Cairo, Egypt or Allepo Syria? How to find records to answer their birth location #sephardic

Alan Kania

My wife's grandfather and several of his siblings came to America, but the official federal records cannot decide where they were born. I'm trying to pin down their actual birthplace in the hope that I can locate a copy of an official record of their birth and start to move the family history further up the line.

Grandfather: Selim (Solomon) GRAZI
Born 16 August 1884 in Cairo, Egypt
Born 7 July 1883 in Aleppo, Syria
Born 7 July 1883 in Cairo Egypt (according to World War II draft registration)
Born about 1882 in Persia (Aleppo, Syria) according to the ship's manifest
Emigrated on 8 December 1909 to the Port of New York

Granduncle: Ezra Joseph Grazi
Born 4 October 1892 in Cairo, Egypt according to his wife
Born 14 October in Egypt, according to the 1920 US Census
Born about 1891 in Turkey, according to a US/Mexican Border Crossing manifest
Emigrated 13 February 1914 to the Port of New York, according to his wife.

Granduncle: Vita Joseph Grazi
Born 3 April 1893 in Cairo, Egypt
Born 2 March 1892 in Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
Born 7 January 1893
Born 2 March 1892 in Egypt (according to the World War I Draft registration
Born 2 March 1892 in Aleppo, Syria (according to the World War II draft registration

Grandaunt: Farida Grazi
Born 15 February 1884, Aleppo, Jabal Samaan, Aleppo Governorate, Syria

Grandaunt Latife "Lottie" Grazi
Born 15 December 1887 in Syria
Born circa 25 December 1895 in Aleppo, Syria

My brother-in-law went to Aleppo, Syria several years ago and was able to photograph much of the Aleppo cemetery and found no gravestones representing the Grazi family. Family lore says that the Grazi family were prominent merchants and their subsequent ship manifests between Havana, Cuba; Colon, Panama, New York City, and other trading ports attest to their trading business. 

Allegedly, (again according to several generations of the living family), someone in the family was a "translator" for one of the Princes during the Ottoman Empire. The Arabic term "translator" is supposedly "Tourgeman" (or something similar.  A second branch of the Grazi family has a family named "Tourgeman" also from the Aleppo area. Family members insist that their families all claimed they were from Aleppo.

The majority of the modern family are in Brooklyn, NY and Deal NJ. The offspring of Selim Grazi moved to Denver, CO where I live.

Any suggestions of how we can definitively determine the relationship between Tourgeman and Grazi; and determine the birth location of the family?

Alan Kania

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