It’s time that I mention something about the earliest Xevzev family history. First, it is pronounced “Shevzev”, with as much aspiration and buzzing in the consonants as you feel comfortable making. Both e’s are short continental vowels without the sliding from sound to sound that happens so much in modern English. It’s hard to say what the origin of the name really is, what language it comes from, or even any ethnic groups that most Xevzevs seem related to. Its form and pronunciation seem to have mutated numerous times over the centuries as the family moved around. There is some family speculation that it could be related to chevrolet, and in fact there is a chevrolet featured in the family coat of arms. I have cousins that absolutely believe in this, and furthermore, take it to mean that from earliest times we were goat herders. In my opinion, this is pure balderdash. Chevre means goat in some Latin languages, but not in the Northern and East European parts of the world where most Xevzev lore comes from. More interesting is the legend that our family is related to the Chebyshev family of Russia, whose most famous son, Pafnuty, was a great mathematician who made important advancements in Probability Theory. However, for the most part, the names and place names in our history are more European in focus than Asian.
We heard a lot of old family stories growing up: some were good, some were just long winded, and many were obviously made up or exaggerated versions of different stories. Even among recently related branches of the family, they conflict in irreconcilable ways.
Although the family didn’t belong to any nomadic group, there is a confusing and complicated web that seems to indicate that even if we weren’t formally nomadic, we sure did a lot of traveling. There were apparently some places that were considered hometowns, even strongholds, with “tall castles of stone” although it is no longer possible to connect the place to the story. Oral tradition tends to pass on what is important to the teller. Other things, though they may have been important to previous generations, stop being relevant and are left out and lost.
The oldest stories have to do with horsemanship. It seems that the elder Xevzevs were frighteningly good riders. There are various stories in which “the finest horse ever seen in the land” was bred and raised by a member of the family. We seem to have sometimes produced our own knights, other times had some kind of hand in the training of those of other houses. Many of the oldest tales deal with battles, horses, politics that don’t quite make sense, and so forth.
Then, around the beginning of the 19th century, vague places and names from “long ago and far away” become more concrete. At the same time, the family passion for horses seems to have been replaced by “the balloon lunacy” as we call it. It seems to run in our veins, although how it got there, or why it would seem to possess so many members of the same family is a mystery.