My great grandpa immigrated from Armenia to America in 1915 due to the direct danger his life was in, as he was an Armenian in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire’s attack on Armenians, known formally as the Armenian Genocide. Kerovpe Balian was a cook in Turkey and escaped on a boat to America because he was well-liked and people wanted to help him survive. These photos are from when Kerovpe immigrated to Milwaukee where he and his relatives were very active members in the Armenian Church. To Armenians, the first nation to name Christianity as the nation’s religion, religion was a very big part of their lives. Kerovpe was the Chairman of the Cemetery Committee, and his relatives were Parish Council Members. According to my dad, my great grandpa knew five languages including Armenian, and Arabic and would read the Bible every day in Arabic. The last photo is of the Madagh Blessing, an annual remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Communities gather at the Church, people bring food, and commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide. This would have been a big event for the church in my great grandpa’s time, as shown through the photo of the remembrance and services during Madagh in 1948.

Place(s): Armenia, Milwaukee
Year: 1915

– Kim Banks

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more