SYRIA-L ArchivesArchiver > SYRIA > 2008-03 > 1205684909
From: "Lilly Martin" <>
Subject: [SYRIA] Ismael Abraham Asfour
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 18:28:29 +0200
I have not forgotten you. Sorry it has taken me some time to reply.
I feel that your ancestors were certainly Moslem, based on their names.
Ismael Ibrahim Asfour, he must be the son of Ibrahim Asfour of Damascus.
Because his middle name is his father's first name, by tradition.
However, the name KHOURY is always Christian. It appears to me that Ismael,
who was Moslem, was friends with a Christian man named Khoury
(Curry-Couri-Kouri). The name Khoury means "priest" as in Christian Priest,
not a Moslem Sheikh.
Remember, it means nothing how a name is spelled in English, because an Arab
name only is correct when written in Arabic language. So any name can be
spelled 1-10 different ways, and is the SAME name.
Moslems and Christians and Jews all lived together in Damascus, and they did
get along, and still do get along. So it is not surprising that a Christian
would assist a person of a different faith. This is common.
Asfour is a common name.
Concerning the Beqa Valley region in Lebanon: in 1913 it was part of Syria,
because Lebanon was not founded until 1920. In 1913 the World War One was
still going. Much of the fighting was south of Damascus, and ended in
Damascus. This marked the end of 400 years of Turkish Ottoman Empire
The Beqa Valley was bombed very heavily in the War in summer 2006. It is an
agricultural area. There are some factories there which produce food items,
such as breakfast cereal, etc.
The name Mariam Gebara would also be Moslem, I am assuming. Mariam is a
name used by Moslems as well as Christians.
Abdul Kareem Ahmed Omer Issa is a Moslem name. Abdul Kareem is the FIRST
name, it is a 2-part name, such as "Mary Ann" is a 2 part name. Ahmed might
be his father's first name, and Omer Issa might be the family name, also a 2
If you have noticed, the English people many times have a 2 part surname,
like: Smith-Jones, for example. This probably reflects some 2 important
families long ago which merged and both names were retained.
My own mother in law in Syria has a surname which is 2 parts. So this can
Because there are so many Druze families in Lebanon, as well as Sunni
Moselm, and Shite Moslem, I am not quite sure as to what group your Omer
Issa might belong?
Here is a suggestion:
http://www.leb.org This is the Lebanese white pages. I have visted this
website and it has many people currently listed, many are giving names and
villages, and telling their ancestry. This might be a place to start, to
see it there are any similar names listed? Or, if you find a person listed
who says they are living in the Beqa Valley, or perhaps grew up there then
moved away, you can email them and start asking for some help. A local
resident obviously will know what names belong to what groups, much more
As I look through the 1910 census in Pennsylvania, I see so many Syrian
immigrants, and so many are listed as dry-goods-peddlar. This was a very
popular first occupation, then later other occupations opened up for them.
Let's discuss this more, and I have more ideas to share with you.
----- Original Message -----
From: "M STOCKSTAD" <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 5:20 AM
Subject: [SYRIA] Syrian lineage update
> Hello everyone,
> It's a nice reminder for me seeing these emails from the Syria mailing
> I'm researching so many branches of my tree at the moment, sometimes I
> forget to revisit some of the members who have proven to be a little more
> challenging. I thought I would repost and share what I know of my
> Syrian/Lebanese lineage and maybe find some new cousins :)
> My maternal gr-grandfather was Ismael Abraham Asfour and he arrived at
> Castle Garden, NY in 1899 from Damascus. At some point he changed his
> to Albert Joseph Bird and migrated to New Brunswick where he married my
> French Canadian gr-grandmother Sylvia Martin in 1904. In the 1920's he
> his family moved to North Dakota where he was a dry-goods peddler to the
> farmers there. From his immigration records, it indicated that he was
> brought to the US by someone named Khoury. His life in Syria prior to him
> coming to the US is a mystery to me, which is why I joined this mailing
> His daughter, my grandmother, married my grandfather who was named Abdul
> Kareem Ahmed Omer Issa. He came to the US in 1913 from the region of
> Karoun, Beqa, Lebanon, but back then I'm assuming it known as the Syrian
> Arab Republic. He changed his name to Albert Kareem Omer and his mother
> Mariam Gebara. His life as well before coming to the US is a complete
> mystery to me.
> Sandra, I appreciate you so much being able to post the information from
> Nasser. It is very interesting and how great that you have been able to
> talk to him! Lilly, I know you and I have corresponded before on my
> gr-grandfather from Damascus and you have been very helpful to me.
> Take care, everyone-
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
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> in the subject and the body of the message
|[SYRIA] Ismael Abraham Asfour by "Lilly Martin" <>|