This says Chekijian in Armenian    

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Chekijian [“check-EE-jee-ihn”]

12 Mar 2011
Author C. K. Garabed passes along this information:
"Turkish Colloquial Grammar by Yusuf Mardin states that chekiji means 'attractive'.
And one of my Turkish dictionaries has that definition also, and yet another says cheken means 'attractive'."

There is also this: Dictionary of Armenian Names (Tigran Avetisian, 2000, Van Aryan, Yerevan, ISBN# 99930-57-22-3) explains that "chekij" originates from the Turkic word "chekij".
Definition: “Weigh”, “Assess” and “Value”.

Also, Avetisian in his book indicates “Chekekjian” is the equivalent of “Vosgrahartar” in Armenian (translation: "bone repair specialist"), or “Hekim” (translation: "medical doctor”).

The family knows that "chekij" is not an Armenian word, and we endeavor to discover its meaning.

1 Aug 2010
We received another explanation of Chekijian, this submitted by a native of Aintab, Turkey.

He says it means "chiropractor":

"I don't think the name Chekijian has anything to do with a hammer, because, though hammer in
Turkish is "chekich", a "chekiji" is a profession.
Many Armenian surnames used to be based on that word.
In the old times, in Aintab, when somebody was injured by dislocating a bone or a joint,
they used to go to a "chekiji" of the the neighborhood they lived in, and Armenians were certainly
good in that field. "Chekiji" derived from the verb "chekmek", which means "to pull".
A chekiji would pull the bone or joint in order to restore it to health (return it to its normal position).
The chekiji profession stopped being practiced some years ago."

The spellings of the family name have changed in the 20th century, before which time it was written as
Chekichian, and following World War I, as Chekijian.

Since World War I, the name also has been spelled as follows various parts of the world: Tchekidjian,
Tchakedjian, Tchekijian, Chakijian and Chakejian.

Therefore, Chekekjian mutated from Turkish in translation to Armenian to Chekichian and then to
Arabic to Chekijian - all derived from the same origin, that of a modern day chiropractor.

Make sense?

If one were to adhere to the alternate version provided in the dictionary, though, the literal Armenian equivalent would be “Geshravarian” ("weights & measures manager/assessor") or figuratively in
Armenian, “Granian" - interestingly, author and educator Puzant Chekijian (1912-2004) legally
changed his name to Puzant Granian in the 1950’s (Puzant was the youngest son of Hovannes, one of
the four Chekijian brothers who were tailors in Aintab).

There is also the story that “chekij” comes from the Turkic/Arabic word “chakooj” (“hammer”, also
translated as "chekich" in Turkish).


Also consider the following Armenian article:

Vol.  XXA 1984,
No. 5-6 (77-78),
Pages 46-49. 

Translated by Cesar J. Chekijian January 21, 2009
(Translation verified by author’s son Harout Chekijian) 



By Kirkor Chekijian 

My father (Nazaret Chekijian) used to tell of a story of how the family name Chekijian had emerged: 

“When I was 18 years of age in 1890 and opened a new tailor shop in Aintab, a well known and respected elderly Turkish man said to be over 145 years old, visited my shop, and after conveying his good wishes for my business, he unexpectedly said;  

“Nazar, son of Chekidj, I have to reveal to you son, that we are cousins” 

When I asked as to how, the elderly man went on telling the story; 

“When the Ottomans invaded Cilicia in the early 16th century, conquering village after village, they reached the garrison of Aintab, and with a major offensive, tried to conquer it. However, due to the strong defensive from inside the garrison, and counterattacks by the heroic Armenian warriors from the outlying area, who in surprise attacks siege the Ottomans, defeating them and inflicting major losses to their forces. Following this, the Ottomans regroup and attack the garrison three more times, each time, suffering defeat with large casualties. 

The Ottoman General leading the war was informed by the surviving military commanders, that the Ottoman soldiers were being attacked from outside the garrison by warriors, led by someone named Kevork, who on  horseback, wielding a large sledge-hammer (Chekidj in Turkish) with a long handle, tied to a rope, swinging the hammer in a circular fashion over his head in every direction, while riding his horse in the midst of the Ottoman soldiers, was killing tens of soldiers at a time, scattering the rest of the soldiers, who would run away just to save their lives. 

In short my son, the Ottomans surround the garrison from a distance, and send emissaries, proposing truce with the Armenian natives of Aintab, following which, a truce is signed in return for a nominal levy in the form of goods, and paid services that the Armenian artisans would provide to the Ottoman military. 

Therefore, the friendship reigns between the Armenians and the Ottomans, with heads of the respective communities celebrating peace jointly with festivities. During one such event, they name the warrior on horseback with the sledge-hammer weapon, “Chekij-Kevork” (Hammer Kevork/George)… 

But the Ottomans had not forgotten the enormous fatalities Chekij-Kevork had inflicted on their soldiers during the battles, so one day during festivities, the Ottomans get Chekij-Kevork intoxicated with excessive amount of liquor, then after overpowering him, tie his arms and legs to four pegs, and kill him by torture, skinning him alive. 

As a result, Kevork’s brothers, and their fellow fighters with their families leave the garrison in Aintab and settle at a distant location far from Aintab, but always ready to fight, leaving behind only one brother in Aintab, to lead and protect the Armenian population there. 

Being in great need for the industrious Armenian artisans of Aintab for supplies, the Ottomans deal kindly with the remaining Armenians within the garrison, and also try to persuade the Armenians who had left Aintab, to come back and re-settle within the garrison, but without success. So they refer to the Armenians who decided to live outside the garrison “Keusdiv” (The Separated), and their settlement becomes known as “Sharakuesdic” (The Separated Neighborhood/Street). 

During the recurring violent invasions of the Ottomans and their vicious harassment of the local Armenian population, of the period, all of the outlying Armenian villages to Aintab were gradually depopulated, and the Armenians abandoned their lands and settled in Aleppo, Syria (80 kilometers to the south) and the seaside hill towns on the Mediterranean, and some in more distant countries. Following this, most of the Armenians within the garrison also leave for other lands and a few of the Armenians stay and convert to Islam and assimilate with the Ottomans. 

So, my son, Nazar son of Chekidj I am a descendent of Chekij-Kevork’s brother Hovannes. Hovannes had stayed behind, lived in the garrison and assimilated with the Ottomans. Although my grandfather had become a Moslem, he had secretly kept his faith and every Sunday, he used to take me to a chapel in the Armenian quarter and used to follow the ceremonies. He was liked by the Armenian community. 

As to my father, he used to ignore my grandfather’s advice, saying that “we are Islam and that is it”. 

My dear Nazar-Chekidj, I feel myself Armenian too, but there is no hope in this regards with my sons, grand-children and great-grand-children. I advise them to be kind to Armenians”. 

In Krikor Chekijians words: 

My father Nazaret used to sing a song; as if it was carried from “Chekij-Kevork” days. It appears to have been written for a high ranking military leader, to gather his troops, to liberate captured territories, which goes like this: 

Aren’t you Armenians…? Do not relax, get your shields

Don’t put your sparkling righteous swords in your scabbards

Courageous Armenians like you sacrificed themselves

Let us unite and march ahead

Soon enter our homeland, soon enter our homeland. 

An expert told me that this song may not be as ancient as 16th century, because the words are not of the ancient Armenian dialect, although, shields and swords do belong to ancient warfare. 

It is curious that all the Chekijians that I have heard about invariably carry the names Kevork, Hovannes, Krikor and other such names that have been maintained in our family’s tradition for generations. 

My father used to tell me that his grandfather was one of 18 brothers, who were all tailors, scattered all the way to the Balkans, but always maintaining contact with their brothers who stayed in Aintab. 

All Chekijians were courageous nationalists, and faithful to the Armenian heritage and Christianity. Physically most were tall, strong, fair haired, and with blue eyes.  

Over time, the Chekijian men married with Armenian women who had relocated to Aintab with their families from various regional communities such as Sevaz, Kentush, Amanos, Garine, Ashod, Arapgir, Kharpert and Sassoon, with that, the typical ancestral physical characteristics have been lost such as the built, fair hair and blue eyes. 

My mother’s family had come from Sassoon, but my father had maintained his ancestral tall and strong physique with fair hair and blue eyes.  My mother was also fair haired and blue eyed, but she was not as tall as my father. 

These are ancestral accounts passed on through the word-of-mouth, which I have written about the origin of the name Chekijian. They might be true in part. 

What intrigue me are the few villages of Arabic speaking Armenians near Antioch, or our compatriots living in Jebel Musa region, where every village has its own Armenian dialect. Where have they come from and why have they settled there, at these isolated and rugged coastal foothills until today. 

End of article. 

And if you’re waiting for an explanation of the “ian” in Chekijian, here’s the rule: in all Armenian family names it means “son of”. That doesn’t mean that every last name that ends in “ian” (or sounds like it does) makes that person Armenian, of course (i.e. Guckian, Trevelyan, Killian).