— Saginashvili and Dadiani

Dadiani COAMy mother told me her grandmother was Evgeniya (Eva) Saginashvili and that she defied her parents by marrying someone who was not just a commoner but also a widower with several children 😮

DedushkaI heard from my aunt Jenny that Joseph Nozadze’s 2nd cousin was Ucha Dadiani. It took a while but I discovered that Ucha was David K Dadiani and he did attend the Page Corps so it is entirely possible that what Jenny passed on was true – that Joseph was sent to the Corps des Pages by his grandfather and stayed with Ucha in St Petersburg.

The Saginashvilis were a princely Georgian family but they had many different branches, as did the Dadianis, and I think it’d take a Georgian researcher to find the connection 🙁

What I read was «the Saginashvilis trace their origins to the first house of Dadian, the lords of Samegrelo , as was pointed out in 1771, in his letters to the Russian General Totlebenu Imereti Solomon I.»
[Source: Грузинское Генеалогическое Общество]


A Georgian relative of Joseph’s but who? Certainly not Ucha (Click to enlarge)

So the Saginashvilis and the Dadianis were related, therefore it seems very possible that Ucha was Joseph’s 2nd cousin.

When I first saw the photo on the left, I assumed it was of Ucha but having found photos of him online, it’s definitely not. It must be someone close to Joseph, for him to have kept the photo, but I’m afraid I have no idea who it is.

I also found on that website that there was a Saginashvili Prince called Paata Zurabovich who had 3 sons – Eleazar, Joseph (Jesse) and Michael – and that got me really excited as that was the first time I’d found a reference to a Joseph Saginashvili but could I find any other reference to this Joseph Saginashvili? Could I hell! 🙁

Until this is either proved or disproved, I will believe the information my mother and aunt passed on to me.

Here is the connection again …

  • Joseph’s mother, Eva, was a Saginashvili but she defied her parents and married a widowed commoner called David Nozadze.
  • Eva’s father was Joseph and her son, Joseph Nozadze, was named after him.
  • His grandfather wanted to adopt Joseph and change his surname to Saginashvili but Joseph refused.
  • Joseph stayed with his 2nd cousin, Ucha Dadiani, in St Peter he joined his regiment and was sent to Persia; it was there that he learned to gamble and it proved to be a curse for the rest of his life. However his grandfather was always happy to bail him out of his debts.
  • Ucha was a friend of the Imperial Family and he quizzed Joseph about the situation in Persia to give to the Tsar, who wanted to hear first hand reports of what was happening.
  • When Joseph was in St Petersburg, he saw a young lady and it was love at first sight. With Ucha’s help, Joseph found out her name and was able to pursue her, and win her hand in marriage.

There seems to be quite a connection between the three families if what Jenny wrote down is true 😀


Ucha Dadiani ~ 1875-1932

Prince Ucha Dadiani

Ucha was born in 1875, making him 14 years Joseph’s senior.

He graduated from the Tiflis Cadet Corps in 1894 then spent two years in the Corps des Pages, where he was a favourite of both the tsar and tsarina.

Ucha was a favourite of the Tsar and spent a great deal of time with the Imperial Family.

In 1916 he was playing cards with Felix Yusupov when he was asked if he’d take part in the plot to kill Rasputin. Without hesitation Ucha refused, and Felix asked why.

“It would be humiliating to be the executioner,” he said. “We should not lose our dignity because of one person.”

Felix asked him how to remove a person who interferes with everyone.

Ucha said they should give him a slap and challenge him to a duel!

Ucha was considered a unique individual and had a legendary reputation in St Petersburg. He was always happy to accept a wager or two 😉

One such time during a reception at the Winter Palace, the Tsarina came out of her apartments accompanied by six pages. Everyone bowed reverently when she approached and she greeted the rows of invited guests. Suddenly she heard laughter and stopped, asking the Master of Ceremonies what was happening.

It transpired that someone had kissed Alexandra’s maid of honour during the procession.

“Who did this?” the Tsarina asked angrily.

Ucha put his hand up and admitted he had been the one who’d disrupted the ceremony.

Count Wittgenstein had bet him two cases of champagne that he wouldn’t dare to kiss the Empress’s Maid of Honour during the ceremony. Ucha had initially refused the dare but then Count Wittgenstein threatened to tell everyone that the mighty Prince Ucha was an ordinary coward and that was something Ucha couldn’t let happen, so he agreed to the wager.

The Empress was annoyed but she couldn’t stay angry for long with Ucha. He kissed her hand and he admonished him but that was that. Just as well, as a few months earlier two other pages tried a similar prank but it didn’t end so well for them. They were demoted and sent to a remote garrison far from St Petersburg 😮

There were more stories of Ucha’s shenanigans at court but, being a favourite of both Nicholas and Alexandra, his misdeeds seemed to make them laugh and he was always forgiven.

He really sounds like he was quite a character  😀

After he finished at the Page Corps, he joined the Kuban Cossack Army as a cornet, then, during WWI, he was attached to Grand Duke Mikhail’s Savage Division until it was disbanded in 1918.

To escape the Bolsheviks, he and his wife went to Constantinople and she died there in 1921. Two years later, Ucha went to New York and worked in the office of a perfume company, Prince Matchabelli.

As a member of the Circassian Society, Allahverdi, he participated in chess tournaments.

Ucha died in 1932 and was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery on Long Island.




An album showing students of the Tiflis Cadet Corps during the late 1800s and early 1900s



Ucha Dadiani

A few photos which I found of Ucha on the web

*NB – when you click on the album, the screen will show the top of this page. Please just scroll down to see the pictures.




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