Showing posts from 2018

The Byzantine Princess and the Fork, East-West Culture Clash

The Byzantine Princess and the Fork, East-West Culture Clash
by Steve Frangos Published in The National Herald, December 1, 2018
I am excited that The National Herald has given Hellenic Genealogy Geek the right to reprint articles that may be of interest to our group. 
When I was growing up, I heard many a tale of Greeks, from Classical times to reminiscences shared with me by my grandparents and their generation. One reoccurring set of stories was how Byzantine Empire refugees transmitted culture to the West. We gave the ‘light’ to the West, I was told repeatedly. As Greeks and other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Balkans were escaping from Ottoman domination they brought new information, materials and skills to Europe and so, I was told, helped to launch the Renaissance. I was in college before I found out such claims really bothered my professors.
Academic objections aside, certainly some cultural co…

Website Live - Ottoman Greeks in the U.S. Project

Message from George Topalidis, Ph.D. Student - Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, University of Florida, OGUS Project Coordinator

Message dated December 20, 2018

Dear Friends of the OGUS Project, 

I have some exciting news! Our webpage at the University of Florida's Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is officially online!

It contains the following sections. 

1. The Collections - 2D images, documents in Demotic Greek, English, Karamanlidika, Katharevousa, Rumca, Ottoman, and Turkish, 3D renditions of objects, and interviews with descendants of immigrants from the former Ottoman Empire to the US. (We are awaiting the connection with the University of Florida's Digital Collection.)

2. The Map - An interactive map tracing migration from the Ottoman Empire to the US between 1904-1924. 

3. Researchers - Biographies of our research team. 

Feel free to browse!
Please like and share. Help us raise awareness about this important research. 


Fallen Greek Soldiers of World War II Reinterred in Albanian Military Cemetery

Fallen Greek Soldiers of World War II Reinterred in Albanian Military Cemetery

Published in The National Herald, October 27, 2018
I am excited that The National Herald has given Hellenic Genealogy Geek the right to reprint articles that may be of interest to our group. 
GJIROKASTER, ALBANIA - The remains of 573 Greek soldiers and officers who fought in the Greco-Italian War of 1940-1941 and died in Albania were reburied at the military cemetery of Dragoti on October 12.
The burial is part of a bilateral agreement calling for exhumation, identification, and re-interment at Albanian cemeteries of Greeks killed in the country.
The 573 were among nearly 700 who had been buried hastily during the Italian retreat after a battle at the straits of Kelcyre (Kleisoura, in Greek).  A search for the remains began there in January 2017, and the first 100 found were reburied at Bularat (Vouliarates) in July of this year.
At Dragoti cemetery, wher…

A Stitch in Time: Cyprus' Lefkaritiko Lace Faces Grim Future

A Stitch in Time:  Cyprus' Lefkaritiko Lace Faces Grim Future

Published in The National Herald, November 24, 2018
I am excited that The National Herald has given Hellenic Genealogy Geek the right to reprint articles that may be of interest to our group. 

LEFKARA, Cyprus (AP) — Legend has it that the intricate needlework used in embroidery known as 'Lefkaritiko lace' was of such high quality that Leonardo Da Vinci himself bought a tablecloth when he visited this mountainous village in the late 15th century and gifted it to Milan's cathedral. 
Local merchant Demosthenes Rouvis contends that the zig-zag pattern adorning the tablecloth on which Jesus Christ and his disciples dine in Da Vinci's masterpiece "The Last Supper" closely resembles those found on "Lefkaritiko" embroidery. 
But this centuries-old tradition is under threat now, falling prey to more modern trends — tourists with an eye f…

Huffington Post Interview with Gonda Van Steen - Greek Adoptions

Interview by Justin Frangoulis-Argyris, Journalist and Writer, with Gonda Van Steen.  Published in the Greek Huffington Post on October 3, 2018.

English translation


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

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

Image 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

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


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

"Five Christmas Tradition Unique to Greece" authored by Gabi Ancarola and published by the 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.


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

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.

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.

Archaeologists Have Possibly Found A Previously Unknown Ancient Greek Settlement In Crimea

The Realm of History website posted the following article on November 14, 2018

Archaeologists Have Possibly Found A Previously Unknown Ancient Greek Settlement In Crimea

Posted by Dattatreya Mandal

"Recent excavation-related exploits of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Archaeology have revealed some fascinating finds, like an ancient Greek fortress in Crimea and the first known Corinthian helmet north of Black Sea. This time around, the researchers have once again made the news, by potentially unearthing a previously unknown ancient Greek settlement in the eastern part of the Crimean peninsula. The discovery was revealed by Sergey Yefimov (to TASS), who is the Chairman of the State Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Crimea.

Now it should be noted that the excavation project is still in its nascent stage, with preliminary findings pointing to how the settlement was possibly communal in nature, occupying 5,000 sq m (or 53,800 sq ft) – roug…

1867 - Village of SKAMNAKI, Municipality of Malevriou, Region of Gythio, Greece - FREE Translation of 1867 General Election List

The digital collections of the Greek State Archives offer a wealth of information to those of us interested in Greek genealogy.  As part of their online collection is the "Election Material From the Collection of Vlachoyiannis" .  This includes "General Election Lists" for each Municipality; recorded by community (city, village, settlement, etc.).

You can view a scanned copy of each list, printed in the Greek language.  This is a GREAT resource, but very difficult to navigate for those who do not read Greek.  Each row includes:  Line # -  Given Name, Surname - Father's Name -  Age - Occupation.

I have translated these pages and made them available in both Greek and English, doing my best to transcribe the information accurately.  I would always recommend viewing the original scanned copies (link below).  

- To the best of my knowledge, these lists include all Males who were eligible to vote in the elections.  

- Names are in alphabetical order by Given name (First …