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    Did Anatolian Turks (common folks) live in Bulgaria in the 19th century? Or the identity Turk was assigned to local people who adopted Islam in Bulgaria?



    By Anatolian Turks I presume you mean colonists – because, you know, if they live in the Balkans, they’re no longer Anatolian, except by historical origin. Anyway, from what I know, most Balkan Turks are indeed locals who converted to Islam and with time changed their identity. There are cases of Turkish colonists (the Yoruks in the Kazanlak valley, f.e.), of course, but they’re few and far between. Not to mention a good percentage of the Anatolian Turks aren’t originally Turkish either, but again local converted “Byzantines”. Also, there were other Muslim (non-Turkish) groups that were settled on the Balkans in time – f.e. the infamous Cherkezy (Circassians) and Tatars who caused a lot of devastation here in the early 19th century, even if they only stayed for awhile.




    I posted in another topic.

    There’s a family story about my ancestor on my Mum’s side bringing
    Turkish girl home after he fought in Russo-Turkish war ( 1877). Some
    soldiers of the Russian empire were bringing girls home back then.  She
    was baptised and married my  ancestor. My ancestor fought in what is
    present day Bulgaria not visiting Anatolia. I am assuming she was from
    Bulgaria. Why our relatives labeled her Turk is unknown to me. Because
    she was Muslim?  She’s 7 generations back from me. So, I have 1/128 (0.008%)  her
    ancestry in me. But neither Turkish (Anatolian) nor Bulgarian genetics
    reflect in my genetic profile.

    I’d assume my ancestor 7 generations back was a Muslim convert living in Bulgaria.

    PS She was baptised into Orthodoxy  getting Christian name.



    Do you know which region she might have been “found” in?




    I am not sure. I know my ancestor was infantry soldier participating in the battle of Shipka.  She could have been from surrounding areas.



    Well, Shipka is just to the north of Kazanlak, so it could be.
    Also, keep in mind that the situation here is quite colourful anyway. Religion may be an important factor in the development of identities, but it’s certainly not automatic – f.e. we have the opposing examples of the Pomaks, who speak Bulgarian, but are Muslim, and the Gagauz, who speak Turkish, but are Orthodox Christian.



    Not long ago I corresponded with my distant relative who is interested in genealogy too . Her and mine great grand fathers were siblings. She also stated our ancestor  brought Turkish bride who was born around 1860. It’s only me who questioned why she was labeled a Turk given our ancestor was in Bulgaria in 1877.

    Also, I posted many of my genetic profiles using different test. There’s no single trace of Turkish genetics. I’d assume she was local Muslim.



    I’m just assuming but perhaps she was labeled as Turkish because she came from the land known as Turkey (technically Ottoman empire but nobody was calling them like that but themselves). Do you have proof she was even Muslim?




    I don’t have any proof. We have a family story passed down generations.



    I was just asking because I remember I read once that all Serbian church missions from the time of Ottoman empire directed towards Russian empire in the 15th and 16th century went as “missions from old Serbian lands”, to be differentiated from Turks. So just bare in mind your ancestors might tagged the woman as Turkish just because she was from Turkey.



    @NikeBG Its an interesting topic about Balkan Turks, as I have seen some in person and in pictures, some actually look very European and can pass as Slavs, with many having fair skin, fair hair and blue eyes; I guess this is not what you would typically see in Anatolia Turkey I would presume. 

    I didn’t know that Balkan Turks could actually be Slavs that had been converted into Turks, I thought maybe some Balkan Turks by taking Slavic brides the gene pool may have mixed that way and hence the appearance of Balkan Turks emerged different to those from Anatolia.  Just a guess really.



    European Turks indeed look rather differently from the Anatolians, especially the ones from the central and eastern parts of Asia Minor. And, yes, I think the majority of Balkan Turks are originally “simply” converts to Islam, similarly to how I think most Balkan Slavs are also “converts” to the Slavic language and culture. There are exceptional groups from the actual invading ethnos, of course, but I think they’re in a minority among the converts.

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