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On the trail of the descendants of a newpaper editor in Constantinople
My great-great-grandfather William Rufus Page, American Consul in Jerusalem 1860-61 married Julliette Churchill, daughter of William Noseworthy (Nosworthy) Churchill and Beatrice Belhomme. William N. Churchill was the editor of the “Jeride Howader” (also alternate spelling as Jeride Havadis, meaning Journal of News).

I have partial information concerning William N. Churchill. I know was born in London, England (7 Nov 1796), died, 7 Sept. 1846 probably Smyrna (Izmir), Turkey, living 1845 in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, was an English journalist (? - 1846), owner of the “Morning Herald” newspaper in England at the time. He came to Constantinople during the periods of Sultan Mahmoud (died 1839) and Abdulmecid (suceeded Mahmoud I, July 1839). He married Beatrice Belhomme, daughter of a French merchant, around 1830 [it is actually 1824 as revealed in the Smyrna - therefore he got married there - Anglican registers scanned in 2008]. He is buried in the Feriköy Protestant cemetery in Istanbul - listing, though mistakenly identified as an American citizen, the reason for being in that sector, rather than the English, is presumably to be near his daughter, Juliet Page, also buried there - view on map.

During a hunting party in Kadıköy [neighbourhood on the Asiatic shore of Constantinople] he wounded the son of Necati Efendi, a civil servant holding a high position in the Title Deed Office and was arrested upon complaint. His release obtained through the intervention of the British Ambassador (Lord Ponsonby) and given a gold pin studded with diamonds, and interestingly caused the dismissal of Akif Pasa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The scholarly publication, ‘Diplomacy and Statecraft’, issue 9.2 gives more details: ‘Lord Ponsonby and the Churchill Affair of 1836: An Episode in the Eastern Question by Joseph M Fewster - William Churchill, a British merchant in Turkey, accidentally wounded an Ottoman boy and, after being savagely beaten, was imprisoned in the notorious bagnio [:kadı, an Ottoman religious judge - postcard view of such an official] by the Reis Effendi and Achmet Pasha. Lord Ponsonby, the British ambassador, sought dismissal of these ministers. His tactics and threats of demands that his government would make, couched in extravagant language, provoked Russian intervention and alarmed the other powers. Before the British government could react, the Sultan dismissed the Reis Effendi, but Britain’s failure to demand dismissal of Achmet left Russian influence supreme. Ponsonby, however, emerged from defeat with credit, and Churchill received compensation.’ This diplomatic incident gave rise to a book, published at a somewhat later date, 1892, by the dragoman [official translator] at the French Embassy in Constantinople, Arthur Alric, titled ‘Un diplomat Ottoman en 1836 (Affaire Churchill)’ [An Ottoman diplomat in 1836 (the Churchill affair)] and printed in Paris. Interestingly on the title cover there is a note that the preface has been re-written by the [Ottoman] foreign ministry. This 137 pages long book goes into minute detail in to the Churchill affair, highlighting the tensions and power struggles between Ottoman officials, diplomats, dragomans and the Franque community bestowed with protection through past agreements. - segment -

Later, upon his request, William Churchill was given permission to publish a newspaper in Turkish. In 1840 (25th August) he began publishing the newspaper entitled Ceride-i Havadis. The responsible director of the newspaper was Murettep Mehmet Efendi. Though after a while he stopped publishing the newspaper because it was losing money, he resumed its publication as a weekly with help received from the government (Source: Turkish “MEYDAN - LAROUSSE ENCYCLOPEDIA” contribution to the encyclopaedia, pp 935-936, under BASIN [press], History of Turkish press, under Churchill, William). His son, Alfred Black Churchill, succeeded his father in the work of the paper “Jeride Howader”.

 Note: According to a web site dedicated to photography in the Ottoman Empire, ‘...Ceride-i Havadis, which printed foreign news items translated by an Englishman named William Churchill’, suggesting he was fluent in Turkish and Ottoman script by this stage, an impressive feat for a foreigner as apart from the nuances of the language there was the script to master as can be viewed by this archive book segment:

This was the first private newspaper published in Turkey (1840-1864, 1212 issues), the publishing of the newspaper which first appeared at the beginning of August 1840 was continued by William’s son Alfred Churchill and later by Josephe Mataies. Published every ten days at the beginning, was later changed to weekly. With help received from the government the newspaper became semi-official (should be interpreted as semi-governmental publication. Translator’s note). In October 1860 an additional publication was started entitled Ruzname (scan courtesy of Melisa Urgandokur), appearing every 4 days, ... p. 866 under BASIN [press], History of Turkish press, Turkish “MEYDAN - LAROUSSE ENCYCLOPEDIA” under Ceride-I Havadis.

Beatrice Belhomme, William Churchill’s wife was born in Constantinople 1803, Turkey, died in the same city 23 Nov 1895, buried in the Ferikoy Latin Catholic Cemetery there, 4 Dec 1856 moved to Constantinople from Smyrna with all children except Juliette who had married William. The Belhomme family were French and Catholics. Beatrice attended the parish of St. Anthony of Padua, in Pera [Beyoğlu] in Constantinople but interestingly the present building is of a later date, presumably replacing an older humbler building. The Belhomme family had property in Izmir until lately. Beatrice Churchill aged 53 was registered on 4 Dec 1856 with her children Alfred Black, Louisa, Harriet, Evdinia, and Victoria at the British Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Back in 1985, I did receive a reply from the parish priest (Alphonsus M. Samolut), who uncovered the entry for Beatrice Belhomme’s register of death (vol. II, page 155, no:89), whose translation from Italian reads ‘In the year of the Lord 1895 on the 23rd day of November, Beatrice, widow of William Churchill, born Belhomme, in her ninetieth year, comforted by the rites of the Church, died. Her body is buried in the Latin cemetery’. The same individual also kindly drew a sketch of the tomb, within the St. Joseph quadrant of Feriköy Latin cemetery, where also her son Alfred and his widow Evelyn de Balzac, are buried.

My mother (died in 1989) and I have been collecting info on Wm Churchill and his newspaper for years. My mother had corresponded with the Consul and a person in Turkey. One item I have is a box, Turkish I think. If it’s Turkish I probably would have inherited it from William Page, the American Consul. Unfortunately I have never come across copies of William Churchill’s paper, Ceride-i Havadis, but my investigations are continuing.

I know more of the Page side of my family. William Rufus Page’s father was Rufus King Page (1787-?), a shipbuilder and Mayor of Hallowell, Maine on the Kennebec River. We were able to get considerable amount of information, on Rufus King Page including a photo of his house, in a locally written book, “Old Hallowell on The Kennebec”, Emma Huntington Nason, Augusta, Maine 1909. Rufus King Page and Cornelius Vanderbilt were joint owners of the first line of steamboats between Boston and the Kennebec, afterwards he established a line of steamers running to San Francisco and other distant ports, and he owned the “Bangor”, first U.S. steamer to enter the Black Sea. William’s mother, Caroline Hull was the daughter of General William Hull of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. William and his father Rufus bought a wharf in Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia next to the Gosport Naval Yard and went into the ship building and repairing business with Philip Allen. At the Page and Allen shipyard they built “Neptune’s Car” - hover for painting, a 216 foot clipper ship, the largest built in Virginia. English born Captain Joshua Patten took charge of “Neptune’s Car” and, with his eighteen year old wife, Mary Ann (Brown) Patten, they sailed toward San Francisco, California when reaching the Cape of Good Hope, Joshua fell ill and became deaf and blind, and Mary became famous as the Florence Nightingale of the Seas as she took charge of the huge ship, caring for her husband. William Rufus Page first came to Constantinople, with the “Bangor”. The book, “Old Hallowell on The Kennebec”, has several serious errors in it, such as stating it was William Rufus Page who was the Consul of Jerusalem and Port Said, not his father and the propeller ship Bangor did not arrive in Constantinople in 1812 but more like 1862 (Rufus Rufus Page would have been 42 at the time), to be bought by the Turkish Government and used as a hospital ship. Unfortunately we don’t have photos of either of William Churchill or his family or William Page.

It’s possible that William Churchill had a publishing ancestry, but I don’t know, quite yet. I think his father was Frederick Churchill and his mother, Dorothy Nosworthy, But I have no confirmation, yet. I think the most interesting thing about William Churchill is pioneering the news in Turkey, his run-in with the authorities in Turkey, and the American connection through his son-in-law, William R. Page. I have a photocopy of a period journal (The Athenæum journal of literature, science, the fine arts, music and the drama - July to December 1870 - London) for the obituary of his son, who took over running of the paper, that speaks highly of his character and the newspaper. ‘The local press of Constantinople announces with general expressions of regret, shared in by all sections of society, the death, at the age of forty-five, of Mr Alfred B. Churchill, the editor and proprietor of the Turkish semi-official paper, the Jeride Howader. Mr Churchill was born at Constantinople, and succeeded his father in the conduct of the paper. Although his training was more French than English, he was thoroughly English in character. His qualifications enabled him to exercise considerable influence and promote the cause of progress, in which he was a most useful coadjutor to Fuat and Ali Pashas. He secured the co-operation of some able writers in the conduct of his paper, and was able to keep up its literary reputation against powerful opposition. He much improved the character of Turkish printing, and also bestowed attention on the spread of popular literature, publishing several cheap works, which included romantic and poetic novels, biographies, descriptions of ...’ I also have a copy of Alfred Churchill’s death certificate issued by the consulate at the time.

A modern author who has analysed the impact of Jeride Howader is Bernard Lewis and in his book ‘The emergence of modern Turkey - published 1961’, there are interesting observations of how this publication attracted both devotees and enemies, and help lay the ground work for free thought in that society, as a segment from this book (p.146) details:

New Media: The Press
Namık Kemal and his friends had however, no intention of waiting two centuries to catch up with Europe which it is implied, would in the meanwhile remain stationary. Their plans called for a more immediate programme of modernization and of social and political reform, the difficulties of which they grievously underestimated. Progress depended on free institutions, and free institutions were maintained by public opinion. The Ottoman liberals therefore set to work to create and instruct a Turkish public opinion which, they hoped, would play the same role in Turkey as its counterparts in Paris and London.

One of their chief media in this was the press, the importance of which, in the Western world, they were quick to realize. The first non-official periodical in Turkish, the weekly Ceride-i Havadis (Journal of News) had been started in 1840 by William Churchill, and was continued by his son after his death in 1864. This journal, which in its form and style was moulded on the official gazette, devoted rather more space than the latter to international affairs. In its early years it encountered some difficulties, and in 1843 was forced to close down for a while, possibly as a result of Russian pressure. Later it resumed publication, and seems to have been given a government subsidy. This, and a growing revenue from advertisements, kept the journal going, though, like the official gazette, it did not achieve regular publication.

The outbreak of the Crimean War brought new opportunities. The journalist Churchill covered the fighting for English newspapers, and his reports, which were also published in special supplements by the Ceride-i Havadis, gave the news-hungry Turkish reader a new insight into the function and value of the newspaper in the modern state. To keep in touch with this growing circle of readers, the editors of Ceride-i Havadis began to simplify the language in which the journal was written, gradually abandoning the cumbersome chancery style which they had previously shared with the official gazette, and adopting a simpler and more direct form of language. Turkish journalese was born in their columns. As well as news, they published articles and features, often in serial form, and thus gave a first apprenticeship literary journalism to a number of Ottoman men of letters, perhaps including [Ibrahim] Sinasi [(1826-71), together with Ziya Pasa (1825-80), Namik Kemal (1840-88), the three writers and poets at the forefront of Western style literary movement].

Apart from the colourless official gazette, the Ceride-i Havadis enjoyed a virtual monopoly of journalism in the Turkish language for twenty years. During that time it played an important pioneer role, accustoming the Turkish reader to news and features, and training a generation of journalists, as well as of printers, distributors, and other necessary adjuncts of the newspaper trade. In 1860 it had to encounter another aspect of the world of Western journalism – competition. - more info on early newspaper publishing in Turkey in the contemporary book: “Three years in Constantinople: or, Domestic manners of the Turks in 1844 - Charles White”
, google book view:

My mother, Beatrice Page (Sprague) Roberts (1907-1989), her brother and sister and her mother, Helen Augusta (Edson) Sprague (1882-1960) were living in Greenwich, CT in 1929 when her husband, William Gardner Sprague (1878-1956) deserted them and went to Los Angeles California to be with his dying mother, who had been remarried to an Australian merchant. Since her father left without notice, Beatrice might have felt cut off from her roots, but she also knew that she had some famous ancestors. I became interested because she had already done a lot work, and I had access to the New Jersey State Library’s enormous Family History floor and various opportunities to travel to historical societies.

Her grandfather, Dr. Cyrus Edson (1857-1903), was the Health Commissioner of New York City, and Cyrus’ father, Franklin Edson (1832-1904) was the Mayor of New York City during the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Cyrus’ wife was Virginia Churchill Page (1854-1891), daughter of William Rufus Page (1820-1875), shipbuilder and Consul to Turkey and Egypt and Juliette Churchill (1830-1870). Juliette was the daughter of William Nosworthy Churchill (1796-1846), whose wife Beatrice Belhomme (1803-1895) was daughter of Joseph Belhomme. Having discovered Beatrice Belhomme, my mother now knew how she got her given name.

It is assumed that in the process of doing business with Turkey, William met and married Juliette Churchill on 8 May 1848. Virginia Churchill Page was born in Norfolk in 1854. William did business in Portsmouth from 1837 to 1857 after which he moved with his wife, Juliette, and family to the Ottoman Empire to become American Consul, first in Jerusalem in 1860, then in Port Said, Egypt in 1870.

Of course much information on the Churchill side of things is missing, such as if he was related to the famous Churchill family of England, and my mother unsuccessfully tried to make contact with this family [info on recent book on the N. American line]. One thing that came out of searches done on her behalf in the British Library Reference Division, Dept of Oriental Records Manuscripts, London was that Wm Churchill wrote a book “Two Hundred Years of Turkish Printing - 1928”, so published well after (82 years) his death [or was it a publisher using his notes and name or a namesake grandson? - printing in Turkey was pioneered by an enigmatic Hungarian convert to Islam, İbrahim Müteferrika], however I don’t have a copy of this book, but would love to get it. Also I don’t know what William was doing in Smyrna before coming to Constantinople.

 Note: Subsequent investigations of by administrator of this site on the book “Two Hundred Years of Turkish Printing - 1928”, revealed no such entry in this title or under William Churchill, in the British Library or allied British libraries, so this book seems very rare. At present there is no evidence that this individual is a descendant of William Churchill above, but the subject matter of this book makes it possible (grandson through Alfred Black Churchill?). The name William Churchill crops up in some written works elsewhere, such as a ‘review author’ for ‘Foreigner in Turkey: Their Juridical Status, by Philip M. Brown, Princeton University Press, 1914 [Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, vol. 47, no.5, (1915), p.383] - hover here for details-’, but again, the identity of this person is at this stage pure speculation.

Correspondence in 1984 with an Izmir based researcher of Levantine background, Gilbert Epik, has brought to light from the Encyclopaedia for Turkish press, another individual of European background, Alexander Blacque, who was ‘brought’ [an official invitation perhaps] from Smyrna by Sultan Mahmut II (an online article entitled photography in the Ottoman Empire, shows the major shift towards Westernization under this ruler) and had him publish in 1830 “Le Moniteur Ottoman”, a French publication defending Ottoman interests and was the first publication in Turkey in that language. This was 10 years before the publication of Ceride-I Havadis, but possibly points to a link of these two families, and hints both men were somewhat prominent in their communities to be singled out for this honour. There is also the suggestion that either Alexander or a member of his family might have been Alfred’s god-father, as his middle name is Black, or there might be some family relation between the Blacques and either the Belhommes or the Churchills. The same researcher looking through the birth records held at the French Consulate in Istanbul noted that Alexander George Helvetius [hint that the family might be originally from Switzerland] Blacque was a merchant in Smyrna, married to Marie Anne Victoire Rossi and had a child with her in 1830, Marie Elizabeth Blacque. Cemetery records at the Catholic cemetery in Feriköy, revealed Marie Blacque was buried there on October 25, 1867, there is no stone visible now, but the plot was purchased by an Edouard Blacque (son of Alexander?) and in the same plot was buried a Marie Gondon in 1872, possibly her sister.

 Notes: 1- Alexander Blacque seems to have had a colourful career as revealed by the short history of early newspaper publishing in Smyrna. According to book reference p.216, ‘the first Smyrna paper was “Smyrneena”, published first at the beginning of 1824 by the Frenchman Charles Tricon. This individual sold his newspaper in the October of 1824 to M. Roux, another Frenchman, who changed the name of the publication to “Le Spectateur Oriental”, published weekly on Saturdays. This paper right from the start was popular and reflected the views of the major Smyrna merchant’s world along side the Turkish national mood. Some of the articles in this publication were not to the liking of states such as England and Russia and as a result the French Consulate in the city was bombarded with complaints. M. Roux then sold the newspaper to Alexander Blacque who had arrived with his father, one of the lawyers defending Louis the 16th, from Marseilles. This person considered Turkey his second nation, and strongly defended Turkey in his editorial policy. Ignoring the strong reaction from the French Consulate, he continued in his pro-Turkish stance for a long time. In consequence, the French Consul Castagne on the last day of December 1829, instructed a detachment of soldiers from a French war ship anchored off Urla, to raid the “Le Spectateur Oriental” printing shop. He instructed the machinery to be dismantled and removed to the Dutch Consulate. Alexander Blacque was also arrested and freed 3 days later upon payment of bail. The printer Vigoureux had run away from Smyrna. However, this event did not affect Alexander Blacque much, and following advice from friends, started publishing in the same year the weekly “Le Courrier de Smyrne”. This publication was long lived and was still in print at least until 1893, under the same name’.
The very pro-Turkish, and by inference pro-Sultan’s decree, stance of the Blacque family could possibly be a result of them being on the losing side in the tumultuous events in France. Louis 16th was the last emperor of France before the revolution and he along side with thousands of others lost their head (1793 in his case) and Royalist sympathisers left in droves to other countries with bitter memories. By the end of 1793 there were 4,595 political prisoners held in Paris, and Alexander’s father may well have been one of them and may have decided to emigrate on release, though not necessarily immediately to Smyrna.
We see on the web that for some reason Alexander Blacque is buried in Malta, dying in the capital of that island on 21th of May 1836, and from the web site detailing holdings of a library of the papers of Viscount John Porsonby states ‘Blacque died suddenly on his way to England, perhaps poisoned’.

2- In the book ‘The Princes’ Isles: a guide by John Freely - 2005’, pages 81 & 82 record the addresses of 2 consecutively owned mansions on Büyükada [Prinkipo] of an Edouard Blacque, almost certainly the one mentioned above, clearly very wealthy, described as an Ottoman diplomat and writer (no:33 & 60 on Çankaya cad).
In a historical on-line article on US-Turkey relations, this further information is available “In 1873 Edouard Blacque, who had served as a representative in Washington for six years from Aug. 23, 1867 to Aug. 4, 1873, submitted his credentials as Turkey’s first ambassador to the United States to President Johnson at the White House”. The years of tenure for Edouard makes it plausible he was the son of Alexander Blacque.
Further information on the life of Edouard Blacque Bey: (1824-95), journalist and diplomat. Born of French parents in Istanbul, Blacque Bey was the grandson of a lawyer and the son of a journalist. At age eight or nine he was sent to study at Saint-Barbe College, Paris. He returned to Istanbul in 1842 at age 18, was appointed a government translator, was editor of the semi-official newspaper in French, Courrier de Constantinople, 1846. Fluent in Turkish, French, Italian, and English, his diplomatic posts included Attaché and then First Secretary in Turkey’s Paris Embassy, 1853; Turkish Consul in Naples, Italy, 1860; Chargé d’Affairs at the newly opened Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., 1866; and Turkish Minister to the U.S., 1866-73. He was Director, Press Dept., Istanbul, 1876; Member of the State Council, 1878; Director, Sixth Municipal Dept., Istanbul, 1878-90; Ambassador to Bucharest, 1890; and again Director, Sixth Municipal Dept., Istanbul, 1891-95. He was honoured with diplomatic medals from several countries. •Ref. Reşat Ekrem Koçu (chief editor), Istanbul Encyclopaedia, vol. 5, n. pp. 2834-2835 - Istanbul, 1961.

3- The story of the Blacque family is examined in the book, ‘Osmanlı Basınının Doğuşu ve Blak Bey Ailesi - Bir Fransız Ailesinin Bâbıâli Hizmetinde yüz yılı: 1821-1822 - Orhan Koloğlu’ [The birth of the Ottoman Press and the Blacque family - The hundred year service of a French family in the Ottoman press: 1821-1822], details viewable here:

4- The researcher Marie-Anne Marandet pointed out in 2010 that there was also an English merchant family in Constantinople at the same with the name Black, though pointing out this name being adopted as a middle name for one of the Churchills could be a coincidence, was able to provide this information on these two individuals:
•Thomas Nixon Black (Born around 1782, died 1863 in London) was an agent for the English Lloyds in Smyrna. His son Thomas Nixon Black Junior (b. 1834 in Constantinople) was the manager of the Ottoman Bank in Adrianopolis. He married Antoinette Glavany (from an important banker family) in 1870 in Constantinople.
•Alexandre Helvétius Georges Blacque (Blak Bey in Turkish) was born in Paris on August 28th 1792 and died in Valetta (Malta) on May 21st 1836; He married in Smyrna in 1820 Marianne Victoire Rossi. He became famous in 1831 by publishing in Constantinople the first newspaper writen in French “Le Moniteur Ottoman” which was financed by the Ottoman government. Alexandre Blacque supported the ideas of the Ottoman government against the philhellenic ideas. He might have been killed by the Russians who supported the Greek revolution.


I have no record of Alfred Black Churchill (or any of his sisters excluding Juliet) having children, but there is always a remote possibility that there are descendants out there.

Unfortunately I have no physical relicts of my ancestors that I know of, but there are 3 mystery boxes in my possession, two wooden inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and another of metal.


 Notes:
1- In October 2006, an contributor, kindly scanned a copy of Ceredi Havadis, dated (in European calendar conversion) 21th January 1920, revealing details such as its claim as the 85th year of publication, which seems to place the start date of the paper 3 years (the two calendars are not synchronous) before the 1840 noted above, but the paper seemed to have been relaunched at least once, possibly confusing the picture - images -

2- The same contributor in November 2006, kindly provided details of a book ‘The short-sighted Churchill Affair’ written by the author Orhan Koloğlu on the Ceride-i Havadis newspaper, in which on pages 128-129 he provides details of family members not revealed above. These include, date when William N. Churchill settled in Smyrna (from England), 1815-16 according to the local French language paper, Courrier de Smyrna, and according to consular records (possibly when he registered himself) as 1822. In addition to most (but not Juliet) of the children recorded above of William and Beatrice Churchill, there is a Henry Churchill recorded who died in Palermo, Sicily in the 1880s while he was the British Consul there.
An internet search subsequently revealed more on his life, from his obituary: ‘In his fifty-seventh year [died 1886, therefore born 1829, making him younger than brother Alfred Black], of Mr. Henry A. CHURCHILL, who at twenty began his career in the service of the Crown by assisting the British Commission for the Delimitation of the Turco-Persian Boundary. As Secretary and Interpreter on the Staff of the British Commissioner with the Turkish Army in the Asia, he took part in the defence of Kars - postcard views -, and was for a time a Russian prisoner, on its capitulation [November 1855], to General Mouravieff. After filling several important Consulships and Consul-Generalships, he was appointed in 1879 Consul of Palermo’.
More clues on the role of Henry A. Churchill is provided by a book written by one of the defenders of Kars, Colonel Atwell Lake, which indicates Henry Churchill could translate from Arabic and was at the time of the Crimean war attaché of the British mission in Persia. In another book ‘A Narrative of the Siege of Kars, and of the Six Months’ Resistance by the Turkish Garrison Under... by Humphry Sandwith’, there are 3 references to this Churchill, viewable online, page 233, 289 and 307, showing him to be a loyal and able officer. In addition in the book ‘Kars and our captivity in Russia –– London, Richard Bentley, 1856’ p.19 there is this reference: ‘my secretary, Mr. Churchill, an attaché of Her Majesty’s mission in Persia; he directed the fire of a battery throughout the action, and caused the enemy great loss’.
This notable act led to his becoming Consul at Sarajevo, Bosnia, Jassy in Rumania, then H. M.’s Agent, Consul-General in Moldavia and H.M’s Consul-General in Syria, Consul in Zanzibar, Tanzania (1865-1870), and British Consul at Palermo in 1879. He wrote an article on cholera in Zanzibar in 1870, held in the archives of the The Royal Geographic Society in London.
A chance web-site discovery has revealed the name of a younger brother of the Consul Henry A. Churchill, William A. Churchill, who visited his brother in Zanzibar where he was posted, and clearly showed an artistic flair, not dissimilar to his brother’s when doing field sketches during the siege of Kars, so a family trait perhaps. This web site also has some information on the character of H. A. Churchill.
In addition through the ‘National Probate Calendar’ records held at the National Archives Centre (PRO library) in London, published on 2nd Sept 1886 details as follows: ‘Administration (with the will) of the Personal Estate (value £304) [~£18.500 in today’s money] of Henry Adrian Churchill formerly of Zanzibar but late of Palermo in Italy who died 12 July at Palermo was granted at the Principal Registry under the usual Limitations to Harry Lionel Churchill of 8 Park Place, Upper Baker Street in the County of Middlesex [now part of central London], Her Majesty’s Vice-Consul, the Lawful Attorney of Marie Churchill Widow the Relict the sole Executrix now residing in Palermo.’ Thus we know the names of his wife and son and the son’s address. From the National Archive records it seems this individual seems to have been also a physician and corresponded with Lord Hardinge.

3- In July 2007 contact was made with a researcher (not a descendant) William Ramp, a lecturer in sociology of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and the following valuable information received - later some corrections and additions added by family descendant Simon Churchill (son of Oliver, listed below), June 2010:
Henry Adrian Churchill (1829-1886) had at least three sons, one of whom was Harry Lionel Churchill C.M.G., H.M., British consul-general at Genoa at the time of his death. Another was Sidney John Alexander Churchill M.V.O., who served as British Consul in Palermo and Lisbon, as well as in earlier postings in Persia. He died in 1921 [obituary in the Times - details of a dissertation done in 1996 under the title of ‘The Collection of Italian Peasant Jewellery, Collected by Sidney J. A. Churchill MVO and its place in the Market Today’]. He married Stella Myers, and although they later separated, they had two children, a son, George, and a daughter. Stella (Myers) Churchill was a well-known pioneer in public health, child-welfare and women’s health in London, England, and author of several books and papers. She died in 1954 [obituaries in the Times]. Stella (Myers) Churchill had a sister, Hannah Violet Myers (died 1943), who married a William Algernon Churchill, about 1906 [news in the Times]. There appear to have been at least two William Algernon Churchills; a vice-consul in Mozambique appointed 1891 [news in the Scotsman] and the one who married Violet Myers was born about 1865 and died 1947. The coincidence of two Myers sisters marrying two Churchills leads me to believe that this W. A. Churchill and S. J. A. Churchill were related -- perhaps brothers or first cousins. The other W.A. Churchill would have been an uncle or cousin as ours (son of Herny Algernon) would have been only about 5 when the ‘Zanzibar artist’ mentioned above did visit H.A. Churchill. The ‘younger’ William Algernon Churchill later served in several postings as a British Consul - in Amazon provinces (appointed 1897), Venice/Lombardy (1919), in Amsterdam, then Stockholm, and finally Milan, from where he retired in 1923 to live in Malvern, Worcestershire. I believe he may also have had postings in the Middle East at some earlier point in his career. He was also an art connoisseur, and author of what is still the standard reference work on early European paper and papermaking, ‘Watermarks in Paper’. W.A. and Violet Churchill had four children, as follows:
1. Squadron Leader (acting Group Captain at the time of his death) Walter Myers Churchill, born in Amsterdam 1907, killed in action 1942. Walter obtained an engineering degree at Cambridge University and started an aviation engineering company, Churchill Components (Coventry) Ltd, in 1937. He was a friend of Frank Whittle, the jet-engine pioneer, and Churchill Components machined compressor blades for the first gas-turbine engines tested by Whittle. During the war, Walter served with No. 605 (County of Warwick) squadron and others, and took part in the Battle of Britain as a Squadron Leader. He also evaluated various makes of fighter aircraft for the RAF, and played a key role in getting Spitfire aircraft to the defence of Malta in the hands of the American Eagle Squadron, which he helped train. He was killed in a Spitfire while leading a raid over Sicily from Malta - details. He was credited with eight ‘kills’ and was awarded a DSO and a DFC. Walter Churchill’s company continued under the management of his wife, Joyce, and subsequently by his second son, James J. Churchill. The company is still in existence as J.J. Churchill, Ltd and is now managed by James’s son, Andrew.
image courtesy of Simon Churchill
Group Captain Walter Churchill
2. Capt. Peter Morland Churchill (1909-1972) - image. Peter was born in Amsterdam and attended Cambridge University where he was an outstanding athlete and played ice hockey for his country. Peter served in a minor diplomatic post in Algiers in the late 1930’s, and joined the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II, and carried out clandestine missions in France. On one of these, he was betrayed and captured, along with his co-worker, Odette Sansom. For the benefit of his captors, Peter Churchill invented a fictional marriage to Odette, and a fictional relation to Sir Winston Churchill, in an effort to protect Odette. The efforts were unsuccessful; both suffered severe abuse and were tortured by the Gestapo before being sent to concentration camps - details. Peter and Odette, were each decorated for their wartime activities - Peter was awarded a DSO, while Odette received an MBE and became the first woman to receive the George Cross for her bravery, and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France. They married after the war, but divorced in the 1955. Peter moved to the south of France and worked as an estate agent near Cannes until his death in 1972. A movie, ‘Odette’ (1951), was made of their exploits, starring Trevor Howard and Anna Neagle. Peter also wrote four books based on his wartime experiences: ‘Of their own Choice’, ‘Dual of Wits’, ‘The Spirit in the Cage’, and ‘By Moonlight’. He had no children.
3. Flora Churchill, born about 1911, died 1929 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
4. Major William Oliver Churchill (1914-1997). Oliver was born in Stockholm and before the war studied Modern Languages at Cambridge University and joined the Territorial Army as war became imminent and was soon called up to the Worcestershire Regiment. Oliver, as his brother Peter, joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in which he was involved in clandestine, behind-the-lines work in Italy, Greece and Middle East during the war. Oliver was captured by the Germans in Northern Italy I think, during his SOE spell there between 1944 and 1945 and was tortured, but managed to escape (by overcoming his captors, as I understand it). He was decorated with a DSO and an MC - details. Oliver would not talk at all about his wartime experiences. He married Ruth Briggs, who was a key member of the British intelligence code-breaking team at Bletchley Park during the war. After the war they moved to Cambridge where Oliver practiced as an architect. Oliver’s eldest son, Toby, is a leading disabled entrepreneur and founded a company, Toby Churchill Ltd, manufacturing world-leading communication aids for people who cannot speak.
All in all, a very distinguished family!

In 2011 a book was published where there are numerous (10 times) references to William Oliver Churchill - ‘Mission Accomplished: SOE and Italy 1943-1945’ by David Stafford.

4- Also revealed in Koloğlu’s book was that Alfred (died 20-11-1870) and Evelyn Churchill had children and grand-children. William Sidney Churchill was born Constantinople 26-9-1860, and died in the same city 30-7-1918. He married a Elise Bensi on 18-7-1887. He was a major in the Egyptian army. He had 3 children from this marriage: Evelyn Mary (died Egypt 19-3-1890), William Alfred (b. Constantinople 12-5-1894, d. same city 13-7-1945) [presumably the author of ‘Two Hundred Years of Turkish Printing - 1928’] and Mary Amalia Feride (died Hanya, born 4-5-1898).
The army service in Egypt could be explained by better conditions of service than in the Ottoman army. A book on this subject, ‘Soldiers of the Nile: British Officers of the Egyptian Army 1882-1925 - Henry Keown-Boyd, 1996’, states: ‘There was never a shortage of officers for the Egyptian Army (E.A.). For impecunious and ambitious young officers E.A. service offered considerably higher pay, the chance of active service, plenty of sport and at least while on leave, the joy’s of the flesh-pots of Cairo and Alexandria. Furthermore, instant if temporary promotion went with the job. Few British officers held a rank lower than Binbashi (Major) except officers commissioned from the ranks. With these inducements the authorities could afford to be selective and on the whole, only first rate officers were chosen. Officers with impeccable records, high standards of achievement in horsemanship, musketry and other martial arts, were eligible’ - postcard views of Egyptian barracks where William Sidney Churchill may have served.
The other 2 children of Alfred Black and Evelyn Churchill were: Lidia (1862-?), Oswald William (b. Constantinople 10-2-1864-?) and Nora (1866-?).

To reveal the updated family tree, click here:

Additional information courtesy of Marie-Anne Marandet, 2010: The wife of William Noseworthy Churchill, Beatrice Belhomme, was the daughter of Jean “Joseph” Belhomme and Marie “Elisabeth” Lucie Barbier was born in Adrianopolis (Edirne) on October 11th 1805 and died in Constantinople on November 23d 1895. Their marriage took place in Smyrna (Izmir) where the Belhomme family had moved and was celebrated on Novembre 3rd, 1824 in the British Chapel of Smyrna (archives British Chapel in Smyrna 1795-1832).
•Jean Joseph Belhomme - father of Beatrice - was a French merchant, born in Marseille on June 10th 1762, his parents, Blaise Belhomme (sailor a boat owner) & Anne Terrasson, both came from the town of La Ciotat (a little bit further on the coast). He settled in Adrianopolis which was at that time an important network that caravans used to cross to reach different regions of the Turkish empire as well as the Austrian empire. He married in Adrianopolise Marie “Elisabeth” Lucie Barbier (°Dec 13,1764 Adrianopolis - + August 27th 1848 Smyrna) on November 29th 1787; she was the daughter of Philippe Barbier (merchant) & Victoria Meynard, both French but born in Turkey (we can trace both families back to the 17th century in Turkey).
Some of the Churchill descendants were baptised in catholic churches, some were not. I’ve no idea on how they choosed their religion
In addition, for your tree on the Churchill , I have the following information:
•Maria Louisa “Lydia” Churchill (born around 1861 - buried in Istanbul on March 20th 1951), married to Adolfo Braggiotti (1841-1903), son of Michele Braggiotti & Despina Castelli
•Oswald Leon Churchill (son of Alfred) who married Julia Gargiulo on November 28th 1896 in Constantinople (St Antoine Catholic Church)
•Sydney Churchill (son of Alfred), widow of Bianca Sereno, marries Philomène “Elisabeth” Sophie Benci on August 29, 1887 (Saint Antoine Catholic church)
•Alfred William Edmond Placide Churchill, son of Sydney & Elisabeth Benci, born 12 May 1894 in Constantinople & baptised on May 22nd in St Antoine Catholic church.

Using the British Consular registers of deaths as a starting point, by cross-reference we hope to identify other branches of the rather complex Churchill family - view.

In 2010 this Internet posting was discovered showing the many brothers and sister of William Nosworthy Churchill (he was the 4th of 12 children of Frederick Henry Churchill and Dorothy Nosworthy), showing distant cousins still lived around the world.

5- The location of the Ceride-i Havadas printing shop is revealed in a book (Cumhuriyet öncesi ve sonrası Matbaa ve Basın Sanayii, [pre and post Republic printing and press industry] Istanbul 1998, p. 62), in the old Istanbul district of Bahçekapı, part of the Eminönü quarter, a corner of the square on which the present 4th Vakıf han stands - view.

6- There is a hint that William N. Churchill in 1840 (the first year Ceredi Havadis was published) was involved in mercantile affairs, as apart from his editorial work, he is listed in the Galata stock exchange listing, amongst the mostly established Latin Levantine merchants of the time (there is a scattering of other Anglo-Levantines, Armenians, Orthodox Greeks and Jews). The mercantile clue for the family is further supported by documentary evidence from 1860 provided a contributor in December 2006, a permission provided to William’s son’s wife for the establishment of a macaroni factory in the Marmara Sea Island of Büyükada [Prinkipo, the largest of the Prince’s Islands] - details.

7- In December 2006, a contributor, Melisa Urgandokur, while browsing the Ottoman archives in Istanbul came across a letter written by Alfred Churchill to the Sultan via the foreign minister Reşid Pacha, informing them of the death of his father and its content giving a fascinating insight into the relations with the authorities and degree of support offered by the Palace to the Churchill family who clearly were struggling at the time, details:
8 children are mentioned in this petition, and this is the total number that should be when our discovery of the ‘artist’, William A. Churchill, is added.
In January 2007 Melisa Urgandokur was able to provide proof that Alfred Churchill, despite being the editor of the Ceride-i Havadis, goes to the Crimea in 1854 as an observer to report to his newspaper on the war being fought there. His reports are published in a supplement to this paper on a daily basis, which prove highly popular with the readers and a single example of one these issues, dated 1271, is in the archives of the Hakkı Tarık Us library in Istanbul. The official document to allow for unhindered passage of Alfred Churchill to the Crimea, as well as other documents pertaining to the Churchill family were examined by our contributor, viewable here: This was the first war which was reported by war correspondends in the modern sense, and so Alfred Churchill represented one of these pioneers of reporting and other individuals such as Roger Fenton and James Robertson were amongst the first to document a war with photos, albeit mostly staged for propoganda purposes.

8- Mr Roberts of Reedville in Virginia was a scientific researcher and manager of research before he retired from the State of New Jersey Dept of Transportation. He has a BA in industrial psychology from Lehigh University and an MA in administration from Rider University. He has had many research papers published by the State and The Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences under the name, Arthur W. Roberts III. He has supported and helped save the New Jersey State Department of Transportation Research (technical) Library, so that researchers could continue to do reference studies to help direct research projects and publish reports with heavy reference footnotes. It turns out that his great-great-grandfather, Lewis Roberts, led a group of businessmen to establish the Mercantile Library Association, now known as the Brooklyn City Library and was one the founding contributors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Luckily, the honorary membership has been passed down to him. Mr Roberts continues to research in his spare time, his ancestry both pertaining to the Levant and settlers in America, would appreciate any further information to help in his endeavours and can be contacted via awroberts[at]kaballero.com.



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