Background of the AbiEzzi family
The AbouEzzi family name, which means "father of pride", originated in the early nineteenth century in the Bekaa town of Kherbit-Qanafar in Lebanon. Nimr (means tiger) AbouEzzi was the first to adopt this family name, and we are now upon the sixth generation of descendents (Andrew-2002 , Salim-1963, Samir-1935, Michel-1910, Salim-1884?, Mansour-1855?, Nimr AbouEzzi-1820?), which suggests an estimate for Nimr's birth in the early nineteenth century (giving a generation 25 to 30 years). The complete family tree is well known thanks to early efforts by Ralph Assaph Azzie of Ottawa Canada.
Kherbit-Qanafar is a small farming town in the south-west Bekaa region of Lebanon, situated in the eastern foothills of the Chouf section of Mount Lebanon, overlooking the fertile Bekaa valley and the Litany river. Early members of the family where born there, farmed its lands and hunted its hills. It has an irrigation stream called Ana AbouEzzi, since it was dug by Nimr and his sons to water their fields. It is presently part of the prosperous wine region of Lebanon. The name is suggestive of an ancient town, since "Kherbit" means "ruins", "Qanafar" has Greek roots related to "light house". The story is that the ancient town had a light house on its hill to guide travelers.
Kherbit-Qanafar looking west towards The Chouf Mountain
Kherbit-Qanafar looking east towards the Litany river and Mt. Hermon (9,232 ft)
The old oak tree on a hill top in Kherbit-Qanafar
A narrative in the family tradition suggests that the father of the family, Nimr AbouEzzi, changed his last name from Eid after he fled from authority with a brother to the Bekaa region, from Mazraet-el-Dahr in the Chouf region. This narrative was disproved in February 2009 through DNA testing jointly with members of the Eid family from said town; see family tree project below. Therefore, Nimr's original family becomes an open question, which we hope this project will help answer.
Immigration to the new world including to Canada, USA, & Brazil occurred in the early twentieth century and later upon the Lebanese civil war in the 1980's. Among the early immigrants we know of Mariane who lived in Maine and Ralph who lived in Ottawa Canada. Many immigrated to the Cleveland area, where the Kherbit Qanafar club is based.
Many of those who immigrated to the USA and Canada morphed their last name to: Ezzie, Azzie, Ezzy, Ezzi, Ezze, etc. A search of the US social security database shows more than a dozen deceased individuals throughout the USA with the Ezzie last name.
The family tree came a long way thanks to Ralph's initial work, my cousin Michel Antoine's effort, and updates from different family members. To view it you need the free Simple Family Tree Windows application (on this web page). Download the AbouEzzi GED file (right click the link and choose "save as"), then run the application and open this GED file. Click on any person's name to see their relations in the tree! Certain persons have information in the notes section.
Please email me with any updates, including salient notes about members of the family. I will update the tree on this web site after major updates to the master version.
Note that this is a surname tree, so it includes women whose maiden name is AbouEzzi (or a morph thereof), but not their spouses or children. These names could be included in the notes section.
During my visit to the village in April 2010, I captured the following entries in the baptismal record of those with the family last name.
In 2012 I was contacted through this web site by Tony-1978 (Gabriel Anthony George Ferris Nimr) Ezzy a musician in Montreal, Bill-1972 Kennedy (descendent of Brijeta George Nimr) a TV producer of Ottawa, and Joe-1940 (John Elias George Nimr) Ezzie of Akron OH. They all provided me with valuable updates to the AbouEzzi tree and material for this web site. Joe's grandmother Affifi is sister of my father's grandfather Salim, which makes them second cousins!
Around 2005, upon a Google search on "abiezzi" one of the couple hundred resulting hits showed an Italian family of this same last name! More recently I received a Facebook message from Attilio Abbiezzi after he came upon this FamilyTree project.
"Hi! I read your story of the "abou-ezzi/abiezzi" family. I am from italy and my surname is ABBIEZZI (with double B): maye there is some relations?"
By doing a Facebook search on "Abbiezzi" six Italian individuals turned out. Are the names a coincidence or are the two families genetically linked? The answer lies in our DNA.
A friend of mine while doing genealogy research came across a passenger manifest from PAN AM Flight 065/30 from Beirut to New York on September 30th 1953, with passengers Zambra Abou Ezze Tanios and Youssef Abou Ezze Tanios. According to Michel Ezzie:
My great grandfather Salim's brother Bechara passed away in Brazil. Did he have any decedents? If so, his male descendant's DNA carry the answer and we might find out thanks to the worldwide Internet and the DNA project below! For example, see following email I received in August '08:
My grandfather Michel Salim AbiEzzi
(born in 1910) is the first to have this variation of the last name due
to a typo when his ID was handwritten, a typo that stuck and now is
inherited by three generations of descendants!
The science behind using DNA for genealogy has come a long way; check the Family Tree DNA information page.
I setup the "AbouEzzi DNA" project with FamilyTree, which currently includes half a dozen participants. When new members submit their DNA results (I suggest the Y-DNA67 test for about $250), this online service will show them how their DNA correlates with those of existing members. Based on this correlation there is a formula that indicates the time-frame for the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).
Here's what we've learned from the DNA tests so far:
The objectives of this DNA project include:
This could be a collaborative project where many could shed light on the history of our family. The best part is that the results will be shared worldwide through this page and the Internet, and will be available for the benefit of future generations.
Here's how you can contribute: