Post by Administrator on Jul 30, 2014 12:46:59 GMT 10
Given the breadth of your post, I have made my comments within your text.
Please see below in green text.
Thanks again for a great post.
Firstly, I would like to state that I value this forum and think that the ability to network with other Castellorizans and research ancestry is wonderful. Thank you to the administrators and creators. I am unsure whether this is appropriately placed in the genealogy section, but I posted it here because I think this gets the most exposure.
My question regards Castellorizan ethnic composition. As I comprehend it, Castellorizans were initially colonised by the Dorian Greeks and have had some influence from Italians and Ottoman Turks over time [correct me if I am wrong]. My grandfather was Australian-born to two Castellorizans, whose lineage, as far as paper genealogy shows, goes back to Castellorizo 100%. I was raised with the knowledge that I had Greek heritage, as was my mother [whose father was a Castellorizan]. Over the decades, this played a part in the formation of our identity and was something to take pride in.
You can imagine my horror, then, when a genetic ancestry test revealed that I am 0% ethnically Greek and am, rather, ethnically Italian and Middle Eastern/Turkish. This genetic ancestry test was conducted by 23andMe [https://www.23andme.com/], who provide a breakdown of your ethnic make-up based upon your genome. The test is, for all intents and purposes, internationally recognised as legitimate. Furthermore, the test allowed me to discern between paternal and maternal ancestry. My paternal side aligned directly with what I knew from paper genealogy. My maternal side was half-correct, aligning with what I already know, but the other 25% - which should have been Greek - did not.
To clarify, my maternal results [excluding what I already knew from my grandmother], was:
15.5% Italian, 11.9% Middle Eastern [within the region of Turkey and Syria] and 6.1% Broadly Southern European [possibly Greek, although never identified specifically as such].
I understand that this might be controversial and I am not inferring that this is the case for everybody, of course. However, I am writing here to ask for help in comprehending this at a historical level. I understand that there are people here that are very knowledgeable about Castellorizo's history. I would also be extremely interested to know if anybody else of Castellorizan heritage has undertaken this genetic analysis and what their ethnic composition was. As I understand, Castellorizo has had a history of Ottoman Turkish occupation. However, all of my ancestors had Greek names and were, to my knowledge, Greek Orthodox.
My mother - half Castellorizan - also undertook the test to reveal:
10.7% Broadly Southern European [possibly Greek?], 12.3% Italian and 25.4% Middle Eastern [with an identified regional location around Syria and Turkey]. Like me - 0% specifically identified as Greek.
My overriding comment here is that I remain a little uncomfortable about the reliability of trying to align the results of such a test with concepts of modern nationhood. From what you tell us, the results you have received loosely report geographical origins. This is very different from ethnicity based on nationhood which is a fairly modern concept. So when you say 'Middle Eastern' what does that really mean? Probably very little because Castellorizo is culturally (as opposed to ethnically) as much a 'Middle Eastern' island as a European one. In fact, it is more in the Near East than anything else when viewed from a European vantage. So I'd advise you to be careful with broad labelling of your genetic ethnicity.
Regarding Ottoman Turkish occupation - did they have a large presence on the island?
Not really. There were about 50 families in the mid-19th century, though you cannot underestimate the interaction between the Christians and the Moslems in Asia Minor where many of the Castellorizians had their business enterprises at the island's peak.
Did they inter-marry with the native Greek population?
Rarely, but it did occur from time to time. Illicit relationships were more common.
Did they convert to Orthodox Christianity from Islam, or vice versa? I have read that Castellorizan culture was influenced by Islam and that there is a Turkish mosque on the island.
To understand this co-existence you need to read up about the workings of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Castellorizo was, at the end of the day, just a small piece of a giant mosaic of constituencies within a multi-ethnic Empire.
"-lis (-). Turkish suffix for "of" just like Greek suffixes -tis and -otis." My great-grandmother's surname was Kazaglis.
Many Greek names from the island have Turkish origins and this one is no different. You must appreciate that the vernacular was Turkish, much like English is the language we speak today. 400 years of Ottoman control imposed a very clear imprint on Greek culture and while mainland Greece freed itself in the aftermath of the 1821 revolution, Castellorizo and many other northern and eastern regions inhabited by Christian Greeks remained under Ottoman control until the early 20th century. Castellorizo, for one, remained Ottoman until 1913, so the Ottoman overlay was even stronger. By the way, 'kaza' means a district in Turkish and may originate from an official position that someone within the family held within the Ottoman apparatus. This does not necessarily mean, however, that they were not of Greek origin.
Another example is, "Kara - which is attributed to the Turkish word for "black" deriving from the Ottoman Empire era". My great-great-great-great grandmother's surname was Karageorge.
What I need help in comprehending, however, is whether these Turkish-origin surnames denote Turks who converted/assimilated or merely a name that was adopted under the Ottoman Empire, which was more linguistic than anything else.
The latter is more correct.
I have various other questions and more pertaining to my own genealogy, but I will ask them at a future date. I am sure I have bombarded the forum with enough questions here as is. I would be extremely appreciative of any help with my questions. Please let me know if anybody else has, or would like to, undertake a 23andMe ethnicity test and report your results here.
Furthermore, if anybody can shed light on the Turkish and/or Italian influence on Castellorizo as applied to my context, I would be very, very appreciative. Like I said, I am taken aback at my results and cannot explain them [either could 23andMe, when I e-mailed them]. I dare not think that my grandfather was not biologically so.
I believe that Turkish/Middle Eastern interaction with Castellorizo has been fundamentally under-explored and I hope to reinvigorate some of that research.
Have you read our book An Island Time, a large photographic history of the island through time. It includes a detailed section on the Ottoman period that may answer more of your questions. If you would like details, please call Katherine on 02 9223 8700 and she can advise you how to order one. There are also other works on Castellorizo's history that will help to inform your thinking on these topics.
It is difficult to locate much information about this except for some brief Wikipedia articles, hence why I am here.
I think a good book for you to read might be 'Twice a Stranger' by Bruce Clark, which describes how 'Turks' were removed from Greece and 'Greeks' were removed from Turkey in the earlier part of last century. The thing is, it wasn't based on any kind of ethnicity, more on religion. So your ancestors were 'Greek' probably precisely because they were Christian. Their ethnic make up had nothing to do with the description of them, if that makes sense?
There are 'Turkish' people living along the south west coast of Turkey whose family came from Greece. They look 'southern European' if we are going by those kind of terms but they were called 'Turkish' back then because their religion was Muslim.
I have just read your post on your ethnic composition and I have a book title that I think would answer some of your questions and explain parts of your ethnic composition. The book's title is "Land of The Chimaera" by Sybille Haynes published by St. Martin's Press New York.
I have read that there was an early group of people living in southern Asia Minor called the Liwan People who were related to the ancient Cretens and both shared similar hieroglyphics There was also a ruler called Mausolus in approximately 300 BC. He was a Persian Satrap who enjoyed the status of a king. This was during the Persian rule of the Lycian Kingdom.
Looking into my father's genealogy, he was born on Castelorizo but his mother's ancestry goes back to Hydra. His Mother's people came from a town called Geraka in the region of Lanconia in southern Greece. This was a Venetian stronghold and this explains why some Castolorizians have Venetian blood. The Venetians had strongholds and ruled many Greek Islands from Naxos.