Talanians Donate Family Tree to Armenian Library and Museum


WATERTOWN, Mass. — In September 1936, Marion Boyajian of Melrose, Mass. married Albert Sarkis Talanian of Boston. Thus began the story of the Talanian Family Tree.

Through her mother-in-law, Hripsime (Tashjian) Talanian, Marion took the oral history of the Talanian Family. There being no computers in those days, she wrote it all down by hand on meat wrapping paper from her husband’s grocery store.

Years passed and the tree was updated sporadically. All the while, Talanian cousins kept asking about a family get together. In 1993, a committee was formed to plan a reunion.

The job of getting family updates of births, marriages and deaths had to be tackled. In preparation for the reunion, the committee researched all US phone books, sought Ellis Island records and mailed out questionnaires asking for updated information. Judy Talanian Shagoury and her husband, Chuck Shagoury (Marion’s daughter and son-in-law), took on the task of transferring old and new information to a computer program.

The first reunion was held in October 1993 and nearly 150 Talanians and their descendants from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas, California, Hawaii and Illinois came.

Years passed and still the cousins wanted another reunion. This one would be difficult since so many family members who attended the first reunion would not be there.

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The same committee, consisting of Karen Martin, Gail Talanian O’Reilly, Judy Talanian Shagoury, Barbara Talanian, Isabel Talanian, Joyce Talanian, Linda Talanian and Nevart Talanian, rose to the occasion again.

Another questionnaire was mailed asking for new information and the family tree was updated once more and now represents nearly 600 descendants.

The second reunion was held in October 2009 in the Charles and Nevart Talanian Hall of Holy Trinity Armenian Church and nearly 100 family members were present.

In February 2010, the committee presented the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) in Watertown, with the material relating to the Talanian Family. This included the original handwritten family tree on meat wrapping paper, the computer-generated family trees updates from both reunions, the program, a family crest and a photo of the Talanian men, circa 1900.

The crest was designed by the reunion committee and donated by Made in Armenia Direct.

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