families and tribes
(The J is pronounced as i in Swedish, in Sundstroms language)
AD HABTES: One of the three Habab tribes, Ad Habtes, Ad Tekles and Ad
Temariam. In former times migrated a man, from Adi Nefas a village in
Hamassien, one hour North East of Asmara. *
And having passed by the Mensa territories he came with his men to a
rora, highland, which he called Rora Asgede i.e. the highland of Asgede
Asgede had a son by the name Mafles, after whom the three tribes of
Habab are called the three Mafles.
To Mafles three sons were born: Habtes, Tekles and Abib. The first born
of the sons of Abib was Temariam. The descendants og Habtes, Tekles and
Temariam are now called Ad Habtes, Ad Tekles and Ad Temariam.
Colloquially Habab is equal to Ad Habtes.
Whether the name Habab is the original one given by the ascendants of
Asgede is not yet certain.
* Some say it was Asgede himself who migrated, others say it was his son
Ad HABAJ (Geez Habey) is originally ZAWRA (Saora) living with the Ad
Sawarjam. But their ancestor HABOY left once the territories of AD
TEMARJANA and came to the Mensas. Here he joined himself to a nobleman
SAMARALUL and became his bondsman (Tigre) and his descendants after him.
They give tribute entirely as tigre, bondsmen. They live now at GHELEB
AD LAWAJ (Geez Leway): In the genealogy of the Mensas is the seventh
from MANZU called SARAQE – ZANGAB. He begat two sons: HAFAROM and LAWAJ.
The descendants of Haferom are the Ad Haferom at ZALALE. Of Lawaj are
the Ad Lawaj, which is divided into AD GABRES, AD AJLAJ (Aylay), and AD
BULA at ZELALE. These three Ads together with the Ad Haferom and BET
ABBASA form the BET ABRAHE.
AD THIMRUGA (Geez Timkaga?): derive their origin from a tribe by
AZANABARA, which tribe, at the time of the immigration of ZERA – BRUK,
lived in the regions of Anseba, north of Keren where the tribe of BET
JUK, the descendants of ZARI – BRUK, now live. They belong to the AD
GABRES and live at ZELALE but are not fully regarded as bondsmen and
therefore do not give full tribute to their noblemen. They give not
GSLZA, the name of butter as tribute.
AD HARISH: members of this family live at HALHAL and at the villages of
Anseba. They are not tigre, bondsmen.
AD HASHALA: Hashala, Aibai and Jagin were sons of TASFATJOU, a Mensa
man. His descendants are called AD HASHALA, AD AJLAJ and AD JAGIN. But
all together form now the AD AJLAJ.
AD HISHAL: a family of this is to be found at MEHLAB BET SHAHAQAN.
Another lives at GHELEB, BET ABREHE and belongs to AD GABRES.
AD HADEMBES: live in KARAU village near Keren.
AD HAFEROM: of Ad Jawaj. The chieftaincy belongs now to this family.
AD MEHARI: The ancestor of this family is the forenamed Lawaj. One of
his sons was Mehari. They live in Geleb and give the ordinary tribute
with Ad Bula.
AD SAWRA: a part of the Ad Gabres.
AD SOTALAJ (Geez Soteley): live together with the Ad Harish and Halhal.
AD SA’ADA: Saadya was a harlot in the Ad Temariam.
AD SHUMA: is part of the ZAWRA and their village is GUMHOT, north of
AD SHUBOT: they are BILEN and live in ONA, near Keren.
AD KEDRASH: They are Zawra. Their ancestor was called AB ADEM and he
joined himself voluntarily to ASME’E, son of Haferom, cf. above.
Asme’e’s descendants are called AD ASME’E and form a part of Ad Haferom.
Afterwards Ad Asme’e sold a part of them to chief Tedros AD GABRASI, a
second part to KAMAL, Ad Haferom, and a third part to HASHALA, AD AJLAJ.
Now they are to be found both at Geleb and Mehlab.
AD BULA: Their ancestor is LAWAJ, cf above. They form one of the five
head families of Bet Abrehe (Geleb) and have their own leader (sotto
AD BORHANU (Geez Berhanu): They are Bilen and their village FARAZARIB is
situated near Keren at the way between Geleb and Karau.
AD TEMARIAM: cf above. Their head village is AF ABUD, north of Mensa.
They have no chieftaindom, because their chief has not been nominated
installed by the emperor.
AD TEKLES: cf above Ad Habtes. Their territory is RORA MARJAN AD EKUD to
the west, and Rora Asgede to the east and is traversed by Anseba. Their
head village is ADE ATBA. As Ad Temariam they have no chieftaindom which
belongs to Ad Habtes.
AD NASHIH: or Ad Kentibay Nashih, is part of Ad Tekles.
AD NAIB ETMAN: Belongs to the Belew and live at Arkiko. Their ancestor
is said to have come from the Barka lowlands.
AD AMIR MUSA: are relatives of the Ad Naib Etman and live together with
the LAWHASJ cf above.
AD ASME’E: cf above Ad Kadrash.
AD ABRAHIM: Their ancestor is a certain SHAK MAHAMUD. They live at
‘ASUS, DAKANO (Archico, from Hargigo) and ZELA (i.e. Zula). Their
relations are the AD MA’ALLOM living with the Ad Temariam at AF – ABAD.
AD KARER (Geez Kereir) is really not a name of a special family or tribe
but now only the name of the northern part of the Mensa lowlands. The
southern part is called AD ZAWLAJ. (Why they are so called I have not
been able to find.)
AD KOROSH (Geez Krosh): forms a part of the Ad Temariam. This ancestor
is said to be a certain KEROSH, who, together with Mafles, immigrated to
the Habab. Their relations is the AD ZEN in Hamassien.
AD KEKYA: is Balaw and relations of the AD NAIB ETMAN. They are now
nomads, but their head village is Dakano (Archico).
AD AMMAR (Geez Emar): is tigre belonging to the Ad Haferom and live at
Geleb but derive their origin from Habab.
AD AMR SHURUF: is tigre belonging to the AD AJLAJ. They form a part of
the AD DOBA’AT which lives at Geleb. The Ad Doba’at is said to have come
from the other side of the frontier i.e. the English Territory, where
their relatives still live.
AD ERET: 1, is part of the Ad Hashala at Geleb. 2, a part of the Ad
Hashal at Mehlab (Bet Shahaqan).
AD ABDAL KERIM: is part of the AD NAIB ETMAN and live in Dakhano.
AD ANDALOJ (Geez Andeloy): is the name of Ad Gabres and Ad Ajlaj
together. Their ancestor was ANDALOJ a descendant of LAWAJ cf above, AD
AD AJLAJ (Geez Ailay): one of the five head families of Bet Abrehe at
AD ZEMAT: Bilen who live in Anseba from Keren towards Hamassien.
AD ZAWLAJ (Geez Zawlay): Their ancestor is said to have migrated from
Zager, a village in Hamassien, and their relations live there still.
They are tigre and are to be found in the Bet Shahaqan and in the
territories of Ad Zemat especially.
AD DOBLOJ (Geez Dubloy): are the near relations of the Ad Haferom (Bet
Abrahe) for Haferom begat KAMEL and Kamel begat DOBLOJ, whose
descendants are the Ad Debloj.
They were brave but bullying and truculent and killed not few of their
“brothers” of the Ad Haferom, stole the chieftaindom which Ad Haferom
once received together with the chieftaincy from emperor Fasil, and sold
it to the Bet Shahaqen.
On account of their evil deeds first chief EQBAMKAL punished them by
killing some of them and furthermore banished them.
Later on, KAMAL (not the afornamed, but one who lived about 80 years
ago) banished them too. Some of them fled then to Hamassien and some to
the Ad Temariam.
About ten years ago some few returned from Hamassien into the Mensa
territory and live now at Geleb and pay tribute with the Ad Haferom.
Dabloj probably from Amharic DABOL = the young of beasts of prey.
AD DEBRE SINA: Debre Sina is a mountain with a convent and a village. It
is east of Keren: The villagers are not a special family or tribe, but
are people from different tribes and families and villages in the
Hamassien. Some of them belong to the Ad Dabloj and are called AD SHUM
AD DANASH: forms a part of Ad Temariam.
AD DAYEN: are tigre and live with Ad Habtes at Naqfa.
AD FAR: nothing written
AD GEMIL: are tigre and live with Ad Habtes at Naqfa.
AD GEME’ (Geez GemeE): forms a part of the Ad Tekles.
AD GERGIS: forms a part of the Ad Habtes at Naqfa.
AD GEBRES: are one of the five head families of Bet Abrehe at ZALALE cf.
above Ad Lawaj.
BET HELAL: a tribe in the north of Colonia Eritrea.
BET HARRAN: Ad Mehari cf. above.
BET MA’AMEN: Adi Na’amin, a village in Anseba valley towards Hamassien.
BET SHAHAQEN: a part of the Mensa people cf. below, Mensa.
BET TA’AWQUE: or Bet Tawqe. Though not originally Bilen they are called
so, because they are living together with the Belen people, learned to
speak the Belen language. They live in the regions north of Keren from
the pass ZABBAB up to Halhal.
BET ASGEDE: cf. above Ad Habtes. The three tribes, Ad Habtes, Ad Tekles
and Ad Temariam are called Bet Asgede after their ancestor Asgede.
BET ABREHE: a part of the Mensa people. Cf. below Mensa.
BET ABBAZA (Geez Abeza): a small family in the Mensa, Bet Abrehe. Though
not in reality a part of the Bet Abrehe it is colloquially counted with
They have now their “sotto Capo”, who collects the tribute and gives it
to the “Kantabay” = chief. Cf. below, Mensa.
BET AB-GALAJ (Geez Ab Gelai): a nearly extince family in Mensa. Having
been shemagelle QATIN, they became tigre, bondsmen, because of the deed
of DASIT son of GABRAL.
Some of them belong to the Ad Gabres and some to the Ad AJLAJ. Some few
are to be found at Mehlab Bet Shahaqen. Cf. below, Mensa.
BET ATKAME (Geez Atkeme): a part of Ad Temariam.
BET DJUK (Geez Bet Juk): Bet Afre Bruk. Chief Zera Bruk immigrated from
Kandebba, (not from Wakki) in Hamassien and settled down in Anseba north
of Keren. His descendants are the Bet Djuk and their head village is
BET ARBAJ (Geez Aarbay): regarding their relationships to the Mensa, see
cf. below, Mensa.
Source: Carolina Redeviva Library, Uppsala - Sweden