Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life Story of Greek Peddler born 1866

I just found an interesting short autobiography “THE LIFE STORY OF A GREEK PEDDLER – contributed by a Spartan now living in a suburb near New York City”.

This story was published in 1906 as Chapter IV (pages 63-79) in a book titled “The Stories of undistinguished Americans as told by themselves”, which was developed from a series of articles previously published in theIndependent. This is made available to you through the Harvard University Library online.

The person telling this story is unnamed. He was born about 1866 “in a little hamlet among the mountains of Laconia in Greece. There were only about 200 people in this place, and they lived in stone huts or cottages…..”
He gives a description of homes, how they made butter, wine, ground wheat and oats, and made clothing, farming, no need for currency, schooling, saint’s days and other holiday traditions, politics, superstition, the trip to the United States, the push cart business, and more.

This is an interesting read, I would suggest it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Citing Those Christmas Cards, Holiday E-Mails, and Family Photos

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Now that the holidays are nearly over, I can try to catch up on some of my posts and website updates. Here’s a post that just came from the blogger at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors – “Citing Those Christmas Cards, Holiday E-mails, and Family Photos”.

This article is great for reminding us, once again, to check our Christmas Cards and Emails for family news and photographs. Then, how to cite them correctly in our genealogy software.

Good luck with your Greek genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yiayia Saved Christmas Cards from Greece

My yiayia saved most of the correspondence that she received from Greece. This is a Christmas post card that I believe was received sometime in the 1960’s. Don’t overlook this type of treasure – someone in your family might be the one that keeps all this old “stuff”. Luckily my mother and father were not the type to throw these out. This is another great source of information – Who sent it? Do they mention any other family members? What address was it sent from? The handwriting might be hard to decipher, but sit down with your Greek-English dictionary and the Greek handwriting samples on HellenicGenealogyGeek.com – give it a try.

Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Greek Christmas Elves - Kalikantzari


It’s the Christmas season so I thought you all would be interested in this excerpt from “The Greek News Agenda” online bulletin.

“Christmas Elves”

Kalikantzari are little creatures that live deep down inside the earth and together with the legends of Greece, play an important part in the customs and traditions of this holiday.

From Christmas until the Feast of the Epiphany, residents in Epirus place twelve spindles in front of the fireplace so that the kalikantzari see them and do not climb down the chimney.

On Christmas Eve, in the town of Grevena, the followers place a large log in the corner of the house and set it alight.

As the fire burns, lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, it protects the family from the kalikantzari.

Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two New Links for Greek Surnames

Here are two new links to websites dealing with Greek surnames and given names:

Greek Surnames – includes last name origins and meanings

Greek Names – includes names in English and Greek, sound of name, male and female versions, origin of names, and nicknames

Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

List of 693 Greece Born Died During Deportation WWII

I recently had the blogger at “Abravanel – Jewish life and not only in Greece” forward me this link to a list of 693 people born in Greece who died during deportation from France during World War II.

Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.
Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

History of Greek Surnames


The blog “Greek Surnames” is all about analyzing the history of words and Greek names. I have had a link to this blog on my HellenicGenealogyGeek.com website for quite awhile, but I think it is worth revisiting. The page is posted in the Greek language, however you can use the Google translator in the right hand column to translate into English or another language of choice.

They claim to have analyzed 3,500 Greek surnames to-date. The latest posting includes:








Stentor (Stentoras)



Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


A resource for Greek genealogy research

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greek Surnames - Searching Indexes

Greek Surnames

Do you have Greek ancestors who migrated to the United States or Canada but you can’t find them on any of the passenger ship indexes? Do you think you have tried all the alternate spellings when doing your searches?

I ran across two great charts that have been put together by Familysearch.org

Spelling Substitution Tables for the United States and Canada

Commonly Misread Letters Table – this table shows how indexers and transcribers sometimes misread handwriting. When reading the chart you will see two columns – “Intended” (shows the actual spelling) – “Common Mistakes” (shows what the indexer or transcriber sometimes thought he or she saw)

Phonetic Substitutes Table – The creator of the record sometimes misspelled the name in the original record because he or she misunderstood what the informant said. This happened very often when the informant came from another country (in our case, Greece). Also, many people were illiterate and did not know how to spell their names. The creator of the record spelled the name the way he or she thought it should be spelled. This table shows two columns – “Original letters” (for Greeks you might want to also think about “sounds like”) – the second column is “Letters Which Might Be Substituted for the Original”.

I am going to print these charts and keep them available for when I am doing my personal family searches.

Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research.

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkish Destruction of Greek Community of Istanbul 1955

The Mechanism of Catastrophe - Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, Destruction of Greek Community of Istanbul

By Speros Vryonis, Jr.

Published in 2005 by Greekworks.com – New York


This book mentions 785 different people of Greek descent – too many to include in this blog posting – but you can view them on the HellenicGenealogyGeek.com website page for this book “The Mechanism of Catastrophe”.

You can view the following on the page below:

Table of Contents

Synopsis from the dust jacket


As usual, I hope some of you can find this information useful. Good luck with your Greek family genealogy research. Don’t forget you can work with your local librarian to get a copy of this book through inter-library loan, purchase a brand new copy through the publisher’s website at Greekworks.com, or purchase a used copy through a place like http://abebooks.com

Georgia Keilman nee Stryker (Stratigakos)




List of Illustrations – 90 photographs

Prefatory Dedication, Acknowledgments

Prologue – A Personal Chronicle

Introduction – The Greeks of Istanbul on the Eve of September 6, 1955

Background and Institutions of the Pogrom

The Pogrom

Moral and Material Damages, and the Economics and Politics of Compensation

From Papagos to Karamanles (the Economics and Politics of Compensation continued)

The Attack on the Greek Orthodox Church

Crime and Punishment, and the Trial of the Menderes Government


Appendixes, Bibliography, Index



“On the night of September 6-7, 1955, the Greek community of Istanbul was violently struck throughout the expanse of Turkey’s most important metropolis. Within hours, businesses, homes, and even the churches of the Greeks were in ruins, with the British press calculating the damage of £100 million. It was the beginning of the end for the ethnic descendants of the city’s founders, who had settled this eastern tip of Europe two and a half millennia earlier.

This vicious and unprovoked attack quickly became entangled in the Cold War politics of the time, and the truth of it was just as quickly suppressed. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the mass destruction, Speros Vryonis has painstakingly reconstructed the events of that night in his magisterial work, The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul.

This monumental study of a decisive moment in modern Turkish and Greek history is the first work of its depth ad range to be published on this critical subject in any language. It has been lauded even before publication as “a magnum opus,” “original and significant,” and a “brilliant book.” Surely, it will soon take its place as the definitive study of the violence it so meticulously describes and examines.

The volume includes an extensive section with remarkable photographs of the attacks by Demetrios Kaloumenos. This extraordinary visual documentation lends additional weights to the archival testimony presented y Speros Vryonis, and to his historical analysis of the pogrom, its aftermath, and its broader consequences.”