Hanna Dib el-Helou family of Tripoli, Lebanon

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Hanna Dib el-Helou family
of Koubbe, Tripoli, Lebanon


Background

Helou means "sweet". There is a Helou family in Tripoli, Koubbe. The recent Patriarch of this family is Ibrahim el-Helou meaning "the sweet". Ibrahim el-Helou may have been known Ibrahim Dib el-Helou, but later remembered only as Ibrahim el-Helou (Ibrahim the sweet). He was a great man, from a line of people who were part of the government, so they named one of the streets in Koubbe after him. That was the only street in Koubbe named after a person.

Ibrahim el-Helou, lived in Koubbe, Tripoli . He was married to Rogina Barquet from Koubbe.

Ibrahim Helou's grandfather was Hanna Dib Helou. From the baptismal records in St. Michael's church of Koubbe (Tripoli), I discovered that five of his children were named : Khalil, Fares, Youssef, Salim, and Asaad.

On my trip to Tripoli, Lebanon in August 1999, I contacted Ibrahim's son named Helou Helou (double sweet) who is a bank branch manager in Tripoli to see if I could expand the family tree to beyond Hanna Dib Lattouf, or at least to a brother or a cousin of his who could have been a grandfather of Ibrahim el-Helou. That family relation did not materialize.

I have also procured an old book entitled "The History of the Aanahila", by Farid Abou-Fadel (el-Helou). This book tells the story of the various Helou family branches all over Syria, and Lebanon, and the world. The family name is attributed to "Ain Halia" which was a Christian town in Syria in the Zabadani area, halfway between Damascus and Beirut.

The book tells various stories about the origin of the large Helou family. How they they left in the mid 1500's their town of Ain Halia, after a fight, and came over to Becharri, Lebanon, but took Mechta El-Helou, Syria as a town of residence for the winter when Becharri is covered with snow, and they could not have pastures for their livestock. Mechta el-Helou in Arabic, means "The Winter Residence of the Helous".

The stories of why the Helous left Syria vary, but one such story is that there was a pretty Helou woman in Syria. Some Emir of a town nearby, wanted to take her for a wife, but she refused, so he went and kidnapped her. Then, her family raided that Emir's clan at night, killed the Emir, and took the girl back. Fearing for their lives from the Emir's followers revenge, they had to Leave Ain Halia and take refuge in the safety of the mountains of Lebanon. They were 200 to 300 people, along with their livestock and belongings.

Ibrahim Helou's great great grandfather Assaad el-Helou was a very rich man, but had a problem that every time he had a son, he would die as an infant. He was told, according to an old Lebanese superstition, that if he called his son after a wild animal, that he would survive. So he had a son, so he immersed him in a well, and called him Dib, after the wolf, and because Dib was not a Christian name, he instead added the name of St. John to his name, and the son became known as "Hanna Dib el-Helou". This Hanna Dib el-Helou survived and had 24 children Many of whom emigrated to Brazil.

Father Jbeir, of Saint Michael's church of Koubbe, used to record this family name as "... Hanna Dib el Helou" or "... el-Helou", but later, father Louis Chahla, used to record the names as "... Hanna Dib"`

The Helou's of Koubbeh were mostly employed by the municipality of Tripoli, son, father and grandfather. They lived in Haret es-Saydeh, between the Saydeh Maronite church, and the St Michael Orthodox church, where the other Koubbeh families lived (Akkari, Bracket, Faddoul, etc.).

In August, 1999, I spent a couple days in the Maronite church of St Michael in Koubbeh going over marriage and baptismal records dating back to 1884. I was able to assemble the following Helou family tree :

    Assaad el-Helou
      Hanna Dib el-Helou (Died in 1884, his wife was Badra Youssef Abou Dib, from zgharta, died in 1917)
        Khalil Hanna Dib el-Helou ( Emigrant -married Mahassen Youssef Lattouf el-Dayeh in 1899)
          Soraya Khalil Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Eugenie Khalil Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Msihiyeh Khalil Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Mariam Khalil Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized in 1907 )
        Fares Hanna Dib el-Helou ( died in 1890 - Married to a Hanneh)
        Youssef Hanna Dib el-Helou ( married in 1891 to a Hanneh, widow of his brother Fares)
        Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( married to Najibeh Khoury Youssef Zablit )
          Michael Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( Born circa 1890 (1912 census) -baptized in 1891 )
          Toufic Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( Born circa 1892 (1912 census))
          Ibrahim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( Born 1893 (1912 census) - married Rogina Salim Baraket, 1922)
            Hanneh Ibrahim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
            Hanna Ibrahim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
            Salma Ibrahim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized in 1924 )
            Helou Ibrahim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Jamil Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (Born circa 1894 (1912 census))
            Youssef Jamil Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Antonious Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (Born circa 1895 (1912 census))
          Assaad Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (Born circa 1896 (1912 census))
          Nadim Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (Born circa 1906 (1912 census))
          Wahibeh Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (1912 census)
          Marianna Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (1912 census)
          Salma Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou (1912 census)
          Boutros Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Hanna Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized in 1891 )
          Marianna Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
          Badra Salim Hanna Dib el-Helou
        Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( married Mariam Kamoua, died in 1897 in America)
          Zahiyeh Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( Married Semaan Badwi Khoury in 1885 )
          Youssef Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized in 1887)
          Antonious Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( married Nabiha Mouawad in 1936, died in 1937 at age 70 )
            Mariam Antonious Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized 1925)
            Labibeh Antonious Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( baptized 1927 )
            Assaad Antonious Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou ( born 1929 )
            Alice Antonious Assaad Hanna Dib el-Helou (baptized in 1932)

Please note that Hanna Dib el-Helou named five of his children : Khalil, Fares, Youssef, Salim, and Asaad, which were the same exact names given by Hanna Dib Lattouf to his children. Is there a relationship here ? Supposedly there were 19 other children, many of whom emigrated to Mexico, but no church records exist on those, at least not in Koubbeh. I will have to check the records of Haret es-Saydeh church.