The story of a community
In spite of my surname, I am not related to the famous Giraud family of Smyrna. These Girauds, descended from Jean Baptiste Giraud, came from Antibes [postcard views] from the Provence region of France. My family comes from the Charente Maritime region of the west of France.
In fact, it is my mother’s Ottoman origins that are certain. Around fifty of years ago, a genealogist friend traced the history of my mother’s ancestors who lived primarily in Salonica [archive postcard views] between 1750 and 1900.
I have also been researching information about these ancestors mainly through diplomatic correspondence of the time. Little by little the family history is revealed. Several members of my family participate in the research via the Internet, CARAN [National Archives] in Paris, or the CCI [Chamber of Commerce] archives in Marseilles. From the archives of the Ottoman Bank, and particularly the book by J. Karatzoglou, we have learned that the house of John Abbott (grandson of Bartholomew Edward) later served as the first branch of the Ottoman Bank in Salonica - further details. The house is still standing, without its garden, on Frangon Street and some of the big statues that were in the garden are now scattered in various squares of the city. We were also able to source documents concerning pyrite mines of Isvor [possibly in modern Macedonia - see p. 285 of this old travel journal - the diplomatic correspondence for tax relief for the war years due to the region being part of the southern front of conflict against Bulgaria] and other mines in Pigi [Crete?] which my great, great grandfather, Antoine Saridaki, a Greek Ottoman subject, probably inherited from his great, great grandfather, Bartholomew E. Abbott. My main source of information on the early history of the Abbott family and other ancestors is this genealogical study. The sections below are translated from French.
The various families:
ABBOTT & GLINBICH
Meropi Anastassiadou writes [in the book “Salonica 1850-1918,” A Collection of Mémoires, No 12, January 1992, Chapter “The Westerners of the Place”]: “The first Abbott who settled in Salonica was Bartholomew Edward, founder of the English Levant Company [incorrect, the English Levant Company was founded in London in 1581 by Royal Charter…more]. He and his wife, a Greek from Smyrna, arrived in the capital of [the Ottoman province of] Macedonia in 1771. They had several children who became authentic Levantines, under the influence of their mother.”
B.E. Abbott married (around 1780/1785?) Sarah Rhasi (nee Anartary, the widow of the French merchant in Salonica, Gabriel Chasseaud), and their three children were brought up in the Orthodox religion. In June 1788, he is both an English merchant in Salonica and a vice-consul of Sweden and attends a meeting of the consuls on the dangers of plague. “He did not want to sign the act, being the owner of one of three vessels bound for England and having given the authorization for his ship to travel to Trieste. He did not dare to declare his opinion publicly. He had given a clean bill of health to the Swedes, while informing the magistrate of Trieste about what had occurred, and had given the captain a letter to all the frigate commanders that he might meet, ostensibly warning them also…however, this conduct concerning public health was not correct.” On June 25, 1789, he obtains from the Venetian consular court the lifting of the embargo imposed by a French commercial firm on 14 loads of cotton belonging to him and transfers them to the consulate of England.
In October 1807, as consul of Sweden, B.E. Abbott gives a dinner party for the officers on the brig of the English man-o-war “Delight.” These officers had come to Salonica to fetch an English officer who had been released from prison. During this dinner, the English captain promised to provide protection against the pirates by escorting a ship with a cargo of 200.000 piastres. Quite to the contrary, he halted and took it over after the two ships had left the bay of Salonica. Faced with the outrage in the Frank Quarter of those entitled to the cargo, Abbott had to take official steps to force the release of the ship thus seized.
On September 23, 1808, in spite of the Continental Blockade, Abbott and Chasseaud receive from Malta a ship flying the Austrian flag, accompanied by an English supercargo laden with coffee, sugar, cochineal, and indigo. Similarly, on August 2, 1812, again from Malta, they receive the major part of a substantial cargo of English cotton thread and immediately redirect it via Austria to its destination in Berlin.
Abbott becomes consul of England during 1790/1792 (Mertzios, 451/452), then manager of the consulate of Venice during 1791/1792. In March 1803, he is the pro consul of Britain, vice-consul of Denmark, and finally consul general of Sweden, a post that he holds until his death. He and Mr. Chasseaud were business partners. Henry Holland describes an evening in the house of the consul of Austria in Salonica:
“The reception resembled a kind of “conversazione” but there was also a room with gambling tables. There were Greeks, Germans, English, and some French residents. The only women present were the wives and daughters of the consul and Mr. Chasseaud, friends of the Abbotts, all Greek. Towards the end of the evening, these girls sang Turkish and Rumanian songs for us.”br />
Showing his disdain, Clairambault, Abbott’s enemy, said of Abbott that he “studies how to quarrel” and that he “is constantly directed against sound reason.” Abbott experienced serious difficulties under the [French] Revolution, including physical threats with guns from the French trader, Tavernier, who had truly Jacobin sympathies. Around 1805, he takes part, as executor of the estate of his nephew by marriage, Antoine Glinbich, in a lawsuit held in the Carapelli abbey against his niece, the widow. On December 12, 1808, the French consul complains that Mssrs. Abbott and Chasseaud “in a very despotic tone” challenged the arrangement presented by the consul and Mr. Vianello in another lawsuit against a Venetian merchant and “had the effrontery to propose that the trial take place in London.”
Note: In addition the relationship between the Abbotts and Vianello was clearly not an easy one as the British Parliamentary papers of 1841 show at least 2 court cases between these two families involving debt and breach of contract - details:
B.E. Abbott died in Salonica on March 18, 1817, leaving, according to the French consul, “a very reduced heritage, burdened with many debts,” yet this nonetheless did not cause serious difficulties for his widow, Sarah, since she also died in Salonica on January 20, 1818. They left behind three children: a son, George Frederic Abbott, and two girls, Mrs. Antoine Parsy (Anna) and Mrs. Pierre Glinbich (Marie Canella).
- Anna (known as Annette) was born some time before 1789. While she died on April 29, 1834, according to her husband at age 45, she married Antoine Parsy before October 1802. Antoine Parsy was born in Salonica on May 24, 1771, and died in Salonica on November 4, 1833. He was the son of François Parsy, wig maker of Corsican origin, who settled in Salonica, and of Catherine Rabagouni. A merchant in Salonica, Antoine Parsy went totally bankrupt on October 13, 1802 (“a great misfortune for the place”), leaving unpaid debts of up to 430,000 piastres. Although a legal settlement of 40% or 50% was at one time proposed, he could never restore his business and died in poverty “in such a poor wretched shack far from the city” that the consulate organized a collection for his funeral and his “deplorable” (sic.) family (his widow and four children).
- Marie Canella was born probably about 1791? and married her nephew, Pierre Glinbich, in the British fashion at the beginning of 1811.
- George Frederic Abbott, born about 1785 at the latest (his daughter marries aged 16 in 1819), was a trader in Salonica and for a time vice-consul of Russia. His first marriage was to one of the three daughters of Nano Caftandjoglou, “the richest private individual and the principal Greek trader (Orthodox) of the city,” trading extensively with Marseilles around 1818. G.F. Abbott had four children with this wife and Caftandjoglou left them a legacy of 120.000 piastres in total. After his first wife died, George Abbott remarried Georgetta Giustiniani, called “Coconella,” who had a legendary past and whom the French Consul accused not only of having plundered “the remains of Mr. de Clairambault” (shouldn’t one find in the remonstrations which the abbot Carapelli probably made to Mr. de Clairambault in the secrecy of the confessional the origin of the truly hateful feelings Clairambault held for the abbot?) but also “those of Mr. J.B. Michaux who had wasted on her an unfaithful clerk, the Sr. Odon Peillon.”
Before his death, B.E. Abbott had given his wife and his son power of attorney as executors of his estate. On June 27, 1817, a burglary occurred in the storehouses; in spite of this incident and their complaints, Mrs. Parsy and Mrs. Glinbich could neither obtain an inventory, nor access the accounts of the House of Abbott and Chasseaud. After the death of his mother (the son had purchased a house at Ouroumdjick in order to rent it to a relative of his second wife), George renounced his power of attorney and claimed himself creditor of the inheritance of 36.570 piastres, and required immediate payment; the sisters accused their brother of having given his second wife the most beautiful jewels and shawls of their mother and refused to believe his statements about being impoverished. They claimed that George himself had made bankruptcy arrangements with the creditors of their father, that he put on sale the house of Ouroumdjik and by himself determined the inheritance shares. In spite of the efforts of the French consul to intervene, the case was held entirely before the British courts because of the British nationality of the deceased: the Consular Court of Salonica, then on appeal before the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court of Canterbury (George taking an oath according to the rite of the Reformed Church of England, and not according to that of the Greek religion which was his and his sisters). We are unaware of the final outcome, but it was probably favourable to the son because poor Mrs. Parsy remained in poverty and the house of Ouroumdjik (or Urendjik?) passed thereafter apparently to one of George’s sons.
Among the four children of George Abbott and his first wife, their daughter, Caroline Sarah Abbott, married Felix Lafont (1792-1840) on December 2, 1819. Lafont had succeeded his father, Gabriel Lafont, as doctor of the French colony of Salonica. At the time of this marriage, the consul informs us that Sarah, 16-17 years old, was “the most beautiful person in Salonica,” had not received “any education other than that of the Levant,” but praises her personal qualities: “extremely hard working, irreproachable morals, and an excellent character.” However, the untimely death of her husband at age 48 left her with 8 children (with very variable later success) and pregnant with the 9th. Thus she remarried according to the “Anatolic” (Orthodox) rite on September 15, 1845. Her second husband was Charles Goy, originating from Geneva, merchant and vice-consul from the Hanseatic Cities in Salonica. According to Maropi Anastassiadou, one of Sarah’s brothers, Henry Abbott, was the owner of vast forests on Mount Olympus and a large exporter of girders bound for British shipyards.
Note: It seems this Abbott was murdered in 1876, as recorded by the Illustrated London News of the time - details.
In 1835, the French consul informs us, without any indulgence for the two other brothers of Sarah: “John Nelson Abbott, English, vice-consul of Denmark, was the subject of complaints and acquired the aversion of everyone; he had no other resource but to take his industry to Volos. He left his brother Robert Abbott in Salonica, hardly better off than himself, but who was able to put up with the general contempt. They are English in name only because they were born here. They never left except to run the coast; one rather considers them as “rayas” (Turkish term to indicate their Orthodox Greek faith) than as “franks.”
In fact, a few years later, John Abbott, “Jackie” for his close friends, made a considerable fortune in the export of leeches to Europe (fished in wells located on the marshy grounds around the city), a trade that expanded rapidly:
Values exported in 1848: ... 252.706 f.
Values exported in 1849: ... 511.573 f.
Values exported in 1850: ... 1.775.111 f.
Meropi Anastassiadou recalls the local legend according to which John Abbott had not hesitated, in order to seize the most productive well, to rush out and kick the owner violently. The owner was a Jew who had had the disastrous idea to show him the place and who disappeared instantaneously “having lost all his blood in the wink of an eye.” The legend adds far-fetched details on his fortune, his ostentation, and his failed attempt in 1859 to receive the Abdul-Medjid Sultan in his villa-palace of Urendjik 7 km. from Salonica. More concretely, the French consul explains in 1849: “The trade of leeches is a monopoly; fishing rights are allocated by auction in Constantinople. A company of English origin has been the highest bidder for many years, controlling the monopoly, and thereby built a very great fortune; here, they resell the leeches to an Austrian merchant who then sends them to Trieste at his own risk.” Then in 1851, Anastassiadou specifies:
“Abbott Brothers, English subjects, have a capital of approximately 1.500.000 piastres. They work little themselves for their business; their principal earnings abroad come from commissions. London, Marseilles, Amsterdam, Vienna, Genoa, Trieste, Malta, Syria, Smyrna, and Constantinople are their centres of operation. They receive from these various ports refined sugars, coffees, leathers from Buenos Aires, and salt which they sell on behalf of their representatives; in exchange, they ship cereals, oleaginous seeds, and promissory notes as reimbursement for the goods that they have sold. The trade that gives them the greatest profit is that of the leeches from the Pachalik of Salonica over which they have held the monopoly for many years. Moreover, they make considerable speculations on the spot in cereals that they buy from the pashas, the beys, and the large landowners of Macedonia. Their great influence over the Turkish authorities facilitates their business and this influence is due to the fact that they are the money lenders of the pashas, the beys of the country, etc. who turn to them to obtain cash advances on the produce from future harvests. These merchants are owners of a mill that spins silk in the manner of the Italian Piedmont region, with annual production rising to 2.000 kgs., exported in major part to London, and the remainder to Marseilles. The volume of their business is estimated at approximately 1.000.000 piastres in addition to the speculations on the spot.”
Notes: 1- This trade may also have been especially profitable since it circumvented the ban on the export of silk from the Italian Piedmont region - details:
2- There is more on the activities of John Abbott, and his control of Salonica through money-lending in the book ‘Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950 – Mark Mazower’ - segment -
Although originating legally in Ragusa, Antoine Glinbich was born in Salonica probably around 1760-1765, because, at the time of his request for naturalization in 1818, his son indicates that neither he nor his father was born in Ragusa, and that they had not kept any property there. Further, at the time of the various lawsuits that take place around 1805, no mention is made of an unspecified relation still remaining in Ragusa. In fact, as one will see further on, the association with Vianello, the use of the Italian, and certain clauses of his indicate instead bonds with Venice.
In Salonica, he joins a commercial firm with Giovanni Vianello, “my very dear associate… whose honesty is well known to me” and who will also become the godfather to his son.
May 20, 1789, while Austria and Turkey are at war, he buys from the Turks for 120 piastres (the act in Turkish is preserved in a photocopy) a little boy slave of around 4 1/2 years old, probably pilfered by the Turks, named Giovannachi, and called Berrenstatt (probably Austrian in origin or else Ragusan). Pierre Chasseaud, witness in 1808, recounted that the child did not know his name and uttered only “maica” = mother. In his will, Antoine Glinbich charged his wife with assuring the maintenance of the child, leaving him 1.000 piastres and “warmly” recommending to the executors of his estate “to interest him in commerce by having him work with correspondence.” A few years after the death of Glinbich, Giovannachi was thus taken in by Abbott “to allow him to work in my office and, at the same time, give him this education so necessary to succeed in the world.” Abbott “had him give out the employees’ salaries” and placed in his own commercial firm the 1.000 piastres bequeathed by Glinbich. Around the age of 23-24, Giovannachi left Abbott in May 1808, without giving him any notice, and subsequently, Abbott, eager to keep the small savings as long as possible, sought to exploit the uncertainty about Giovannachi’s nationality (Austrian, Ragusan or Italian) and of his age. Mr. Clairambault, the consul, then took this matter to the ambassadorial level of France, Austria, and Sweden in Constantinople. The decision was taken on June 20, 1808, and declared him a Ragusan, as nobody knew his birthplace with certainty.
Around 1790, Antoine Glinbich married (in Salonica? In Smyrna?) Elisabeth Abbott who was of Orthodox religion (source of the later quarrel with the priest Carapelli) and was the niece of Bartholemy-Edward Abbott, merchant and consul of Sweden in Salonica. We don’t know the names of the parents of Elisabeth Abbott, but it is very probable that her father, of English origin more or less, had married a Greek Orthodox, as had his brother, Barthelemy-Edward in marrying Sarah Rhasi in Smyrna. Elisabeth Abbott also had a brother, Henri Abbott, to whom his brother-in-law Fouquier wrote in Smyrna in October 1807 [could this mysterious Henri be the originator of the Smyrna branch of the Abbotts?].
From this marriage, two children were born:
- Pierre, known as Petracchi, born around 1792, marries around 1811 his aunt, then in the British fashion, Marie-Canella Abbott.
- Anna, mentioned in her father’s will, but probably deceased soon after 1798, because no subsequent document mentions her.
Antoine Glinbich died young, shortly after having made his will on July 2, 1798, in Umagik, a village neighboring Salonica. The abbott Carapelli, priest of Salonica and confessor of Antoine, undoubtedly assumed a large role in the drafting of this document in Italian, very characteristic of the tensions that could arise at this time between the Catholic and Orthodox beliefs. Antoine designated his uncle Abbott and his associate Vianello as executors concerning his material assets, but entrusted to the abbott Carapelli the civil and religious education of his children, while asking his wife not to oppose the abbott in this matter, yet specifying besides that the abbott and his wife “would act in concert to know in which city of Christendom it will be best to send Petracchi and Anna when they reach 10 years old, the former to college, the latter to a convent up to age 18.” He left to his wife “all the jewelry, clothes, promissory notes, and household furnishings” a capital of 8.000 piastres and “the interest on all the capital invested in the company and all current profits” (he left ¾ of the capital to his son and ¼ to his daughter), but a clause provided that in “case of the remarriage of his wife, she would forego the interest and these funds instead would go to Signor Don Carapelli to provide for the needs of his two children and Giovanacchi, with an account to be made to the other executors.” Clauses 8 and 9 were perfectly revealing: “If a child is struck blind such as to renounce the religion in which he was raised in order to profess another, he will be deprived of his inheritance which will pass on to the child that remained faithful to the catholic religion, but who must nevertheless give 2.000 piastres one time only to the Apostate.” “If both children choose to embrace a different religion, the inheritance will be transferred to a hospital in Venice chosen by the Patriarch of that city, with the obligation to give the Apostate 2.000 piastres apiece, one time only.”
On the 17th of Germinal in the year 13, the Consul Clairambault has Mme. Abbott/Fouquier writes:
“If M. Carapelli had fulfilled his obligations when he was the confessor of my husband, he would have limited his ministry to those duties, instead of allowing himself, against all laws, to be in addition the notary or chancellor of his penitent, while receiving from him his last wishes, really his testament, written in the hand of the confessor, and given such reproachable conduct on the part of M. Carapelli, it is not surprising that he is named in this testament the guardian of my children, having complete authority over them, and that he plays the principal role … M. Carapelli should not have any place in my husband’s testament … his principal aim is to obtain the interest on the capital belonging to my son … awaited his well recognized insolvency, his resignation as guardian is necessary.” One finds in Note 26 other details on the legal proceedings of this case.
Elisabeth Abbott remarried rather quickly (in any case before May 27, 1805) with Philibert Fouquier, a French merchant, born in Marseilles around 1754, son of Bartholemy Fouquier and Elisabeth Lenoir. He settled in Salonica a little before the Revolution, initially as clerk for an elder brother Jean-Louis Fouquier, then on his own account; passing under the protection of Prussia on March 26, 1794, he returned to French protection on March 29, 1803, and was almost immediately appointed deputy of the port. Described as “an honest and quiet man” … “who always conducts himself well in the port,” he held only a meager inheritance, worked essentially on commission, remained without children, though he ensured the business training of his stepson. On June 20, 1816, the consul writes about him:
“Mr. Philibert Fouquier has very little wealth and does only very limited business; his wife perhaps is a little richer; it is very probable that he would not leave her and would pass under foreign protection if he were not to obtain a guarantee (before the Revolution, to be authorized to live in the seaports of the Levant, French merchants had to place a security deposit with the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles; the government of the Restoration wanted – with difficulties – to restore this procedure that had fallen into disuse under the Revolution).
and on April 17, 1817, the consul repeats:
“Mr. Fouquier is the one who has the greatest difficulty to demonstrate again his residency and to renew his guarantee. He has just formed a company with his stepson Glinbich, originating from Ragusa; I pointed out to Mr. Fouquier that, having received the order to strike this merchant off the list of protected French merchants, his name cannot appear in a trading company of the Levant next to a French name; I compelled him to suspend his new signature until I have received new orders from V.E. according to which I can either permit, or prevent, authorization of this social arrangement.”
Elizabeth Abbott experienced many further difficulties associated with the legacy of her first husband; being creditor of a sum of 6.889 piastres from Michel Milcovich, ex-consul of Ragusa to Salonica, and despite the steps taken to help her by Clairambault with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the former Bruere consul with the authorities of Ragusa, she was sent away in August 1807 before the civil court, her credit being considered as a private matter; in addition, a part of the funds of the legacy had been deposited into the hands of a successor of Milcovich at the consulate of Ragusa in Salonica, a certain Grilanovich who, in debt and pretending to be a creditor for the Republic of Ragusa for a greater sum, effectively took a sum of 3.000 piastres while “putting before them a declaration by which I [constais (sic)] recognize the urgency and the pressing need that brought me here.” This unscrupulousness was discovered by Clairambault when, upon the suppression of independence of Ragusa, he was again in charge of the files of the consulate of Ragusa as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian consulate.
Elizabeth Abbott died on April 22, 1825 and her second husband on February 25, 1833, both in Salonica.
To note the misfortunes of Ragusan captain Balthazar Glinbich who had loaded 849 barrels of salted fish at Falmouth and 7 barrels of tin onto his [polacre] the “N.D. of Grace and St. Blaise” bound for Venice; after having made stopovers in Cadix, Gibraltar and Majorca and having loaded on board wood from Campeche and pieces of gold and silver, his ship was stopped in Italian waters by the French pirate “the Ogre” and condemned on April 19, 1797, by a judgment from the French consul in Tuscany imposing the confiscation of only the goods of English origin and a fine.
end of extract
In addition to this, I have a copy, obtained from the Public Records Office in London, of the will of Bartholomew-Edward Abbott, the English version, viewable here:
My enquiries at the Chamber of Commerce archives of Marseilles did reveal a communication penned by an Abbott mid 19th century, but it isn’t clear which Abbott wrote this letter, but it may well be John “Jackie” Abbott. What it proves is that his commercial contracts extended as far as France, and for more about his imports of food products, click here to view.
Note: There is a known descendant from this Abbott line, via Kate Abbott (daughter of Alfred Abbott) who married an Italian national of Salonica, Romano Lodi-Fé, whose son also informed us that records in England exist taking the family story back to the 16th century.
Giovanni Vianello was born in Venice around 1740. In 1766, he left the city to establish himself in Salonica as a ship-owner-trader, heading the commercial firm that was initially called “Rotta, Vianello & Co”, and later “Vianello & Son.”
It became a flourishing company which traded with Vienna, Bremen, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Marseilles, and which had dealings with the local cities of Serres [info - archive view] and Kavalla [postcard views].
The Vianello family later assumed Austrian protection and Giovanni, then his sons, and, in turn, one of his grandsons, became the Consul of Austria in Salonica.
His son, George Nicolas Vianello, married Charlotte Adele Lafont in 1825, and together, they had one daughter, Clara, who married Jules Louis Conrad Dobrowolski on August 6, 1854.
Gabriel Lafont was born in Tarbes, France around 1749. He studied medicine and surgery in Montpellier.
Following a request made by the French colony of Salonica on May 23, 1777, he was recruited by the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles as surgeon to that colony where he arrived on October 13, 1777, at the same time as another doctor named Astruc.
Married to a Marseillaise, Marie Bonnaud, they had 4 children, 2 of whom later became doctors. One of their sons, Felix Lafont, married Caroline Sarah Abbott on December 2, 1819.
Conrad Dobrowolski was born in Poland in 1824, in a city that we have not managed to locate: Eperius? Eperens? A refugee in the Ottoman Empire, he refused subjection to that citizenship and claimed himself to be French.
He owned a farm on the outskirts of Salonica and was known for going about on horseback; besides, he died very young from a bad fall. Married to Clara Vianello, they had 7 children, one of whom, Adele, married Antoine Saridaki.
From the Annuaire Oriental [Eastern Almanac] of 1909, I have discovered 2 other Saridakis living at the time in Constantinople, but for now it isn’t clear how they fit in with my branch, possibly they were cousins of Alphonse. The details: ‘Emmanuel Saridaki de la maison [company of] Muratti & Cie, président du syllogue grec [a Greek cultural association?] Hermès; Mme Marie J. Saridaki, vice-présidente de la société de bienfaisance Philoptochos (des dames grecques de Kadikeuy) [some benevolent association of Greek ladies of the neighbourhood of Kadıköy]’.
I have been in contact with the Catholic church in Salonica, the family church of the Saridakis, and I have all the registry entries for Antoine and his descendants, but nothing for Emmanuel. He remains a secret, I don’t even have his death date. The Catholic cemetery is near the church, and apparently contains Fanni, her son Antoine and 3 young babies of Antoine and Adèle, and I hope to obtain some photos of tombs (including members of the Vianello family) there through a friend. Emmanuel Saridaki was a Greek Orthodox, so clearly he was buried elsewhere.
Alphone married Emilia Rossi, born in Salonica and whose parents had arrived from Genoa in Italy. The couple had several children of which, Nadia, was my grandmother, who married Ernest Lapierre.
There you have a brief tracing of my origins. I would be very happy if those who may have family links or documents relating to these families would contact me and thus assist me in my continuing quest…
Notes: 1- To view the work-in-progress family tree of the Abbott family and their descendants, click here:
2- Recently (May 2007) a fellow researcher Melisa Urgandokur was able to submit a bundle of documents and photos, formerly in the possession of the cook (the late Mr Gürsel) to the last surviving member of the Smyrna branch, Richard Abbott, shedding much light on this branch of the family, but alas, for now not proving the Salonica Abbotts are from this same family, view here:
3- A Turkish run English language historical blog, Mavi Boncuk, details the names of various players in the early football played in Greece and Turkey. Amongst the names of the Salonica team is a Saridaki (not a direct ancestor of Nadia) and John Abbott. However the date is 1906 and ‘our’ John Abbott would have been an old man by then, so presumably he represents the next generation of one of the brothers.
4- The Ottoman Bank Archives Centre records includes a group photo of the early staff of the Salonica branch taken in 1895 (32 years into the branch’s operation), however the popularity of moustaches at the time make identification of Antoine Saridaki (who would have been 47 at the time, a year before his resignation) problematic.
5- Examination of the Salonica British Consular correspondance at the National Archives library in London reveals a pair of Abbott names, but not matching names in the above account. An explorer, Keith Edward Abbott, seemingly working for the Foreign Office in the 1840s, has left a detailed account of his trip in the wilds of Northern Persia. In addition files pertaining to a Richard F.W. Abbott who holds various minor consular positions (Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Monastir) also retains his letter of self-introduction (penned Gallipoli, Dec 26, 1860) includes the words ‘being well acquainted with that part of the country as well as with the languages spoken there’ [more], increasing the likelihood that he is related to our family. However for now there is no proof either of these being related to either the Salonica or Smyrna branch.
6- An obscure site of family recollections reveals the name of Edward Abbott of Salonica, a class mate of the author around the 1855-1861 period in Oxburg, Norfolk, England. This region may have been the Abbott family’s ancestral turf, and its throws us a new name, possibly a grandson of George Frederick. Some minor details revealed: ‘poor fellow, was battered to pieces by the Turks with iron staves torn from palings at the beginning of the Turco-Servian War. Cigarette smoking, now so popular, was then almost unknown, and Abbott, who always smoked the finest Turkish tobacco which he rolled up into cigarettes for himself, was the first devotee of this habit I encountered.’
7- We know that the ‘Abbott brothers’ had trade dealings in Constantinople, however in the Galata stock exchange listing of 1840, the initials of B.B. Abbott do not match any of the known brothers, so maybe there was another member in charge of business that end.
In August 2008, Marie-Sylvie Lhomer, sister-in-law to Nadia Giraud, got in touch to point out that in this 1840 merchant listing there is another family link there: ‘It is interesting to note that Pauline Brindisi’s (she married Jean Baptiste Lapierre - maternal great-great-great-great-grandfather of Nadia) mother was Agnes Privilegio, (the daughter of Gianuli Privilegio), married on the island of Syros. Nicolo Privilegio is probably a cousin of Pauline. - details’
In July 2008 a folded trade letter surfaced on an auction site with the stamp of ‘B.E. Abbott & Emiris Ship Brokers Salonica’ clearly showing a business partnership with a Greek businessman, from 1872, however as yet nothing is known of this union, but it seems probably long-lived as it has clearly outlived B.E. Abbott (died 1817), though the lack of any reference to it in the literature suggests it was a small outfit.
8- There may be family history information held at the ‘Thessaloniki History Centre’, currently being investigated.
9- Using the British Consular registers of deaths as a starting point, by cross-reference we hope to identify other branches of the rather complex Abbott family - view. From the distrubition of names, it seems likely that one branch of the family settled for a time in the Southern Turkish town of Adana [archive postcard views].
The UK census returns for 1891 show 4 Abbott households with members born in Turkey in the London area, all likely to be from our Salonica Abbott family, presumably the offspring of some of the 5 sons of George Frederick Abbott.
10- The Abbott family seem to have left precious little in terms of written work, with the exception of ‘Scetches of Modern Athens - John Nelson Abbott, 1849’, who relates that he received his education chiefly in Athens - google book view:
In addition this book archive system reveals that George F. Abbott was also the vice-Consul of the United States in Salonica and that he had a son possibly given the same name as his father, B.E. Abbott - link. This person may be the Barthelemy Edward Abbott listed in the ‘Consular Registers of Deaths’ of dying around 1901-1905 aged 75, possibly representing a move to this city in Southern Turkey by this branch earlier as some other Abbotts are also listed as having died there.
Archive book searches on the same system revealed in the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine, 1860’, the youngest daughter of the late R.B. [Richard Benjamin] Abbott of Smyrna, Laura, marrying John Gerard, the son of Frederick Hönisher [one of the established Levantine merchants of the city].
In addition it may be this Richard B. Abbott - his marriage register, who is referred to as: ‘Mr. Abbott is the present holder of the exclusive privileges, and has a Turkish firman for an unlimited time, and a contract with the Greek government for 10 years...’ for the explotation of emery ore in conjunction with the company John Taylor and Sons, as recorded in the 1855 edition of the ‘Mining Magazine’.
We know for certain the son of Richard B. Abbott, Ernest F. Abbott was very much involved in emery mining, possibly building up on his father’s experience. Detailed information is available from a dissertation by Şerife Yorulmaz, translation: ‘References to Levantines in the Press of Izmir in the second half of the 19th century - 1988’: The Izmir resident merchant E.F. Abbott in 1867 bought for a high price the concession to operate all emery mines, however faced a local rival, Paterson and partners. Possibly because of this concession Paterson had to pull out, and Abbott became the sole controller of emery mines of Western Anatolia. In 1898 Abbott was rewarded by the Ottoman government with a third degree Mecidiye decoration ‘for services to discovering emery mines, operating them, and exporting the ore’. The year 1333 [1895-96] salname [Ottoman government yearbook] for the district of Aydın includes 3 mines, all emery, with official sanction [firmans] belonging to E.F. Abbott, all for 99 years, in the regions of Alacalı, Tire; Gürz, Kula and Gümüşdağı, Kuşadası [Scala Nova].
In the National Archives registers in London, under the Foreign Office general correspondence files we see the communications (1861-3) resulting in the refusal by Ottoman authorities to the opening of a calico print factory by a Mrs. Abbott (wife of Ernest F. Abbott, Sylvia?), and interesting arguments used by the British Ambassador Sir Henry Bulmer to annul the privileges of local Armenians in Smyrna - details.
11- A recently published book, ‘Looking East: English Writing and the Ottoman Empire Before 1800 - Gerald Maclean - Palgrave Macmillan, 2007’, throws 2 Abbott names, Ed and Henry, possibly representing relatives of the early Abbotts in the Levant - segment:
12- The archives of the Society of Genealogists in London include Christian cemetery records of Syria, including that of the ‘Old Christian Cemetery at Azizeh, Aleppo’, that records: ‘Joannes [John] Abbott, the Anglican [English] consul in Tripoli, Syria, d. 1783’, and from supplementary data we know he was earlier the Consul at Aleppo (1770-83), and had locally resident other members of his family, including at least 5 sons - details. These maybe related to the other Abbotts mentioned above.
It seems likely that one or more of John Abbott’s sons were involved in merchantile affairs in this region (Beirut) as there is correspondence retained at the National Archives in London of a submission for claims for losses - details.
In Alfred C. Wood’s book, ‘History of the Levant Company’, there is also mention of an Abbott in an earlier time (1652) based in Cairo who acted as a consul there, and who knows if there is any link?
13- Through archive newspapers (New York Times, 2007), we are informed of a kidnap incident involving a member of the Abbott family that took place in 1907, and the headings of the news updates gives indication of the unfolding of events of the time (dates refer to publication): 25 March 1907 – Mr C. Abbott kidnapped; 4 April, motives for kidnapping suggested; 25 April, released; 30 April, terms of release; 6 May, ransom claim against the Porte lodged; 2 August, part of ransom recovered; 25 November, trial of conspirators.
At an earlier date, Times 11 September 1876, this detail is given: ‘indemnity for the murder of Mr Abbott given to his widow’. (page 6 col.a).
14- There is an Edward Stuart Devitory Abbott (1859-1900), listed as buried in the Anglican cemetery of Athens, possibly descended from this family.
15- There is a comparative historical study entitled ‘Djekis Abbot of Thessaloniki and the Greek merchant in Herman Melville’s Clarel’ conducted in 1985 by Ekaterina Georgoudaki of the Aristotle University of Greece, published on the web site of the Melville Society here: This article provides much missing information such as: Barthélemy Edouard Abbot came to Salonica in 1771 after spending thirteen years in Asia Minor as representative of his brother, a merchant in Istanbul; his portrait; surviving buildings and references to other studies before. These dates and other details fit in nicely with what is said of the family in the book ‘Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, &c during the years 1812 and 1813 - Henry Holland, London 1815’, descriptions showing just how integrated in the Ottoman life of Salonica this family was. Furthermore the book ‘The Missionary Herald By American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions - 1847’ reveals that Mr Abbott (presumably B.E.) is of Orthodox persuation, while his sons are interestingly Protestant, and one of them seems to be the American Consul, who is named as George Frederick (and we see died 1852) in another archive book, and confusingly it appears his son was also named B.E. Abbott. It is possible that the Adana based family was headed by this Barthelemy Edward Abbott, as shown in the consular death registers here:
16- The brother of Barthelemy Edward Abbott maybe George Abbott whose will is dated 1800, certified by British merchants and ambassador of the city of Constantinople and now retained in the National Archives of London.
There are other wills held at this institution giving us details of later generations of the Abbotts, such as John Nelson Abbott - 1875 (probably an offspring of George Frederick Abbott), Henry Abbott - 1876 (definitely an offspring of George Frederick Abbott), Helene Abbott - 1891 (possibly wife of Richard Benjamin) and Edmund Abbott estate - 1884 (?).
This same library also holds a diplomatic communication of the death of a Nelson Abbott on board ship in 1919, details including his address in Athens - view:
It is probable that his son was a university professor in Greece, as in ‘Who is who in Greece, 2001’, p. 13 records: ‘Abbott, William N.; Greek university professor and author; born Nov. 1906, Athens; son of Nelson Abbott; m. Roussi Eleftheroudakis 1943 ... lecturer, Nat. Technical University of Athens’.
There is a possibility there was an Egyptian branch of this family, as there is in the National Archives of London, consular court papers of John Abbott, Henry Abbott and Alex Abbott, 1890, yet to be investigated.
17- A search by a family member of the Salonica Protestant Cemetery in summer 2008 did not reveal any Abbott graves, however there were those of a de Charnaud, possibly of the same Charnaud family, a merchant family active in Turkey for around 2 centuries - view: The Abbotts of the city may be buried in the local Orthodox cemeteries.
18- A recent economic history conference held in Norway, August 2008: ‘Transactions and interactions - The flow of goods, services and information’ included a presentation by an academic, Despina Vlami from the Academy of Athens, with the title of her paper: ‘British Entrepreneurship and Family Strategy in a Levantine Context: the Abbott of Salonica (18th and 19th century)’. The paper includes copious detail on the complicated relationships between Bartholomew Edward Abbott and his offspring vs the local British Consul and the Levant factory, as well as family squabbles etc., viewable here: [published version]. The same author gives further details in a separate study, viewable here, on the complex machinations of the Abbott family to further their aims, and never ending squabble with others and amongst family members driven by greed and suspicion.
19- In September 2008, with the assistance of researcher Rhiannon Boardman a diary was uncovered, retained in the Oriental section of the British Museum library, penned by a Henry Abbott of the Constantinople branch of this family and extensive in detail, helping to bring the various branches together, and revealing a whole new India branch, many of whom became high ranking Generals in the British Raj there, a pair receiving knighthoods. The two volume diary includes a map showing the authors travels across the world during the period of the diary and a family tree taking the family history in the Levant amazingly back to late 17th century as the grandfather of the author, Peter Abbott died in Constantinople 1768, aged c. 72 and was born there, so clearly there is another generation to go back to, though not named in this chart. Diaries of Levantines are rare and of this period even rarer, so this gives us a rare glimpse in to this world that was at least for this family full of trials and tragedies, and in time it is hoped, a longer transcript will be made viewable - view segment:
From this archive family tree we see that the children of Peter Abbott, including Barthelomew Edward Abbott, are listed like many others as either born or ‘merchant of Angora’, though an insignificant town [later period archive postcards] in Anatolia at the time a Levant Company station as revealed in this article: ‘The European merchants in Angora - R. D. Barnett - Anatolian studies annual academic journal 1974’, however the tiny number of factors employed could mean the Abbotts there were not operating in official capacity.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online resource gives us information on a Sir Maurice Abbott (1565-1642) who was a founder member of the East India Company and he joined the Levant Company in 1588 when he travelled to Aleppo. There is a possibility that he was connected to the other Levant Abbotts.
It seems Henry Abbott named above was also the author of a separate paper entitled ‘A Journal, with occasional remarks, made on a trip from Aleppo to Bussora, across the Grand Desart of Arabia’, published 1789, also held at the British Museum Library, yet to be investigated.
Part of Henry Abbott’s desert travelogues were researched by the lecturer Gerald MacLean in 2007 who kindly has allowed his study paper to be published here, giving a further insight to the character of this adventurer.
20- The picture of the Abbott ancestry in the Levant was cleared when Mr Colin Davis of London, England made contact in October 2008 with these words: ‘My paternal grandmother (died aged 101 in March 2009), Dorothy Chasseaud, was born in Egypt. Her brother William (Bill) was quite interested in family history, and he had in his possession a family tree that was compiled by Jasper Abbott in 1952. Several of the people mentioned on Nadia’s page are listed on this family tree. I found it very interesting to read the stories about all these people! The family tree may also help her a little with her research. The family tree is currently on a very large (rather cumbersome!) piece of paper.’ - to view a recreation of a simplified version of the family tree, click here:
Further information on Jasper Abbott and his ancestry is visible here: He was at the Battle of the River Plate (HMNZS Achilles) and was played in the film by Cyril Luckham.
Only child of George Frederick Abbott (1874-1947), author and war correspondent, and "Elizabeth" Wilhelmina Hay Lamond (1884-1957), equalitarian feminist campaigner, later of Yetminster, Dorset.
Married ((06?).1953, St Germans district, Cornwall) Third Officer Clare Georgeen Etkins, WRNS (13.10.1927 -11.07.1971), only daughter of Mr Harold William Etkins, OBE (1892-1970), head of branch Ministry of Insurance, and Mrs Etkins, of Kenton, Newcastle upon Tyne. Clare Abbott remarried (31.08.1963, Tavistock) Air Marshal Sir Leslie Bower, RAF.
father was George Frederick Abbott:
GEORGE FREDERICK8 ABBOTT (Peter7, George Frederick6, Bartholomew Edward5, Peter4, Jasper3, Robert2, Thomas1) was born in 1874 and died after 1927. He married WILHELMINE LAMOND on Unknown date.
Notes for George Frederick Abbott:
Noted as still alive in 1927 with an address of Royal Societies Club, London.
A literary man, who wrote books including one or two on Turkey.
Under the Turk in Constantinople: A Record of John Finch’s Embassy 1674-1681 (London 1920)
Turkey, Greece and the Great Powers: a study in friendship and hate
George Frederick Abbott and Wilhelmine Lamond had the following child:
i. JASPER ANDREW RICHARD9 ABBOTT was born in 1911 [died 1960].
His (Abbott) grandfather was:
PETER7 ABBOTT (George Frederick6, Bartholomew Edward5, Peter4, Jasper3, Robert2, Thomas1)
was born in 1835. He died in 1882. He married ANNE KALIPOLITON on Unknown date.
Peter Abbott and Anne Kalipoliton had the following children:
44. i. GEORGE FREDERICK8 ABBOTT was born in 1874. He died after 1927. He married WILHELMINE LAMOND on Unknown date.
ii. ADOLFUS ABBOTT was born in 1868. He died in 1951. He married EUPHROSINE STEPHANIDIS in 1900. She was born in 1877 and died in 1933.
21- Further information to clarify the various Abbott lines is viewable in the genealogical online database of Rome, Italy based researcher, Matteo Giunti viewable here:
22- There is a mysterious article in Greek where the researcher Apostolos Vacalopoulos has attempted to decipher the real names of the persons referred to in an anonymous autobiography titled ‘La vie militaire en Grèce’ [military life in Grece] dated 1870, where the Abbotts feature heavily and once again highlight the contradictions of an English origin family in Salonica, yet Orthodox in religion.
23- With the help of this posting, contact was made with Alexander Abbott, a descendant of that family living in Salonica, Greece, and tombstones belonging to this family in the Evangelistria Orthodox cemetery of Salonica were pointed out to Ms. Giraud in November 2009, view:
24- In July 2011 contact was made with a descendant Nicholas McGuigan of Melbourne, Australia, whose great-great-great-great grandfather was John Thomas Abbott of Angora [Ankara]. Both Mr McGuigan’s grandfather and great-uncle were keen genealogists and they have left quite a bit of information about the Abbotts going back to Thomas Abbott (15??-1652), a further 4 generations back (Thomas was John Thomas’s great-great grandfather), as highlighted by this pdf document closely matching and complimenting the chart above: (also view pre 20th century partial Abbott tree - general 18th 19th century tree) - fuller pedigree - archive photos.
I believe Thomas (top of the tree) was a farmer. His eldest son (another Thomas) inherited the land and the younger brothers went off to make their fortune elsewhere. One, Robert (with portrait), was a Scrivener (scribe) in London ‘...an apprentice of Francis Webbe was admitted to the Freedom of the [Scriveners] Company on 10th April 1635’ and his son, Jasper (first one), was a merchant of London and Galata. Scriveners were effectively bankers in that era, so it would make perfect sense for a banker’s son to become a ‘Turkey merchant’ as highlighted here: and in more detail in the book ‘Sir Robert Clayton and the Origins of English Deposit Banking 1658-1685 - Frank T. Melton’ where there is much about the rise of the Abbott family.
Robert Abbott (1610-1658)
24- Nadia Giraud continues her research and has contributed to an ongoing group genealogy blog site to which she has contributed articles covering in detail much that has been mentioned here, view:
submission date 2006-8 / translation aid courtesy of Anne Richards, 2009