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Dorianfinder
08-07-14, 13:47
This is the overarching question I have in my own family history. If I go back far enough I find my family may have continued to live in the same place but the language, culture and circumstances may have been very different. This is all part of cultural & political turbulence in the world we live in, the problem is how does one find the truth about a family and it's origins. It's very subjective and people forget in the blink of an eye.

Most family names (surnames) can be found in more than one country and most regions will have their own unique perspective of the world and with that, a different hypothesis concerning the origins for the same family name.

So, how does one go about searching for the original identity of a particular surname?

1. Family tradition

2. Linguistics (Etymology)

3. Loose association (What does the name remind you of?)

4. Political beliefs (Nationalistic/Patriotic mythology)

5. Popular opinion (Hearsay)

6. Personal preference (What floats your boat?)

7. Cross-cultural (Alternative)

8. Inclusive (All variants, exhaustive)

FBS
08-07-14, 16:48
Very good topic. I am doing a lot of research myself for my family and it feels that it will take quite some time (if ever) to find all the answers. In my opinion no.6 will be a big problem in reaching to the right answer. All others are very valid points.

Dorianfinder
09-07-14, 22:20
Family names in the Balkans are not easy to research for a host of reasons.

It has been my experience, having researched numerous Balkan surnames, that you are lucky if your father's paternal ancestors lived in a small village with an up-to-date church registry. The towns and cities are difficult to research, unless a family remained in the same area for generations.

Best case scenario is a small village where the Venetians kept a land registry. Okay, lets say you got lucky and this is your family, where does one go from there when you reach as far back as the paper trail goes?

There are several directions one can go after exhausting the paper trail:

1. Go fishing (internet, www, google books, translate!!!)

2. Search families associated with your family name and see where that leads.

3. Build a database with locations and people (with your last name) on the www and categorize according to date and region. (Build an archive)

4. Search the Roman Catholic archive in your family's area if they were Orthodox or visa versa. (Same goes for Muslim families)

5. Study the Barony and it's lieutenant-general and where they came from. (Feudal history)

6. Take a pen and paper and write down everything you can regarding the area or village. (History, geographical names etc.)

7. Search the various cemeteries in the area, just watch out for snakes! (Investigation)

8. Nicknames of various branches of your family name, find out what you can. (What is the meaning of the nickname?)

9. Start a surname project at FTDNA and begin exploring your paternal Y-DNA haplogroup. (Patience & $$$, be diplomatic & refrain from making predictions!)

10. Study the region and look for villages that may have played a part in your family's history. (Expanded search)

FBS
10-07-14, 17:20
Great list! I fully agree.

Dorianfinder
11-07-14, 21:30
Have you managed to follow your paternal ancestry back in time?

FBS
14-07-14, 17:46
Unfortunately not. The problem with the Kosovar and with Albanians in general is that in our history we have had several brakes with the past and it seems like we agreed to have some sort of amnesia. My paternal line is identified as Kelmendi tribe who were living in Rugova mountains http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugova_Mountains , that is certain since I went there and checked, but where did they come from prior to that I never found out. I only know that they were known as Despots and that they used to be christian before converted (never fully though). Our todays' surname in Albanian means the same, it is a title. I could never find out why? Though their arrogance and imposing behavior of entitlement is always commented by others.

So I decided to start with a more general approach for the overall tribe hoping that on the way I will get something on my family surname as well. I started to decode the myths of highlands, learn more about their way of living, their professions, food that they prefer, their dances, songs, etc. A lot of details that give more underlying data that have coded their genes to my belief. What I have found out is that they most probably have been living for ages in the mountainous regions, near the rivers, in a close proximity to the sea and near centers where they could trade their products, and of course they were known fighters. So they were soldiers that loved their freedom and trade was their main profession. They considered themselves the aristocracy and the lowlanders as unworthy. A lot of things in their myths point to a Dalmatian ancestry since in their myths the place Jutbina (probably today's Udbina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udbina) is mentioned all the time as the place of the heroes. I guess that is where they hailed from, but I do not have any other strong data to confirm it.

My next step is to find more people from Kelmendi tribe that have done their DNA test and see how we match, or do we match at all.

Dorianfinder
14-07-14, 22:42
Unfortunately not. The problem with the Kosovar and with Albanians in general is that in our history we have had several brakes with the past and it seems like we agreed to have some sort of amnesia. My paternal line is identified as Kelmendi tribe who were living in Rugova mountains http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugova_Mountains , that is certain since I went there and checked, but where did they come from prior to that I never found out. I only know that they were known as Despots and that they used to be christian before converted (never fully though). Our todays' surname in Albanian means the same, it is a title. I could never find out why? Though their arrogance and imposing behavior of entitlement is always commented by others.

So I decided to start with a more general approach for the overall tribe hoping that on the way I will get something on my family surname as well. I started to decode the myths of highlands, learn more about their way of living, their professions, food that they prefer, their dances, songs, etc. A lot of details that give more underlying data that have coded their genes to my belief. What I have found out is that they most probably have been living for ages in the mountainous regions, near the rivers, in a close proximity to the sea and near centers where they could trade their products, and of course they were known fighters. So they were soldiers that loved their freedom and trade was their main profession. They considered themselves the aristocracy and the lowlanders as unworthy. A lot of things in their myths point to a Dalmatian ancestry since in their myths the place Jutbina (probably today's Udbina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udbina) is mentioned all the time as the place of the heroes. I guess that is where they hailed from, but I do not have any other strong data to confirm it.

My next step is to find more people from Kelmendi tribe that have done their DNA test and see how we match, or do we match at all.

Very interesting, thank-you! I think the way you are going about it makes good sense, find out as much as you can about all facets of their existence.
I see some sources mention that the Kelmendi are from the Kelmend region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelmend_region
I have developed an interest in the neighboring district (border of Albania with Montenegro) but specifically with the communities living on the northern banks of lake Scutari (Shkodër) and surrounds.
My interest began when my only proper yDNA match originated from this area.

The problem I have with researching families from this region is all the nationalistic propaganda, in the end it gets extremely confusing as to what is truth and what is not. For example, my family it seems, may have been members of the Pamalioti 'tribe' who fought together with the Pastrovici as mercenaries under Venetian rule. However, almost every book gives the Pamalioti a different ethnic origin, some say Albanian, some say Aromani (Vlach) and some say Montenegrin or even unknown. Many books state that the Pastrovici were Montenegrin and the Pamalioti probably Albanian. They fought side by side and were awarded Venetian titles. These families have an interesting history and elusive historic identity.

Thanks again for sharing, it's refreshing when I come across somebody with similar issues in their research. We can only learn from our shared experiences.

FBS
15-07-14, 13:08
Hm, just the name "Pastrovici" sounds Slavic with Latin etymology though, they can be Slavicized Dalmatians. Pamaliot sounds Albainan, they can also be Dalmatian stock but who went the other way. There are known cases that the same tribes became half Montenegrin and half Albanian such as Kuçi, Piperi, Palëbardhët (Bjelopavlici).

You should probably start from your saint, which saint does your family celebrate, and then dig in. Another thing is if your predecessors were tall or short & broad chested, peculiar food recipes, professions that you are more drawn into as a family, such is ti more intellectual, creative, stuff like that... I guess you already did your research in those.

good luck...

FBS
15-07-14, 16:09
I did some search on Pamalioti, there is not much about them. But, it seems that they sprung out of the Ulqin area near the river Buna (Bojana). You should probably go and visit Ulqin and the surrounding, just to get a feeling, you should definitely visit the castle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaja . Only Milan Sufflay had more details I guess but his work got lost after he got killed by the Young Yugoslavia group in 1931 :-(

I suspect that Pamalioti were a brotherhood (a big family) that belonged to Hoti tribe... just a hunch...maybe you can search for Hoti members and compare the DNA if possible maybe in 23andme...

I found this info: The majority of the Hoti are followers of the Roman Catholic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic) faith and celebrate St. John the Baptist (Albanian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language): Shën Gjoni or Shnjoni) as their "feast" day. The day (August 29) commemorates the martyrdom (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist.

Dorianfinder
16-07-14, 01:19
I did some search on Pamalioti, there is not much about them. But, it seems that they sprung out of the Ulqin area near the river Buna (Bojana). You should probably go and visit Ulqin and the surrounding, just to get a feeling, you should definitely visit the castle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaja . Only Milan Sufflay had more details I guess but his work got lost after he got killed by the Young Yugoslavia group in 1931 :-(

I suspect that Pamalioti were a brotherhood (a big family) that belonged to Hoti tribe... just a hunch...maybe you can search for Hoti members and compare the DNA if possible maybe in 23andme...

I found this info: The majority of the Hoti are followers of the Roman Catholic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic) faith and celebrate St. John the Baptist (Albanian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language): Shën Gjoni or Shnjoni) as their "feast" day. The day (August 29) commemorates the martyrdom (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist.

Thanks! I followed the link you gave regarding the castle of Ulcinj and my eye caught the Tower of the Balšić. There is something about this family that I believe will help both of us find out more about our ancestries. What do you know about the origins of this family? I see a very heated discussion on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ABal%C5%A1i%C4%87_noble_family

I went through the first theory regarding their origin as the des Baux from Provence and read François Lenormant (1861). What baffles me is the fact that nobody else in Serbia, Montenegro or Albania even considered this theory, and yet they all disagree between themselves. Not sure what to make of this. Lenormant mentions the following on page 9:
Qui a jamais entendu parler des Mirdites, des Doukadjins, des Clementi, des Hotti, des Castrati, ces fieres tribus semi-independantes, la terreur des musulmans, qui devraient nous etre aussi connues et aussi cheres que les Maronites de la Syrie?

Translated using Google Translate: Whoever heard of the Mirdites, the Doukadjins, the Klemendi, the Hotti, the Kastrioti, these proud tribes semi-independent, the terror of the Muslims, who should be well known to us and as dear as the Maronites of Syria?

He also mentions the following on p.8: Les Ducagini (Doukadjins) se disaient issus du fabuleux Griffon de Hauteville. Ce qui montre evidemment qu'ils tiraient leur extraction des Francais.
Translation: The Ducagini said they were from the fabulous Griffon de Hauteville. This obviously shows that they derived their origins from French extraction.
http://books.google.co.za/books?id=vCMEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA7&dq=%27Deux+dynasties+fran%C3%A7aises+chez+les+Slav es+m%C3%A9ridionaux+aux+quatorzi%C3%A8me+et+douzi% C3%A8me+si%C3%A8cles&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Z6LFU7i0BYKS7AacvIHICg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bals&f=false

FBS
16-07-14, 12:07
The tribes of Malsia (the Malcors) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal%C3%ABsia were well known fighters, and they were semi autonomous during the Ottoman empire, there are a lot of epic songs about them. Most of them were Catholic, those of the Orthodox rite either were assimilated into Slavic culture or a lot of them went to Greece, some became Greeks some preserved their Arvanitic culture.

Yes, there are theories especially for the Ducaghini (Dukagjini) that they actually are Trojans who ended up in France through Albania (Butrint) and then came back through Italy to their territories again. But these theories seem too far fetched and more like romantic point of view of our history, so not much studies in that respect. I do not know much about Balsha family, but I think I should definitely follow their trail.

What is interesting about Balsha is the name Baux. I checked it and in today's French does not mean much, it seems like a title. Which brings me to my family surname which again is a title, hm...

Now let us see what does "Bal" mean in Albanian. In Kosovo in some areas there is still in use title "Bal" and it is given to the elder men of the family, heads of the family. Balsha cannot be Slavic, Proto-Romanian, Latin, probably... but... there is also a Semitic name "Baal" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal. Today in Albanian word "ballë" (longer "a") means forefront of the head. "Balli Kombëtar" was a nationalistic anti communist movement, that could be translated as the "leaders of the nation"...

Dorianfinder
16-07-14, 15:16
Interesting, I see the clans of Malsia have a strong Roman Catholic legacy and the Wikipedia article states that their origins have been passed down in oral tradition and folklore. In the Balkans any strong links to the Roman Catholic faith raises my curiosity, especially in traditionally non-RC areas ... so I exclude Croatia and Dalmatia as not typically Balkan areas with regards to religious affiliation.

I think you are right, the name de Baux refers to the lords of a region in Provence named Baux. It is a title of sorts. In Italian the name was spelt del Balzo and on Corfu it was also spelt Balsa.

What intrigues me is the alternative name for the Pamalioti, namely Pompalioni. The capital of the region of Navarre was known during the Middle Ages as Pompalion ... today we know it as Pamplona. James Baux (lord of Albania) hired the services of the Navarrese Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navarrese_Company).

http://books.google.co.za/books?id=CYMd8V4u2kEC&pg=PA656&img=1&pgis=1&dq=pamplona&sig=ACfU3U2TyPS0Z5iuRlqHm5lJwRIPa33e5g&edge=0
http://books.google.co.za/books?id=CYMd8V4u2kEC&pg=PA656&dq=pompalioni&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TGvGU4HDIseI7Abw8oCoBw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=pamplona&f=false

The Baux family (dynasty) were known as Balzo in Italian and Latin documents.



James of Baux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_of_Baux) (Jacopo del Balzo), Prince of Taranto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Taranto) and Prince of Achaea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Achaea), Despot of Romania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Despot_of_Romania), Lord of Albania and Corfu, Titular Latin Emperor of Constantinople (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Emperor_of_Constantinople)[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Baux#cite_note-richardson-3) (1353–1384), married Agnes of Naples. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Baux


The Navarrese Company in 1366 was comprised of mercenaries who were organized into a coherent company of soldiers under Louis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis,_Count_of_Beaumont), Count of Beaumont-le-Roger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaumont-le-Roger) in his own right and Duke of Durazzo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Durazzo) in right of his wife, Joanna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna,_Duchess_of_Durazzo). Louis was a brother of Charles of Navarre, who supported his endeavour to recapture lost Durazzo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durazzo) and the regnum Albaniae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Albania_%28medieval%29).

Though these soldiers were recruited for service in Albania, they were first organized in Naples (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naples). In 1375 and 1376, many men from Navarre began enlisting and travelled directly to Albania to join their countrymen. The enrollment lists for those years have been preserved in Pamplona (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamplona) and reveal the important presence of many engineers. The total number of men which left Tortosa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortosa) between February 1375 and June 1376 was in the thousands. They were paid thirty gold Aragonese florins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florin_%28Italian_coin%29) a month. In 1376, Louis and the Navarrese captured Durazzo, thus reestablishing the regnum Albaniae.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navarrese_Company#cite_note-1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navarrese_Company


I will look in the family registries of Naples whether I can find any families we may know as having been part of the Pamalioti ...

FBS
16-07-14, 17:22
Wow, you found great info! There are a lot of interconnections with the state of Arbër (Arbanon) and Naples & Angevins, they were very important for Scanderbeg as well. Arbëresh found safe heaven in those areas in Italy after the death of Scanderbeg, so there are close ties.

Are there any other versions of the name Pamalioti that you know of?

Dorianfinder
16-07-14, 18:35
Please let me know if there are any names you would like me to look out for, it would be my pleasure.

I've learned to follow the leads that seem to hang by themselves for no rhyme or reason. I immediately saw that with the Pamalioti, there were two distinct versions of the name, one that had been explored using Albanian etymology and another one which hadn't.

The de Baux (Balzo) connection to Albania can be found in most Angevin texts, I was surprised when I first realized that I was the first researcher from the Balkans that had looked into the similarities with the Balsha. The last name Baux refers to the lands of Les Baux-de-Provence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Baux-de-Provence) originally held by the family.

The last name Armenia is documented among the Pamalioti who were given titles by Venice in 1423: Giorgio Armenia, Theodore Armenia and Duke Armenia. I therefore had a look at the landholders of the region where the Les Baux-de-Provence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Baux-de-Provence) was located and found a family that not only had links to the de Baux family but also had links to the Kingdom of Naples, specifically Adria and Avellino. This house was from Noves, it fought together with the de Baux against the Berengers for dominance over Provence.

2 examples of the de Noves

http://books.google.co.za/books?id=4L_NAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA522&img=1&pgis=1&dq=Arm%C3%A9ni&sig=ACfU3U336mBrkM4T0vCbW1tXd-NZ1Hmelw&edge=0[1]

6510[2]

The following shows this family in the city Penne, Adria. Note that James de Baux was lord of Adria before he was lord of Albania.
6512
6511

http://books.google.co.za/books?id=mmmqDijA92IC&pg=PA57&img=1&pgis=1&dq=Gaudentto+Armeni+&sig=ACfU3U3_ncLcDoByDQ4EUoezbvKacYC1iQ&edge=0

There are various misspellings of the name Pamalioti; for example we find Pamaliotti, Pamaleot, Ypamaliothi and Tamalioti. Then there is Pompalioni, mentioned by various chroniclers as this group's name.

FBS
17-07-14, 15:28
Here is something from the Albanian sources http://www.albanianhistory.net/texts20_3/AH1956_1.html. You can skip parts in the beginning and go straight to Balsha.

One more thing, there is a Strazimiri family that consider themselves as ancestors of Balsha family, and they claim that are in possession of Balshas ring with the coat of arms in it.

Dorianfinder
17-07-14, 17:35
Here is something from the Albanian sources http://www.albanianhistory.net/texts20_3/AH1956_1.html. You can skip parts in the beginning and go straight to Balsha.

One more thing, there is a Strazimiri family that consider themselves as ancestors of Balsha family, and they claim that are in possession of Balshas ring with the coat of arms in it.

That's interesting, do you have a picture of the ring? What does it look like?

In Du Cange at the bottom (see attachment), there is a Strazimir? Balsha in the family tree. I also remember reading about him in some Venetian documents a while back. Incidentally, the captain or leading figure of the Pamalioti was prominent in the Venetian documents where Strazimiri and the other Balsha siblings were involved.

I read the Albanian version and see that the argument used to dispel any link between the Balsha and the de Baux is that their coats of arms are dissimilar.
65146515

Du Cange (1746) is viewed as an authority on genealogy, I'm intrigued by his resolute view that the Balshas were from Angevin stock, for him to say it means something and he would have done the necessary research to confirm.
6513

The stella aurea in campo rubro (coat of arms of de Baux) is to be found on the coins of Balsa III according to Lenormant. This answers the critique that the coats of arms were different.
6516

FBS
23-07-14, 16:21
No I am sorry, there are no photos that we can find on the web. Strazimiri family lives in Albania and I just came across some writings about their claim. DNA testing of the Strazimiris' might shed some light I guess...

The documents that you have posted are quite intriguing, I cannot say that they do not add a lot of confusion, but that does not mean that there is not some truth in it.

I found this (you probably saw it before me): The family of des Baux exists today in Naples in the person of several noble families ("del Balzo") descended from younger sons who followed Charles of Anjou south. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Baux
Probably you can find out if they tested and find some answers...

Dorianfinder
24-07-14, 10:22
No I am sorry, there are no photos that we can find on the web. Strazimiri family lives in Albania and I just came across some writings about their claim. DNA testing of the Strazimiris' might shed some light I guess...

The documents that you have posted are quite intriguing, I cannot say that they do not add a lot of confusion, but that does not mean that there is not some truth in it.

I found this (you probably saw it before me): The family of des Baux exists today in Naples in the person of several noble families ("del Balzo") descended from younger sons who followed Charles of Anjou south. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Baux
Probably you can find out if they tested and find some answers...

There is much confusion here because this Angevin history spans the length of the Eastern Med and early documents are written in Latin. Historians differ due to their political and cultural background, those fluent in French being able to understand the French sources better and those fluent in Italian, the Italian and Latin sources. These families were of French extraction, travelers, explorers, colonizers etc. as archives are limited and most Balkan historians are not in touch with this history for various reasons I believe. As a general tendency it would appear that the older sources make an Angevin claim. It seems to make perfect sense when one considers the context, however, the popular practice and use of ethnic terms such as Serbian, Albanian and Aromanian covers everything in a blanket of confusion.

The de Baux family had a number of branches and the sources differ somewhat as to the branch that was dispossessed by Queen Jeanne I d'Anjou and fled from their Dutchy of Andria in Italy to Corfu and Albania. This has resulted in many books ignoring this branch of the Balzo family entirely, however, some mention that this specific family, namely Giacomo del Balzo (Jacques de Baux) son of Francois de Baux (Francesco del Balzo) were Dukes of Andria, Counts of Avellino, Lords of Corfu and Albania. The important difference to note is the title Count of Avellino. Most modern sources refer to this family as belonging to a different branch that were not styled Counts of Avellino.

If in fact this specific family were Counts of Avellino then things make more sense as the Angevin families who ruled Corfu were all connected to Avellino in the Kingdom of Naples, such as the Caracciolo (Carazzula, Caratzulo), the Tocco and the de Baux (del Balzo). The Caracciolo were represented by Marino Caracciolo who was chamberlain of Robert de Tarante. Similarly, the de Baux were represented by Giacomo del Balzo who was the son of Marguerite de Tarante. These families were all connected to Charles d'Anjou de Durazzo and involved themselves in the affairs of Albania and Corfu. Other families that were involved with this group were the Alamano (Aleman, Allamano), the Altavilla (de Hauteville) and the Capece. Lenormant refers to the Ducaghini (Dukagjini) as descendants of Griffon de Hauteville.

FBS
24-07-14, 12:11
Thank you for all this info Dorianfinder. These are fascinating facts.

Unfortunately this period is quite obscure and Albanian history does not mention the Norman invasion and its rule at all. I could only find something written by Edwin E. Jacques for Normans. I only started to "hunt" after these facts after I got my results and my maternal DNA came out to be Norse according to 23andme, otherwise I would totally be oblivious to it.

I guess you should write a book in English regarding these important families for the Balkans history.

Dorianfinder
24-07-14, 12:59
Interesting suggestion, you are not the first person to suggest writing a book. It would be a monumental task for anybody willing to delve into the Medieval history of the region. I continue to research and document inconsistencies or apparent inaccuracies with the sole purpose of documenting the families that were involved in this expansion. If a book comes out of all of this one day the question that needs answering would be what would the purpose of such a book be and for whom would it be? As intriguing as this is I do not know whether such a timely exercise would serve any real purpose other than stirring up a small group of nationalists. Despite the obvious downside it could be worth the effort if done professionally with the sole objective of documenting as much as possible using as many sources as possible with regards to these families. A genealogical literature study for future researchers if you will.

The question of Norman DNA is a different story altogether. I administer two projects at FTDNA and am keeping an eye open for anything regarding these families.

FBS
24-07-14, 15:09
Well, if you ever decide to do so, I would be the first one to read your book since I do not have time to do the research on my own (sorry for being selfish). Hope you will post your findings on Eupedia regarding your two projects at FTDNA as well.

FBS
08-08-14, 15:48
A question: do you know anything about Caradja, Karadja or Caragea (Karaxha in Alb.). Have you come across their Y- DNA? They seem quite interesting.

Dorianfinder
09-08-14, 01:07
Their DNA has not been tested yet. What is your interest in this family if I may ask?

Dorianfinder
10-08-14, 10:23
A question: do you know anything about Caradja, Karadja or Caragea (Karaxha in Alb.). Have you come across their Y- DNA? They seem quite interesting.

I see that the Caradja (Caragea) family had a branch that 'ruled' the principality of Wallachia. Similarly, the Ghica, Cantacuzino, Callimachi, Ypsilanti, Soutzo (Sutu), Maroussi (Mourousi, Moruzi), Mavrogheni, Mavrocordat (Mavrocordato) and Duca families also ruled the principality.

Interestingly, from what I can remember reading is that although these families are viewed as Phanariot Greeks from Constantinople's Phanar (Lighthouse) district, the Ghica, Cantacuzino and Duca families each had a branch of their families that were viewed by some historians as Albanian or Epirotic.

The Balkan principalities of Albania, Moldavia and Wallachia seem to have a history of occupation by families with a connection to Constantinople.

FBS
12-08-14, 12:55
There are families with Karaxha surname in Kosovo, it is rare surname and it was quite interesting to find out their history. All in all the Balkan history is quite intertwined as you mention the connection with Constantinople.

MtDNA
31-08-14, 22:57
Sometimes surnames have meanings which indicate the occupation, hobby, or skill of the original ancestor that had it first.
My surname, for instance, is an Arabic word for "one who devotes their life to helping others". In the time that surnames were first given to Iranians, many people spoke Arabic, especially those that would give surnames to others. There was even a proffesor who had a surname which means "one who is rude and impolite". However, his family originally came from a small village, and didn't have a clue about what their name actually meant.

Sometimes surnames are based on descent from famous historical figures.
Saieds have names that indicate which descendant of Fatima Zahra they are from (Mousavis, Hosseinis, etc.)

Sometimes surnames tell geographic origins.
For example, Afganis come from Afganistan, Esfanis from Esfahan, Arabs from Arab states.

Dorianfinder
02-09-14, 11:48
Sometimes surnames have meanings which indicate the occupation, hobby, or skill of the original ancestor that had it first.
My surname, for instance, is an Arabic word for "one who devotes their life to helping others". In the time that surnames were first given to Iranians, many people spoke Arabic, especially those that would give surnames to others. There was even a proffesor who had a surname which means "one who is rude and impolite". However, his family originally came from a small village, and didn't have a clue about what their name actually meant.

Sometimes surnames are based on descent from famous historical figures.
Saieds have names that indicate which descendant of Fatima Zahra they are from (Mousavis, Hosseinis, etc.)

Sometimes surnames tell geographic origins.
For example, Afganis come from Afganistan, Esfanis from Esfahan, Arabs from Arab states.

Names of geographical origin are often wrongly classified as such and are in many cases names given to a particular person who spent time in a different part of the world and returned home where he and his descendants became known by the 'nickname' that later became a cognomen or surname. Many examples of this are to be found in Roman families where a soldier, prefect or ruler of a province or region had the geographical name incorporated into their names which later became their cognomen or last name. There are a few cases however where surnames such as this were given to emigrants who originally came from the region in question.

In addition, such as the feudal system would have it in medieval times. Many people were known by the estate or land to which they were associated. Whether a lord or serf and often even slaves were known by their estate. As in the southern states of the USA (including some northern states), Australia, South Africa and many other new world colonies ... the French and British colonialists named their lands after lands in their home countries. Similarly we find many places named Georgia or Armenia to name but a few. This does not mean however that the people from Georgia were in fact from the the country Georgia.

Lastly, the spelling of names and their meaning changed over time as foreign names were difficult to pronounce. As a result, a name that changes its spelling over time may begin to sound like a region or geographical location when in fact it isn't. This is especially prominent in countries where one finds two or more communities with a different alphabet or writing style. In my own experience Greek is a language that is notorious for deceiving many Greeks in believing that their surnames mean something in Greek when in fact their names were transliterated or corrupted from Arabic, Turkish or French/Italian.

DNA testing is an important tool that can be used to eliminate or confirm hypotheses or theories that may have arisen in an erroneous manner.