart

So for the past few months I have been researching my family history and how the name Normart came about. I am of mixed heritage of German,Swedish and Armenian. Most Armenian names end with-ian. Well the story goes: In Armenia in the late 1860's much turmoil was going on. There were growing problems between the Armenians and the Turkish government. The "Armenian Genocide" in which over a million people were killed happened around 1915. My Great-great grandfathers brother Mardiros Yanikian was escaping Armenia because of the wars and turmoil and traveling down this road he witnessed many Armenian women being crucified on crosses. He witness many more atrocities of war while fleeing his homeland country. This account was in his journal of how he came over to the USA. He was very sick on the boat ride over suffering from small pox and when he landed in Philadelphia he was so grateful to be free from oppression he made the comment "I feel like a Nor mart which is Armenian for "New Man". So when he went through the immigration process our family name was changed from Yanikian to Normart. He visited the Fresno area in 1874 and since it reminded him so much of his homeland he praised the Fresno area when he went back to the East Coast. This started a migration of many Armenian families to Fresno which has quite the Armenian population today. He decided to move there himself along with other family members in 1885.
My grandmothers maiden name is "Avakian" and there is an interesting story of how her side of the family came over too, but that will be in my next post...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Genealogy Project: Closing in on 50

So on this wonderful Earth for almost 50 years means I should know something by now. I have a lot of things sorting thru my head but will start by talking about my family geneaology. I have been looking through a family history book lately and find it fascinating. So stayed tuned, need to get through the next few shoe shows and we will begin with how the Normart name came to be.