It wasn't until yesterday that I became aware of an email enticing me to attempt a search on Ancestry.com, as yesterday was the last day that such a search would be free of charge. And search I did. Under the name Bilezikian, I found only three entries, and many misspellings. But the one entry that I found that rocked my day was the entry for Ara Bilezikian, my father's first cousin, twin brother of Ashod Bilezikian, son of Arakel Bilezikian, my grandfather Moses' brother who (although ancestry.com did not tell me this) had arrived in the United States from Marash well before 1915, (although I'm not certain when . . . I'll have to check with Ashod on that.)
|Death Certificate of Ara Bilezikian from Ancestry.com|
Ara Bilezikian. I had always heard about him growing up, how he had enlisted in the Navy and had died on a sinking ship -- how he had been asleep in his room behind a locked door, and when the ship was going down, his shipmates tried to waken him, pounding on his door, but to no avail. I hadn't heard that story for many a year, perhaps since I was in elementary school. But today, Ancestry.com brought the horror back. There it was in black and white, a photocopy of the death certificate.
Impossible to read in the image above but the details were there.
Place of death: At sea off Georgia Coast. Immediate cause: Drowning, Tug-Boat (end of sentence unreadable) Full Name: Ara Bilezikian, veteran of WWII, male, white, single, born August 8th 1928 (the day after my father's birthday, though not the year), died at 19 years, 1 month and 18 days. Birthplace: West Newton, Mass., Seaman Second Class, U.S. Navy. Father: Arakel S. Bilezikian (birthplace incorrectly stated as Massachusetts), Mother: (Unknown on this form), Informant: W. B. Billimore, Lt. HC USN, US Naval Hospital, Naval Base, Removal Nov. 7, 1947.
After all these years, I remember the story as my father and mother told it, and could not let it go until I recorded the story here. It has shaken me yet again.