Sdepan Alyanakian and the ARF Archives

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Archives situated in Watertown, Massachusetts comprise a trove of photographic treasures. The technique of cataloging the 1000’s of pictures is an typically time-consuming, but fascinating, analysis course of. 

Sdepan Alyanakian (Photo: ARF Archives, Watertown, Massachusetts)

Last month, whereas reviewing the catalog, we occurred upon {a photograph} the place the handwritten final title was not completely clear. The {photograph} was of a dapper younger man with the imprint of a fingerprint left someday over the years. We found the topic of the {photograph} was named Sdepan, and his final title started with “Al.” Entering this scant data into the Hairenik Digital Archives yielded a single consequence, Sdepan Alyanakian. From the September 9, 1917 problem of the Hairenik Daily, we study that Alyanakian had drowned in New York. 

September 9, 1917 Hairenik Daily dying announcement

Born in 1892 or 1893 in the village of Nirze in the Gesaria area, Alyanakian arrived in the US at the age of 18 or 19 in 1911 aboard the SS Martha Washington. In 1918, A Brief History of the Nirze Village of Gesaria was written by Senekerim Khederian and, simply this 12 months, an English translation by Gerard Libaridian was printed by the Gomidas Institute. Alyanakian is talked about plenty of instances in the e book together with a brief biography.

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Alyanakian had labored in New York as a tailor. After becoming a member of the ARF, he enlisted in the first Caucasus volunteer motion in 1915. There is a file of Alyanakian first becoming a member of the 8th Company of the New York Guard on April 21, 1915. He left for the Caucasus quickly thereafter in August. He would return to the US by 1917. I can’t be certain due to some conflicting data, however I could have discovered the ship manifest for his return aboard the SS Kristianiafjord on August 20, 1916. His World War I draft registration in the summer time of 1917 acknowledged he had served one 12 months in the Russian military as an infantry non-public.

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Alyanakian would once more volunteer for the second Caucasus motion. Yet in August of 1917, he would drown at Holland Rockaway Beach on Long Island. Apparently, he had gotten cramps whereas swimming, and others close by didn’t notice his misery till it was too late. His funeral happened on August 21, 1917 at St. Illuminator’s Church in New York City. He is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, although I couldn’t discover a picture of the gravesite on-line.

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Neither the e book nor the Hairenik article comprise {a photograph}, thus the one in the ARF archives might be the solely {photograph} of Alyanakian in existence. The Alyanakian household of Nirze appears to have been small. Khederian writes of 4 people in a family headed by Garabed Alyanakian. When Sdepan arrived in the US, he acknowledged that he had no family members remaining in Turkey and, once more, he was single and with out dependents on his World War I draft registration. His funeral file lists his mother and father as Mgrdich and Sultan Alyanakian. It is unclear if he has any surviving family members in the present day, however regardless, we must always not overlook males like Sdepan Alyanakian. “There was no one who had known him who did not mourn this young man’s death,” wrote Khederian. “Unger Stepan was modest and quiet, but by personality he was unswerving. He had a deep sense of the responsibility he was bearing as an Armenian.”

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As we discover new and attention-grabbing gadgets in the ARF archives, we hope to share them in the pages of the Armenian Weekly.

1915 census


George Aghjayan is the Director of the Armenian Historical Archives and the chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of the Eastern United States. Aghjayan graduated with honors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science diploma in Actuarial Mathematics. He achieved Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1996. After a profession in each insurance coverage and structured finance, Aghjayan retired in 2014 to focus on Armenian associated analysis and tasks. His main space of focus is the demographics and geography of western Armenia in addition to a eager curiosity in the hidden Armenians residing there in the present day. Other matters he has written and lectured on embrace Armenian family tree and genocide denial. He is a board member of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), a frequent contributor to the Armenian Weekly and, and the creator and curator, a web site devoted to the preservation of Armenian tradition in Western Armenia.


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