It’s the last page, at the bottom of the sheaf of documents labelled ‘Mazloumian family papers, 1897–1939’, that makes my breath catch.
A hand-drawn family tree fills the A3 page. Both a lineage and a literal tree, it features a wide trunk with names marked on branches and leaves.
In ‘The Ancestry Tree: The House of the Mazloumian Dynasty’, the tree’s base marks the union of Massigiank and Bedeviank in ‘the perfect date of the year 1555’. Its branches spread across the page with the names of individuals and couples.
The family tree is patriarchal, tracing the surname and thus the Mazloumian men. The daughters of each generation appear on leaves, waiting to be plucked from their branches and married off into other families. A y-axis marks every half century, projecting forwards to 2050. Some names are followed by a number in parenthesis; a note explains that this is the age at death. The youngest, Bedros, is two. The oldest, Hratch, was 83.