Title: Armenian Last Names
Name: Armen Jamkotchian
Date: 10/24/2007 5:01:30 AM
Common Armenian last names may also end in "yan". However it is true that some other nations have similar endings. For example French (D'Artanian), or Persian (Enchayan). The main distinction is the part of the last name prior to the ending. It either denotes a name (first name) or an occupation. Typically Armenians from Western Armenia (historically occupied by Turkey) denote an occupation, whereas the eastern Armenian names (Armenians living in Armenia and countries like Russia, Geogia, Iran, etc.) denote a first name. For example my last name is Jamkotchian (Zhamkotchian is sounds closer to the original) means church bell ringer. (My father was deported from Western Armenia in Turkey during the Armenian Genocide.) A typical eastern last name would be Aramian, where Aram is a common first name.
It is also true that there are last names that do not fall into this pattern. Typical examples are Shoghunts, Yavrunts, Slkuni, Heruni.