Barbar Moussa (Known as William Joseph in the U.S.) - Among Our Early Immigrants. Thanks to Kayte Bell and her mother, Debra Joseph, to have put the pieces of the puzzle together.


A: Letter from Debra Joseph Bell :

                                                                                    Hershey, Pennsylvania

                                                                                    14th August 2006


From: D Bell   

To:; Kayte Bell; William Joseph, Jr.

Subject: Greetings from Hershey, Pennsylvania.


Dear Manuel,

Thank you for taking the time to call our daughter Kayte today from Bazbina.  We are happy to hear everyone in Bazbina is doing well and celebrating the end of the conflict. We are celebrating it here, too. We've watched the news everyday in hopes of a resolution being achieved.

Here is the story of how Kayte ended up in Bazbina this past April.  On your website, you have a picture from the Bazbina Society Club, New Kensington 1918.  My Jidu, Barbar Moussa is the last man seated in the first row to the right.  In America, he was known as William Joseph, and my father is William Joseph, Jr, his youngest son. Before we found your picture, though, we were not certain of his name in Bazbina. We didn't even know for sure where Bazbina was.  Your website helped us to figure all of this out.

My daughter has always been proud of her Lebanese heritage and she has grown up eating the traditional dishes and asking many questions of her Jidu and other relatives who can remember the early days in America. 

During high school, she became fluent in French, and then began studying Arabic at the University of Pittsburgh.  She was permitted to go to Cairo, Egypt by her university last spring to study Arabic more extensively. [She is a very good student, and we are very proud of her.]  She took the picture from your website and some of our family pictures and was determined to get to Lebanon and possibly Bazbina.  Her father and I were nervous, but we really wanted her to be able to do this, since it was a big reason for studying Arabic in the first place.

So, during her Easter break she did make it to Beirut, then Tripoli, and finally to Bazbina. Very kind Lebanese people helped her along the way to get there. She was happy to find the village and take some pictures for all of us back home.  Just as they were leaving, her driver was stopped by someone who wondered why two American young ladies were in the village. The driver showed him the picture she had from your website and that man, I believe, went and found some of the Moussa family there.

So they spent a couple of hours visiting and sharing refreshments and conversing in bits of English, French and Arabic.  Our extended family enjoyed the video and pictures Kayte brought back. 

Since then, Kayte and I have found the records of my grand-parents travels at the Ellis Island Immigration Center in New York City.  So, here is what I now know:

My great grandfather Yusef Moussa came from Bazbina to Pittsburgh in 1914.  I believe our family name was changed at Ellis Island to Joseph by the immigration officials because of this.  This was typical.

My grandparents, Barbar and Katbe Moussa came from Bazbina to Pittsburgh in 1909.  He was 20 and she was 18.  About 12 people from Bazbina were traveling with them on the ship Louisiana, which set sail from Le Havre, France.  I recently obtained the ship manifest from the Ellis Island records.

Within a few years, many of these people settled permanently on Second Avenue in New Kensington, PA where there was good work in the Alcoa Aluminum factory.  Most of my grandfather's descendents still live near New Kensington and maintain their Lebanese heritage.

We look forward to staying in touch and Kayte and I hope to visit Bazbina at our next opportunity.



Debra Joseph Bell



B: Picture of Jidu and Situ Joseph:




C: Manifest of Ship Louisiana Birthing at Ellis Island September 10th, 1909:



Date:     18 Jul 2001


From:    Ziad Paul Nassar <>


To:        Manuel Hazim, Abuja - Nigeria.

CC:       Hassan Bitar, San Francisco.




Hey Manuel and Hassan,


I thought you might really like to see this.  Here is a list from the Manifest for Louisiana Ship arriving onto the famous US Ellis Island on September 10, 1909. Included is my great-grandfather, Mitri Nassar age 25.  Also, at the bottom of the list is an unnamed infant Nassar. Guess Who? She was born on the ship and later named after the ship Louisiana, the mother of Hassan Bitar (el-bietar).  There are few more people from Bazbina listed on the site. The web site is:



                Name, Gender, Age, Married, Ethnicity, Place of Residence


 0001.  Gerios, Rachel F 20 S Turkey, Syrian Nabeth, Syria

 0002.  Amirkhanian, Rebegha F 10 S Turkey, Armenian Harpout, Turkey

 0003.  Yamin, Hanni F 45 W Turkey, Syrian Zogherta, Syria

 0004.  Yamin, Marche F 16 S Turkey, Surian Zogherta, Syria

 0005.  Yamin, Suzanne Joseph F 45 W Turkey, Surian Zogherta, Syria

 0006.  Saneh, Fontine F 20 S Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0007.  Moussa, Barbar M 20 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0008.  Moussa, Katbe M. F 18 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0009.  Moussa, Agia F 8 S Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0010.  Khalil, Suleiman M 21 M Turkey, Surian Kherbet Hazout, Syria

 0011.  Khalil, Sara F 20 M Turkey, Surian Kherbet Hazout, Syria

 0012.  Saneh, Yanni F 25 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0013.  Antoun, America F 20 S Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0014.  Sanee, Hilaire F 20 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0015.  Nassar, Mitri M 25 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0016.  Nassar, Rajouh F 21 M Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0017.  Nassar, Habib M 11 S Turkey, Surian Bazbine, Syria

 0018.  Chahla, Hanne F 25 W Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0019.  Chahla, Moussa M 11m S Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0020.  Abdallah, Youssef M 29 M Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0021.  Abdallah, Martha F 25 M Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0022.  Ablallah, Esta M 11m S Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0023.  Cheada, Marta F 20 W Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria

 0024.  Namnoum, Cheble Hanni F 29 M Turkey, Syria Zagharta, Syria

 0025.  Namnoum, Cheble Joseph M 9 S Turkey, Syria Zagharta, Syria

 0026.  Namnoum, Cheble Suzanne F 5 S Turkey, Syria, U.S.Born Zagharta, Syria

 0027.  Namnoum, Chelbe Iasbelle F 2y 6m S Turkey, Syria Zagharta, Syria

 0028.  Kassouf, Annie F 23 S Turkey, Syria Zahle, Syria

 0029.  Badovinac, Marta F 28 M Austria, Croatian Sunje, Croatia

 0030.  Badovinac, Ceorg M 1y 6m S Austria, Croatian Sunje, Croatia

 0031.  Nassar,  F infant   Turkey, Syria  

 0032.  Nassar, Habib Turkey, Syria Bazbine, Syria



D: Kayte in the middle and her friend at her immediate right chating with the Moussas in Bazbina: