Showing posts from February, 2015

Apotropaic Devices in Greek Wedding Rituals

In October 1987 the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora printed an article by George Pilitsis titled "Apotropaic and Other Magic Devices in Greek Wedding Rituals."
Reading the article brought back memories of stories about my mother's Thea Petrakina.  She was my maternal grandmother's "go to" person for all issues regarding the evil eye. 
Excerpt from article:
In Greece, the belief in the evil eye appears to be fairly consistent and uniform, and is often associated with envy, gossip, and magic.  While anyone, young or old, male or female, ugly or beautiful, may invite or provoke envy and thus become a victim of the evil eye, gossip, and aggressive magic, it is usually the fortunate, the prosperous, and those in a period of transition in life that run the greatest risk of falling prey to its effects.  These include young children; mothers at the time of childbirth and until their purification, forty days after the birth; and young people during the time of courtsh…

Vorres Folk Art Museum (Pyrgi), Paiania, Attiki, Greece

The Vorres Folk Art Museum, known as Pyrgi, created by Ian Vorres, is justly considered today as an essential unit of Greece's traditional folk art institutions.

. . . . Surveying the gardens and the interior spaces of the Museum complex, joined into a well-conceived aesthetic and impressive whole, and viewing the various categories of categories of exhibits, many quite unique, (like the best collection in Greece of the so-called "syriana" ceramics coming from the island of Syros, a special study of which is now being completed), the visitor is immediately taken by the sensitivity and refined eye of the collector and the scope of his achievement which aims at revealing the rich facets of Hellenism.

Original in concept and of particular interest are the many groups of traditional and historic exhibits made of various materials, such as millstones, decorative marble insignia, stone troughs, well-heads, carved fountains, Aegean lintels, hand wrought iron grills, candle holder…

Nativism in Nevada: Greek Immigrants in White Pine County

Published in the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 24, no. 1 (1998); 61-95
This study of the experiences of Greek immigrants and their children in White Pine County, Nevada, contributes to our knowledge of both the recurring phenomenon of American nativism and the rapid, by world standards, assimilation of European groups initially victimized by it.  Greek immigrants were, at the beginning of this century, "the dominant labor force in the mines, mills and smelters of White Pine Country, Nevada, and Salt Lake County, Utah."  In 1910, for example, Greek immigrant workers (from 1500 to 1600 persons, virtually all men) composed 5.8% of the population of Nevada and 10% of the population of White Pine County.  The Greeks knew little English and, coming as they did from an agricultural society, lacked the training required for more skilled positions in an industrial economy.  However, like the Italians and S…

1904 - A Notable Year for Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral, New York City

The January 2015 issue of the Orthodox Observer, page 18, included an article titled:


by William H. Samonides, Ph.D.

1904 was a momentous year.  Internationally, the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War in the Pacific hastened the collapse of the Russian empire, imperiling the lives of tens of millions of Orthodox Christians.  Nationally, the World's Fair and the third modern Olympic games in St. Louis preceded the election of President Theodore Roosevelt.

In New York, the modern city was taking shape:  construction began on Grand Central Station, and the first underground stretch of the subway went into operation.  There were also major developments at Holy Trinity, the first Greek Orthodox parish established in New York.

In April 1904, the Holy Trinity parishioners purchased their first building, and later that year a new priest, 40-year-old Fr. Methodios Kourkoulis (1864-1941), arrived from Greece.

Both developments broug…

The Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments (aka Museum of Greek Folk Instruments) - Athens, Greece

This looks so interesting, I will definitely put it on my list of places to visit the next time I am in Athens.

The Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments (aka Museum of Greek Folk Instruments)
Phoebus Anayanakis
Center for Ethnomusicology
Diogenous 1-3, Plaka, 105 56 Athens, Greece
Open to the Public

The Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments - Center for Ethnomusicology inaugurated on June 6, 1991, and is a public entity supervised by the Ministry of Culture.

It is based on a collection of 1200 Greek folk musical instruments from the 18th century to the present day, . . . donated in 1978 by Phoebus Anayanakis.

Village of SCHOINOCHORI, Municipality of Mykinon, Region of Argos, Greece - FREE Translation of 1875 Genera 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 n…

Hellenic American Genealogy Radio Special - Hellenic Public Radio - Cosmos FM 91.5

Hellenic American Genealogy Saturday, February 21st, Afternoon Radio Special 1:15 - 2:00 p.m. EST
Hellenic Public Radio - Cosmos FM 91.5
Hosted by the Very Rev. Eugene N. Pappas with guests 
Professor Louis Katsos Education and Culture Committee of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce
George D. Tselos Supervisory Archivist and Head of Reference Services at the  Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island
Everyone will have the opportunity to listen to the live broadcase online on the  Hellenic Public Radio Cosmos FM 91.5 website

700 born in Greece - California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953

Image has a FREE database titled CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO PASSENGER LISTS, 1893-1953 that has 700 people listed as being born in Greece.
This collection consists of lists of those arriving in San Francisco, California. It corresponds to NARA Publication M1410: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, CA, for the years 1893 to 1953.
Passenger lists generally included the following information: Name of shipPort of embarkationDate and seaport of entryFinal destinationWhether or not ticket to final destinationName of passengerBirth placeAge in years and monthsGenderCivil statusOccupationWhether or not can read and writeNationalityLast permanent residenceDestinationWho paid for passageDeclaration of money in possessionWhether or not has been in U. S. beforeWhether or not passenger has been in prisonWhether or not passenger is a polygamistName and address of relative or friend passenger plans to joinWhether or not under contract to labor…

Greek Folk Art Museum Receives Rare Donation from Canada

Greek Folk Art Museum Receives Rare Donation from Canada

by Ioanna Zikakou - published by the Greek Reporter - Canada, February 13, 2015

In a reception organized by the Consulate General of Greece in Vancouver and the Greek community of Victoria, a unique collection of Greek traditional costumes was donated to the Greek Folk Art Museum.

The Consul General of Greece in Vancouver, Ilias Kremmydas, received the collection for the Folk Art Museum and Greek Popular Musical Instruments. The collection was donated by Elizabeth Gage, who had inherited it from her aunt Winifred Dowding. According to Gage, her aunt acquired the rich collection when she served as a nurse in Greece during World War I. 

- See more at:

Education in Greece - 1883 Pamphlet published by U.S. Government Printing Office


by Professor Pio, of Denmark, in a recent number of the Hamburger Korrespondenz.

Reprinted by the United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education, and Commissioner James Eaton. - Government Printing Office, 1883

A great stumbling block to learning is said to be the use of modern Greek in conversation and ancient Greek in official and social correspondence.  Even adults find that this creates a difficulty, and for children it is especially hard to overcome.  Compulsory education for children between 5 and 12 years of age is a feature of the law since 1834.  Yet even the fine of 50 francs for any infringement of the law has no material effect, and it practically remains a dead letter on the statute books.  The people will not pay the fine, so the officials forget to enforce the penalty.  Certain studies are required by law, but theory and practice seem to differ.  The law specifies the following subjects for common schools:  The catechism, elementary Gree…

2,624 born in Greece - West Virginia Naturalization Records, 1814-1991

Image has a FREE database titled WEST VIRGINIA NATURALIZATION RECORDS,1814-1991 which includes 2,624 people showing Greece as their place of birth.

You will be able to view original documents online.


The collection consists of a variety of naturalization records for 32 of 55 West Virginia counties. The records cover the years 1814 to 1991. Records include the following: Declarations of intentionPetitionsOaths of allegianceCertificates of naturalizationRegisters of naturalizations granted and/or deniedCard files of naturalizationNaturalization ordersLists of naturalized citizensNaturalization docketsThe following chart lists the counties included in the collection. BarbourHancockMineralRandolphBerkeleyHardyMingoRoaneBrookeHarrisonMonongaliaSummersClayLewisNicholasTuckerFayetteLoganOhioUpshurGilmerMarionPocahontas

2,075 born in Greece - New England Petitions for Naturalization Index (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

Image has a FREE database titled UNITED STATES, NEW ENGLAND PETITIONS FOR NATURALIZATION INDEX, 1791-1906 which has 2,075 index cards for people born in Greece.  

The collection consists of naturalization documents filed in the National Archives Northeast Region (NARA ARC Identifier 4752894) which includes: MaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode IslandVermontThe majority of the records cover the date range of 1787-1906 but there are a few pages of outlying records from 1921, 1923, and 1932. The index consists of 3x5 inch cards arranged by state then by Soundex coded names of petitioners.  RECORD CONTENT The index cards usually contain the following: Name of immigrantPlace of residence