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Huffington Post Interview with Gonda Van Steen - Greek Adoptions

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THE CHILDREN OF ADOPTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE ARE LOOKING FOR THEIR ROOTS
Interview by Justin Frangoulis-Argyris, Journalist and Writer, with Gonda Van Steen.  Published in the Greek Huffington Post on October 3, 2018.

English translation

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A whole generation of children born in Greece in the 50s, 60s and 70s abandoned on steps of homes, nurseries and orphanages, children given to American and European families for adoption, replacing the social welfare of post-war Greece, today seeks to find its roots .

Dr. Gonda Van Steen , Professor of Hellenic Studies at Florida University, has explored this research by trying to find the case files but also to find a methodological correlation of the Cold War era with the influence of America and Europe on the social fabric of Greece.

The massive adoption wave from Greece to America proved to be the most compact example of Greece's dependence on the United States.

Adopted Greek children retain the experiences of their ancestors, which…

“‘Are We There Yet?’ The Greek Adoptees’ Road of Return - by Prof. Gonda Van Steen

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Van Steen, Gonda,“‘Are We There Yet?’ The Greek Adoptees’ Road of Return–An Essay.” In Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters, edited by Y. Anagnostou (7 July 2018, online, 10 pages):


Author’s Note: 

In the second half of May 2018, I traveled to Greece with four Americans who, when they were children in the 1950s, were dispatched by Greece for adoption in the United States. Marianna, Linda, Jay, and Lori come from all corners of the States, but their common roots lie in or near the port of Patras. We visited various places that were important landmarks of their earliest days and months. For all four of them, the trip was a direct encounter with Greece and its people and also with their adoption history. The participants also spent ample time getting to know each other. I observed them and kept a travel journal. I encouraged them, too, to write down their own impressions and to share pictures. The essay below reflects our collective effort capturing and reliving the Greek adoption phenom…

The Origin and Meaning of Your Greek Surname

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AncestralFindings.com published a blog posting on THE ORIGIN AND MEANING OF YOUR GREEK SURNAME.  

Excerpt from article:

".... each historical period in Greece had its own method of surname creation, assuming it was a time period when surnames were even being used.

As an example, ancient Greeks did not have official surnames like we do today. However, they did use patronymics to identify each other from their friends and neighbors who may have the same given name as them. Each man or woman would be given a patronymic meaning “son of” or “daughter of,” along with their father’s given name. When a woman married, her patronymic would change to “wife of,” with her husband’s given name. An example is Hericles Pileidis, meaning “Hericles, son of Pileas.”

The use of surnames in Greece as we use them today did not start until about the end of the 1400’s A.D. Until that time, Greeks usually simply had a first (aka given) name, usually with a patronymic added on to it. Sometimes, instead of a p…

YouTube video - Greek Children Singing Christmas Carols - many photographs

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I really enjoyed this YouTube video of Greek Children Singing Christmas Carols.  It includes many different photographs of children carolling.



Christmas Traditions in Crete and Greece

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CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN CRETE AND GREECE

Christmas in Greece, or "the holidays," are not what they were 40 years ago. Over the years we notice a universal culture developing as the western European customs spread more and more change. In some cases, it caused the elimination of local customs in certain areas - even entire countries.

Today Christmas in Greece appears more impressive, glossier and more glamorous. Store windows are decorated almost a month in advance, and in the cities the streets and town squares are lit with colourful lights. Also, many people now travel either abroad or around Greece to places which offer winter holidays.

Greeks will party at clubs, at bouzoukia, which have almost disappeared in Crete, or stay at home and watch some impressive holiday show on television. But on Christmas Day, all family members gather at the festively set dinner table.

The name days of Manolis or Emanuel or Manos or Emanuela are all celebrated on Christmas Day, and friends and r…

Five Christmas Traditions Unique to Greece

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"Five Christmas Tradition Unique to Greece" authored by Gabi Ancarola and published by the GreekReporter.com on December 24, 2017


In current days and mostly in big cities, Christmas in Greece very much resembles the holiday celebrations from other areas in the world. Massive travel, easy access to worldwide media, and globalization have standardized and spread many traditions from the Occidental world. On top of the list, it’s Christmas.

It’s easier to see artificial lights and decorations rather than candles; Christmas trees over the Greek boat or karavaki, and massive references to Santa in shops and on TV. However, some traditions are unique to the local Christmas experience, let’s take a look at some of them.

Kallikantzaroi

According to the Greek version of the universal myth of evil spirits, our world connects to the underworld through a tree. The evil spirits, or kallikantzaroi, spend their year beneath that tree, sawing their way into the outer world. They manage to succe…

Testing Family Artifacts to Obtain DNA Evidence for Genealogical Research

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My DNA cousin, Jenny Chronopoulos, from Melbourne Australia just sent me these two very interesting articles.

Rumor has it that in January My Heritage will begin offering testing of stamps, envelopes, etc. to recapture DNA from deceased parents, grandparents.  I cannot find an official statement from My Heritage.

Apparently an Australian company is already doing the testing (referenced in articles.below).

"TESTING ARTIFACTS TO OBTAIN DNA EVIDENCE FOR GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH" by Blaine Bettinger, published on The Genetic Genealogist blog on 19 November 2018.

"HOW TO PRESERVE & TEST OLD LETTERS FOR GRANDMA'S DNA" by 
Denise May Levenick, published on The Family Curator blog on April 19, 2018.


PERSONAL NOTE:  I have letters from some of my grandparents siblings and would love to do this, but will wait until the price becomes more reasonable.