Helping Greek Americans in Search of Their Asia Minor Roots
One of our Hellenic Genealogy Geek members has hit the headlines.
HELPING GREEK AMERICANS IN SEARCH OF THEIR ASIA MINOR ROOTS
by Chrysovalantis Stamelos
Published September 12, 2014 in The Pappas Post
This past week, I had the great joy of welcoming (and partly chaperoning) two Greek-Americans in Izmir. However, they were not just any Americans, but two women whose lineages stem from the neighborhood I live in; Buca.
Pronounced “Boo-ja”, it was a lovely residential area of Smyrna predominately developed and populated by the flourishing Greek and Levantine communities of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Since it was not in the vicinity of downtown Smyrna that was destroyed by the catastrophic fire of 1922, the houses remain firmly intact. Following the end of the war, the population exchange of 1923 brought many Muslim (aka Turks) from Thessaloniki, Drama, and Crete to take the empty homes of the former inhabitants.
Over the years, many houses were restored and taken care of, even being taken back by a few former owners, while others were left to fall apart and be demolished.
When I moved to Buca in 2009, I had no idea about the history of this particular area. Since then, it’s been a passion to discover as much about it as I can. A good chunk of that passion is found in the documentary my partner Paras Chaudhari and I produced, Hello Anatolia. Following the success of Hello Anatolia, I had in me a dream that one day I would be able to bring people who had similar roots to Anatolia and help them on their personal family journeys. With my new friends Nicole and Poppy, that dream came true.