Levantine Heritage
The story of a community
Home | History of the community | Active Topics | Visiting the heritage | Registers | Economic analysis | Database | Newspaper archives | Links | Books | Levantine achievements
The Contributors
Rose Marie Caporal | Alessandro Pannuti | Ft Joe Buttigieg | Mary Lemma | Antoine ‘Toto’ Karakulak | Willie Buttigieg | Erika Lochner Hess | Maria Innes Filipuci | Catherine Filipuci | Harry Charnaud | Alfred A. Simes | Padre Stefano Negro | Giuseppe Herve Arcas | Filipu Faruggia | Mete Göktuğ | Graham Lee | Valerie Neild | Yolande Whittall | Robert Wilson | Osman Streater | Edward de Jongh | Daphne Manussis | Cynthia Hill | Chris Seaton | Andrew Mango | Robert C. Baker | Duncan Wallace QC | Dr Redvers ‘Red’ Cecil Warren | Nikolaos Karavias | Marianne Barker | Ümit Eser | Helen Lawrence | Alison Tubini Miner | Katherine Creon | Giovanni Scognamillo | Hakkı Sabancalı | Joyce Cully | Jeffrey Tucker | Yusuf Osman | Willem Daniels | Wendy Hilda James | Charles Blyth Holton | Andrew Malleson | Alex Baltazzi | Lorin Washburn | Tom Rees | Charlie Sarell | Müsemma Sabancıoğlu | Marie Anne Marandet | Hümeyra Birol Akkurt | Alain Giraud | Rev. Francis ‘Patrick’ Ashe | Fabio Tito | Pelin Böke | Antonio Cambi | Enrico Giustiniani | Chas Hill | Arthur ‘Mike’ Waring Roberts III | Angela Fry | Nadia Giraud | Roland Richichi | Joseph Murat | George Poulimenos | Bayne MacDougall | Mercia Mason-Fudim née Arcas | Eda Kaçar Özmutaf | Quentin Compton-Bishop | Elizabeth Knight | Charles F. Wilkinson | Antony Wynn | Anna Laysa Di Lernia | Pierino & Iolanda Braggiotti | Philip Mansel | Bernard d’Andria | Achilleas Chatziconstantinou | Enrichetta Micaleff | Enrico Aliotti Snr. | Patrick Grigsby | Anna Maria and Rinaldo Russo | Mehmet Yüce | Wallis Kidd | Jean-Pierre Giraud | Osman Öndeş | Jean François d’Andria | Betty McKernan | Frederick de Cramer | Emilio Levante | Jeanne Glennon LeComte | Jane Spooner | Richard Seivers | Frances Clegg
An Izmir resident with a passion for geneaology
Coat of arms of the Braggiotti family
My family includes several family branches deriving from several different nationalities. My mother is from the Braggiotti family. It is usually difficult to connect the different branches of this Italian family of Smyrna.

According to Willy Sperco, a Levantine writer, this noble family takes its origin from Venice. He states that they first went to Milan, and then to Chios. They left Chios around 1800, and established branches in Smyrna and Constantinople. In the Catholic church registers of Chios of baptisms, marriages and deaths, we encounter the family name by the year 1500.

An Italy based fellow researcher, Mrs. Elisa Petitta (a descendant of the D’Andria and Braggiotti families), as a result of her investigations, found a manuscript conserved by Eddy Braggiotti at La Spezia (presumably he was a resident there) that shows in the genealogical tree of Constantine Braggiotti, that the family were established in the island of Chios around 1660.

According to a document presented by Vincenzo Braggiotti to the French Consulate of Smyrna in 1807, the family was established in Chios from ancient times and is connected to several Latin families, especially to the Castelli family. It takes its origin from Milan, where in the Archive of St. Catherine the family crest with its own surname is conserved.

Melih Gürsoy, a Turkish writer, informs us in book reference p.223 that the Braggiotti family had the biggest flour mills of Smyrna in 1893. But by the 1930s the family had rented out the flour mills, thus pulling out from this trade.
My mother, Linda Braggiotti, is a descendant from Giorgio Braggiotti who was born at Milan in the eighteenth century and died in Smyrna. The line runs thus: Giorgio Braggiotti I, Giorgio Braggiotti II (1821-1907), Edouard Braggiotti (1871-1952), Fernand Braggiotti (1899-1979), Marcel Braggiotti (1931), Linda Braggiotti (1958). But my family includes also another branch of this family.

My grand father Marcel Braggiotti was born in Smyrna in 1931, as one of the eight children of Fernand Braggiotti and Yvonne Raphtopoulo (daughter of Aristidhis Raphtopoulo, head of the train station of Menemen). In 1939, he was sent to Italy by his parents, with his brothers and other children of Italian families of Smyrna to a summer camp set up by Mussolini. Unfortunately the war began when they were in Italy. There, he was separated from his brothers, because he was ill. He was reunited with his brothers and friends only at the end of the camp season.

My grandfather went first to the Italian School of the Salesians of Don Bosco (closed in September 1945) in the Punta quarter of Smyrna (actually the Italian primary school of Alsancak), and then to the Saint Joseph French College of the De La Salle Brothers, also in Alsancak on 1462 street.

 Note: Denise Bragiotti (article online on the houses of Bornova) is the daughter of Yvo Braggiotti, one of the seven brothers of my grandfather Marcel Braggiotti.
Fernand Braggiotti (1899-1979) (1920s)
A view of La Centrale from the Republic Square (between 1933-1944) deduced date as the Statue of Atatürk was inaugurated in 1933, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Republic.
click for alternative views
La Centrale close up
St. Joseph
His father Fernand, was the son of Edouard Braggiotti and Jeanne Duhard. (She was born at Paris, as the first daughter of Philippe Duhard. The family was engaged in viniculture. My grandfather would recall that her grandmother sat on the knees of Jules Verne when she was a child!) Fernand Braggiotti worked first for the C. J. Giraud & Co, and after 1939 in the Oto Traktör Türk A.Ş. again with the Giraud family. The eldest of his eight children was Eddy Braggiotti (1924-1977) who worked for NASA in the United States, especially in the mission of man’s first landing on the moon, in 1969.

My grandfather Marcel also worked for the Oto Traktör Türk A.Ş. with his father, in the commerce of Massey-Ferguson tracktors. He was also a student for three months at the Ferguson School of Mechanized Farming at Stoneleigh Abbey in England in 1951.

This Braggiotti branch was also connected with other Levantine families like the De Portu of Chios, the Binson, (Europeanized form of Binoğlou, an Armenian family of Ankara) or the Balladur (another Armenian family of Nahcivan region, actually in Azerbaijan, Latinized in the 14th century by the Dominican priests of the region). The XXVth volume of ‘Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique’, refers to a Fr. Thomas Issavedens, who was born in Nahcivan, where the Dominicans had Latinized the population in the XIV century.

In 1953, my grandfather married Teodora Tarrabocchia, my grandmother. The Tarrabocchia family originated from Mali Losinj (Lussinpiccolo), the capital of the Losinj Island since 1806. The island is situated in the Istrian region of Dalmatia. After a history of domination by different powers, such as the Italians, the Austrians, the island is now part of the Croatian Republic.

We encounter the Tarrabocchia family in the parish records of Mali Losinj, from 1670 to 1700, and it also appears in wills of a century earlier. These parish records reveal the use of second family names along with the surname. These secondary names were used to distinguish between different family lines carrying the same surname. The second family names for the Tarrabochia's were (Matulich), (Pilicar), and (Svirac).
Edouard Braggiotti and Jeanne Duhard at their wedding in 1899
click for expanded view
A view from Cordelio 1930s
My grandmother (my mother’s mother), Teodora Tarabocchia, was born in Cordelio, known today by its Turkish name, Karşıyaka. She went to the Italian School La Centrale of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea, from 1936 until 1945. In 1945, it was decided to open a new avenue, called now İkinci Kordon, running parallel to the sea and this beautiful building has since been demolished, and the school closed.

My grandmother is a descendant of Pietro Tarrabocchia born around 1812. Her father also was called Pietro Tarrabocchia, also born in Smyrna, Cordelio in 1908. The story of his baptism is interesting. A shuttle ship running between Cordelio and Smyrna collided with a big ship in the gulf, around 1908. A man (not the captain) who was drunk was left hanging on the anchor of the big ship, ejected from the other ship by the force of the impact and promised that if he was rescued he would baptize ten children and arrange for the sacrifice of several animals. He was rescued and one of these children who received a baptism was Pietro Tarrabocchia himself. Much later, I discovered from the Cordelio parish records that the name of his godfather was a Greek by the name of Panayotis Veropoulos. Many Levantine families of Smyrna have different memories about this accident.
Pierre Tarrabocchia (1908-1978) (around 1930s)
Louise Seybald (1908-1996) (taken around 1930s)
Gaetano Tito (1924-1979) (taken in occasion of his first communion the 15 May 1932)
Pietro Tarrabocchia worked for the Oriental Carpet Company. He was the son of André Tarrabocchia and Marie Vidori. His parents André and Marie, with their newborn first son Marius were amongst the first pilgrims to visit the House of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus, around 1900. It is said that she was not able to bear a child, and that she used the spring water emenating from this place and offered by a sister of the order. And then she became pregnant. This case was described in the magazine “Notre-Dame d’Ephèse” published in Istanbul April 1957 (year 1, no:3 - author’s name not recorded) with all the details, and the names of the doctors that had consulted Marie Tarabocchia, before and after the case. And the couple later visited the shrine with the “fruit of this miracle”, to give thanks to the Virgin Mary.
Pilgrims at the House of Virgin Mary, Ephesus (around 1900-1901)
- click here to view this image enlarged and more archive pilgrimage photos -
In addition I found in “Mois de Notre-Dame d’Ephèse – Istanbul 1960”, p.63, a chapter about “The Pilgrimages”. The first official pilgrimage was on May 20th 1896, with Mons. Timoni, the clergyman, and around 1300-1400 pilgrims attended this trip. The departure from Smyrna was at 5.00 am, arrival at Aya Suluk Station at 7.00 and at 9.00 a mass was celebrated by Mons. Timoni at Panaya with the return journey at 15.00. These pilgrimages continued regularly for around 20 years and were interrupted in 1914, because of the War: Bülbüldağ where the Virgin Mary’s house was situated was occupied by soldiers. There were famous orators, P. Vigoureux in 1906, Mons. Netzammer in 1910, P. Bruno from Paris in 1908, etc.

Pietro Tarrabocchia married Louise Seybald in 1930. She was a descendant of a Dutch family, from Christian Seybald born in the eighteenth century. They are different hypotheses about this family. It is said that a man at the service of the House of Orange of Holland called Jordan, became a prisoner of the Ottomans around 1780. When his captors asked his name, he replied he was from the Baltic Sea that gives the origin to the name Van Seebald. When he regained his freedom, he decided to establish himself in Smyrna.

 Note: A descendant of the Seybald family, a distant cousin of Fabio, France based Nathalie Seybald, states the family has 3 different theories on the origin of their surname. For details hover here:

The mother of Louise Seybald was Emma D’Andria, a descendant of Pantaleone D’Andria, a Genoan merchant established in Chios in 1565. They are nine generations between Pantaleone and Emma. The big part of the D’Andria family left the island after the massacres of Chios in 1822.

The Tarrabocchia family is connected with other families like the Dimech, Sergio, Prelorenzo (from the Aegean island of Tinos), De Stefani, Daumas (from Grasse, Provence in France), Datodi (from Chios), Charikiopoulo (from Tinos), Rigo (from Tinos), Castelli (Genoan family of Chios), Zipcy, Rossi, and many others.

 Note: The grandson of fellow contributor Al Simes’ is Andrew, whose mother is Marina Corsini and the father of Marina was Manfredo Corsini. Dora Tarrabocchia was the mother of Manfredo, the sister of Pietro Tarrabocchia, and the second child of André and Marie.
The Braggiotti house above, as it used to stand in the 1950s, long since demolished to make way for high rises, on the Plevne Bulvarı, formerly called also Voroşilof in Alsancak and on the right, the ruins of the Tito house. At different times the Braggiotti family had residences in numerous districts such as Karşıyaka and Bornova.
My father, Giuseppe Tito (called Fefo), is from the Tito family that takes its origin from Trani, a town near Bari in Italy. He is a descendant of Savino Tito from Trani born in the eighteenth century.

His father Gaetano Tito and his two brothers were born in a house, still standing, in the 1462 Sokak, called formerly Boulevard Aliotti or also Binbaşı Şerafeddin Bey Caddesi. (He went to the Saint Joseph College, on the same street.) The house is now in a ruinous state, due to heritage problems. This house was constructed by Giuseppe Tito, the grandfather of Gaetano. Giuseppe Tito had five children, his second child was Umberto Tito born in 1890, the father of Gaetano.

Umberto Tito worked for the Ottoman Railways Company in Aydın and was dismissed in 1915, because of the Italian-Turkish war. Then, he worked for the Mac Andrews & Forbes, in the commerce of licorice. He married to Vincenza Parise in 1919. Vincenza was born in Alaşehir, formerly called Philadelphia, site of one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse.

My grandfather Gaetano was sent to Italy when he was a child, and met there my other grandfather Marcel Braggiotti (both being children of Italian families of Smyrna), during the Second World War. He became a jeweler in 1944 (a proffession my father also followed). He opened a shop in the jeweler’s bazaar of Kemeraltı, no. 56.

This Tito family is connected to families like Fabiano (also from Trani), Papagno, Ruggieri (from Tinos) and others.
Giuseppe Tito (1857-1932)
Gaetano married to Eliane De Portu in 1946. The De Portu Family is an ancient Genoan family. The De Portus were notaries in Chios since the 1400s. My grandmother Eliane is a descendant of Vincenzo De Portu. Vincenzo De Portu was married to Catherine, descendant of the Mamachi de Lusignan that came from Cyprus. Their son Nicorozis De Portu was born in Chios in 1729. He was a public notary at Chios, merchant and traveler. L. A. Missir studied his manuscript conserved in Chios, in his work, “Le livre de raison de Nicorozis III de Portu”, it contains the genealogical tree of the family since the 15th century. We understand that the family was on the Chios Island at least since 1350.

The Mamachi Lusignan family could have descended from the Lusignan dynasty of the Kings of Cyprus. Until recently I didn’t know how to find a connection for the 300 years between the end of the dynasty in the 1470s, to the 1700s. Guy de Lusignan, talks of two Lusignans who left Cyprus and established themselves in Chios, in his book “Mes familles, nos memoires”. However in the book, “Familles Latines de l’Empire Ottoman, Ed. Isis, 2004” (Missir), p.81, there is a genealogical tree that shows the ascendance of Catherine Mamachi de Lusignan (1703-1782) married to Vincenzo De Portu, until Janus De Lusignan (1374-1432), King of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Armenia.

The mother of Eliane, was Blanche Arcas, a family from Aleppo. The father of Blanche, Joseph Arcas, used to run a farm at Salihli in the Anatolian hinterland. The mother of Blanche was Alice Issaverdens (gift of Jesus, in the Persian language). This Armenian family, left the village of Khochekachène, in the Nahcivan region, and came to Smyrna, around 1720. Fr. Thomas Issaverdens, born in 1704 at Khochekachène, and other Dominican priests of the region, guided the family during this exodus through the Anatolia.

 Note: Blanche Arcas is related to fellow contributor Giuseppe Herve Arcas as he is the son of Albert Arcas, the brother of Blanche. Joseph must be the same name as Giuseppe referred to in his testimony, the contributor’s grandfather who ran the farm.

The De Portu family is connected to families like, De Stefani, Guglielimi (They came from Genoa to Chios), Nipote (from the Piemonte region), Zochazian (an Armenian family of Ankara), Micridis, and others. The De Portu surname still survives in Izmir, through Georges De Portu, an architect, cousin of my father (being the son of Fernand De Portu, the brother of my grandmother Eliane), but he has no children.

More recently (2006) viewing the Italian Consulate registers of Izmir, I found 4 main Tito families who lived in Izmir, however I don’t know how these individuals are related.

Sabino Tito son of Giuseppe I (death before 1871), sailor, born in 1835 at Trani, married to Angela Papagno (I descend from them)
Giuseppe II Tito (alive in 1871) son of Sabino, sailor, born in 1812 at Trani, married to Angela Fabiani
Gennaro Tito, born around 1790 at Trani, married to Angela Di Fonzo
Lorenzo Tito, from Sorrento, married to Maria Schistra [or Xistra].
Painting of Smyrna harbour by Charles Vastiau done in the 17th century, that I like
1- Fabio Tito has created a web site dedicated to the St. Rosario church in Alsancak, viewable here:
There are 10 copies of Raymond Pere’s architectural sketches, “the St. Vincent family of Smyrna”, religious order of St. Vincent de Paul that includes the Lazaristes and the sisters of Charity, retained in the archives of St. Polycarp church, kindly scanned and supplied by Fabio Tito, viewable here.
2- Fabio is continuing this family research with its many branches and would welcome any assistance to further this work, and can be contacted via fabiotito[at]hotmail.com.
3- In Feb. 2006 Fabio has been able to work out exactly how his family is connected with one of the most important Latin families of Chios, the Castellis, through the work of Livio A. Missir published in this booklet “Identita Genealogica e Araldica, Torino, 1998”, published by the ministry of cultural assets / state archives in 2000, following the 23rd international genealogical and heraldic conference held in Turin on 21-28 September 1988 - click here to view this lineage:
4- In Feb. 2010 Fabio was able to retrieve and scan photos from an album inherited from his grandmother, but dating to an earlier era. There are few clues as to the identities of the person, but hopefully over time more faces will get names through cross-research - viewable here:
Using these set of photos as a starting point, Fabio has gone on to create a shortlist of photographers active in Smyrna pre-1922, viewable here:
5- In March 2011 Fabio was able to retrieve and scan documents pertaining to the old Tito house that used to stand on 4 Boulevard Aliotti / Scagliarino Sokak, Punta.
6- In March 2012 Fabio was able to create a listing of Levantine Catholic priests and nuns - range of photos, mostly born in Izmir, currently in Italian only and would welcome further information from descendants to build up detail.

to top of page interview date 2005-11