|Birth: ||Sep. 19, 1903|
|Death: ||Aug. 4, 1988|
This the story of Azniv Naljian as told by my father to my mother, and passed on to me. Azniv was born in Amaysia Turkey, not far from the Black Sea. She was the youngest daughter of her siblings. Her family was killed in the genocide of 1915 in Turkey and I have been unable to find anyone living who might have been related to the family. Azniv was placed in an orphanage in Istanbul, where she made one friend Azadouhi "Mary" Agababian (Aghababian is the name used on the ship's manifest for the family).
Mary had a brother, Ervant (Edward) to whom she wrote asking him to come and bring her to the United States - this was in 1918 or 1919. When he arrived in Istanbul in the fall of 1919, he met her friend and it was decided that he would marry her, to bring her with them. There were a few cousins still living and we have a photograph of them dated November 1919. The three Agababians arrived in New York city on February 26, 1920, on the SS. Presidente Wilson, bound for a cousin's home, "Harris Kajarian" on 3rd Avenue at 55th Street. How and when they continued to Detroit, Michigan was not clear until recently. On the death certificate (December 1921) of her eldest child in Detroit, it says that the family has lived in Detroit for 7 months - which would mean they moved from New York in April or May.
Soon after their arrival in Detroit, Azniv began to have "terrors." She was fearful that someone would come to take her children and kill them. The death of her child exacerbated this and she was hospitalized, and though the circumstance in unclear, committed to the state psychiatric hospital in Pontiac probably in 1929.
Certainly she was not happily married and today we might understand her diagnosis as PTSD and Depression, but in those years her emotional state cast a shadow over the family. Having the children taken from her may not have helped. From what little we know, it was not a "happy" marriage, and the hospitalization may have been Agnes' only escape from it.
She became a ward of the state of Michigan in 1965. My father and his brother would visit her, but it was kept very private, even from us grandchildren. Such was the stigma attached and pain of abandonment that my father may have felt about his mother's illness.
I do not know when my father, uncle and grandfather decided to legally change the name to Babian. Agnes' name was never changed.
Ervant Ardashes Babian (1892 - 1945)
Ardashes Ervant Agababian (1920 - 1921)*
John Babian (1921 - 1971)*
Arthur Babian (1923 - 2009)*
Mareham Aghababian (1924 - 1941)*
Maintained by: Charles Babian
Originally Created by: Jeff
Record added: Sep 03, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96462872
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