MY LEBANESE ANCESTORS
THE HISTORY OF BCHAALEH AND SALIMA, LEBANONSTEPHEN BACHAALANY, Paul Knieser, Sarah Knieser, Nigel Knieser, Missy Knieser, Ruby Knieser, Jack Knieser
Biographies & Memoirs
This book is a nonfiction historical study of the people and culture of the Lebanese inhabitants of two ancient towns in Lebanon: Bchaaleh and Salima.
The stories of these people stretch back to the time of the ancient world of the Phoenicians up to the mid 20th Century modern world.
Father Bachaalany spent a good portion of his life uncovering the facts and details of the subjects of the book, many of them his own ancestors. Father Bachaalany relied on the first hand stories of many of his more immediate ancestors. He coupled that with documents from Church records and histories from libraries as far away as Rome and as near as Beirut. Father Bachaalany was a parish priest, a librarian, and a school teacher. During each phase of his life he accumulated knowledge of the subjects of historical study. Even the special Maronite Catholic religious characteristics are illustrated and explained.
Paul Knieser is an American of half Lebanese descent. Like Father Bachaalany, Paul, too, was curious about his heritage and ancestry. Father Bachaalany's book was a treasured item, but it was in Arabic. Over the course of three decades Paul paid interpreters to make the pages reveal their previously hidden words. Now, Paul's interpretation is available to millions of English speaking descendents of the people revealed in the book.
Father Bachaalany's lifetime of work is easily open for all the relatives, scattered around the world. Now we can see the simple lifestyles of our ancestors as they truly lived their lives. The book is an example of what a family heritage book should be, full of stories supported by detailed facts. We see the lives of the Maronite Catholic villagers living side by side with their Islamic, Druze, Protestant and Roman Catholic neighbors. Father gives us the facts of their lives, naming people, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters.
All of us interested in our heritage owe a debt of gratitude for Father Bachaalany's work.