Thursday, February 26, 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 courtship and, especially, at the time of their wedding.  According to popular belief, the physical harm caused by the evil eye and aggressive magic can range from illness to death.  A person afflicted with it may experience symptoms ranging from severe headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and sleepiness, to irritation or depression.  Moreover, misfortunes in one's life, such as loss of wealth or employment, destruction of property, or wrecked marriage, are often attributed to the malevolent power of the evil eye and magic.

Marriage is a time when tension and anxiety run high.  This is a period in the life cycle which presents the greatest danger and thus is a time when the individual feels exposed to great risks emanating from the world of magic and the supernatural. . . . . 

(This article is limited to). .  discussing the apotropaic function of a number of customs and rites observed in various parts of Greece before and during the wedding ceremony.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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 holders, wooden wine presses, Aegean chests and trunks richly ornamented, agricultural utensils, heavy Macedonian oak doors studded with hand-made iron nails, Greek island furniture and a great variety of paintings and engravings featuring important historic events.  Also featured is a variety of earthenware from all parts of Greece, including large pots to store olive oil and wheat known as "kioupia", a multitude of hand-woven curtains, seat covers and carpets, as well as a rare selection of Greek-Roman glass vessels.  Many of these objects are shown as practical items for home living like millstones used as tables or horse troughs as vases filled with dried flowers. . . . 

To read more and view other photographs visit

Nativism in Nevada: Greek Immigrants in White Pine County

by E.D. Karampetsos

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 Slavs, who arrived about the same time, the Greeks willingly did the menial tasks native-born Americans disdained.  They did the most dangerous jobs, were housed, twelve to sixteen in tents, and received the lowest wages possible for their efforts.  As the largest body of foreigners in the county, the Greeks were the focal point of an almost intractable nativistic racism.  America has long despised, feared and exploited its immigrant workers - as it did the Greeks - who contributed so much to its wealth.  The Greeks were constantly harassed by . . . 

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE - Digital copy available through the TRICERATOPS - TriCollege Digital Repository (Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore Libraries) -

Monday, February 23, 2015

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 brought stability to a community sorely in need of it.  The fledgling parish, established in 1892, was not the majestic Archdiocesan Cathedral of today.  During the first dozen years of its existence, Holy Trinity rented three spaces and was served by 10 priests.

at the time, establishing a Greek Orthodox parish in America was not easy, but maintaining one proved an even greater challenge, even in the city with the largest Greek immigrant population in the Western Hemisphere. . . . . 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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 name), many times recorded as an abbreviaton.  Example:  Panag = Panagiotis.

- Since the names are in order by Given name you will have to look at the entire community to find multiple members of the family in the same village.  Many times a father is still alive and you will be able to find him in these electoral lists.  This can help advance you family history research back to the early 1800's.  Example:  Year of Election List is 1872.  Father's age is 65.  Birth year would be calculated as 1807.

If you wish to share any of the translated information, please give appropriate credit and reference Hellenic Genealogy Geek at along with my name (Georgia Stryker Keilman).  Thanks so much.

in the
Municipality of Mykinon

For your further reference, 
below is the Greek link to the online copies of the 
1875 Greek Electoral Rolls for this community

Line # - Surname - Given Name - Father's Name - Age - Occupation

762 - Αντωνιος Νικολιτζας - Μητρος - 49 - γεωργος

762 - Antonios Nikolitzas - Mitros - 49 - farmer


763 - Ανδριανος Τουντας - Ιωαννης - 58 - γεωργος

763 - Andrianos Toundas - Ioannis - 58 - farmer


764 - Αναστ. Σκληρης - Κωνσταντινος - 68 - γεωργος

764 - Anast. Skliris - Konstandinos - 68 - farmer


765 - Αθαν. Παναγοπουλος - _____ - 58 - γεωργος

765 - Athan. Panagopoulos - _____ - 58 - farmer


766 - Ανδριαν. Σκλαβουνος - 55 - γεωργος

766 - Andrian. Sklavounos - 55 - farmer


767 - Βασιλειος Σκλαβουνος - Γεωργιος - 38 - γεωργος

767 - Vasileios Sklavounos - Georgios - 38 - farmer


768 - Γεωρ. Νικολιτζας - Κωνσταντινος - 35 - γεωργος

768 - Geor. Nikolitzas - Konstandinos - 35 - farmer


769 - Γεωρ. Σκλαβουνος - Ανδριανος - 28 - γεωργος

769 - Geor. Sklavounos - Andrianos - 28 - farmer


770 - Γεωρ. Σκλαβουνος - Σταυρος - 31 - γεωργος

770 - Geor. Sklavounos - Stavros - 31 - farmer


771 - Γεωρ. Ντεβες - Σωτηριος - 33 - γεωργος

771 - Geor. Deves - Sotirios - 33 - farmer


772 - Γεωρ. Ντεβες - Ιωαννης - 28 - γεωργος

772 - Geor. Deves - Ioannis - 28 - farmer


773 - Γεωρ. Καπετανιος - Παναγιωτης - 33 - γεωργος

773 - Geor. Kapetanios - Panagiotis - 33 - farmer


774 - Γεωρ. Σπανος - Ιωαννης - 31 - γεωργος

774 - Geor. Spanos - Ioannis - 31 - farmer


775 - Δημ. Ντεβες - Αναστασιος - 28 - γεωργος

775 - Dim. Deves - Anastasios - 28 - farmer


776 - Δημ. Μπουρης - Γεωργιος - 32 - γεωργος

776 - Dim. Bouris - Georgios - 32 - farmer


777 - Δημ. Μπουτσελης - Αναστασιος - 68 - γεωργος

777 - Dim. Boutselis - Anastasios - 68 - farmer


778 - Δημ. Παππαδοπουλος - Ιωαννης - 42 - γεωργος

778 - Dim. Pappadopoulos - Ioannis - 42 - farmer


779 - Δημ. Σκλαβουνος - Σταυρος - 41 - γεωργος

779 - Dim. Sklavounos - Stavros - 41 - farmer


780 - Δημ. Μπουρης - Νικολαος - 28 - γεωργος

780 - Dim. Bouris - Nikolaos - 28 - farmer


781 - Δημ. Καπετανιος - Παναγιωτης - 29 - γεωργος

781 - Dim. Kapetanios - Panagiotis - 29 - farmer


782 - Δημ. Σκλαβουνος - Γεωργιος - 27 - γεωργος

782 - Dim. Sklavounos - Georgios - 27 - farmer


783 - Δημ. Μπουφας - Παναγιωτης - 24 - γεωργος

783 - Dim. Boufas - Panagiotis - 24 - farmer


784 - Ιωαννης Φλιννος - Αναστασιος - 30 - γεωργος

784 - Ioannis Flinnos - Anastasios - 30 - farmer


785 - Ιω. Ντεβες - Σωτηριος - 39 - γεωργος

785 - Io. Deves - Sotirios - 39 - farmer


786 - Ιω. Σκλαβουνος - Κωνσταντινος - 65 - γεωργος

786 - Io. Sklavounos - Konstantinos - 65 - farmer 


787 - Ιω. Μπουλουκος - Νικολαος - 25 - γεωργος

787 - Io. Bouloukos - Nikolaos - 25 - farmer


788 - Ιω. Ντεβες - Αθανασιος - 61 - γεωργος

788 - Io. Deves - Athanasios - 61 - farmer


789 - Ιω. Σκληρης - Αναστασιος - 38 - γεωργος

789 - Io. Skliris - Anastasios - 38 - farmer


790 - Θεοφανης Βλογιαρης - _____ - 40 - γεωργος

790 - Theofanis Vlogiaris - _____ - 40 - farmer


791 - Θεοδ. Σκλαβουνος - Ιωαννης - 25 - γεωργος

791 - Theod. Sklavounos - Ioannis - 25 - farmer


792 - Κωνστ. Σκληρης - Αναστασιος - 24 - γεωργος

792 - Konst. Skliris - Anastasios - 24 - farmer


793 - Νικολαος Φλινος - Αναστασιος - 33 - γεωργος

793 - Nikolaos Flinos - Anastasios - 33 - farmer


794 - Νιλ. Νικολιτζας - Μητρος - 37 - γεωργος

794 - Nil. Nikolitzas - Mitros - 37 - farmer


795 - Νικ. Νικολιτζας - Κωνσταντινος - 40 - γεωργος

795 - Nik. Nikolitzas - Konstandinos - 40 - farmer


796 - Νικ. Μπουρης - _____ - 55 - γεωργος

796 - Nik. Bouris - _____ - 55 - farmer


797 - Νικ. Μπουρης - Παναγιωτης - 24 - γεωργος

797 - Nik. Bouris - Panagiotis - 24 - farmer


798 - Νικ. Ντεβες - Ιωαννης - 28 - γεωργος

798 - Nik. Deves - Ioannis - 28 - farmer


799 - Παναγ. Μπουρης - Ιωαννης - 50 - γεωργος

799 - Panag. Bouris - Ioannis - 50 - farmer


800 - Παναγης Νικολιτζας - Κωνσταντινος - 35 - γεωργος

800 - Panagis Nikolitzas - Konstandinos - 35 - farmer


801 - Παναγ. Μπουφας - Αναστασιος - 51 - γεωργος

801 - Panag. Boufas - Anastasios - 51 - farmer


802 - Παναγ. Σκλαβουνος - Γεωργιος - 30 - γεωργος

802 - Panag. Sklavounos - Georgios - 30 - farmer


803 - Παναγ. Καπετανος - _____ - 68 - γεωργος

803 - Panag. Kapetanos - _____ - 68 - farmer


804 - Σωτηρος Ντεβες - Ιωαννης - 26 - γεωργος

804 - Sotiros Deves - Ioannis - 26 - farmer


805 - Σωτηρος Ντεβες - Δημητριος - 70 - γεωργος

805 - Sotiros Deves - Dimitrios - 70 - farmer


806 - Σταυρος Σκλαβουνος - Κωνσταντινος - 68 - γεωργος

806 - Stavros Sklavounos - Konstandinos - 68 - farmer


807 - Χρηστος Ντεβες - Αναστασιος - 48 - γεωργος

807 - Christos Deves - Anastasios - 48 - farmer


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

Monday, February 16, 2015

700 born in Greece - California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953 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 ship
  • Port of embarkation
  • Date and seaport of entry
  • Final destination
  • Whether or not ticket to final destination
  • Name of passenger
  • Birth place
  • Age in years and months
  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Occupation
  • Whether or not can read and write
  • Nationality
  • Last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Who paid for passage
  • Declaration of money in possession
  • Whether or not has been in U. S. before
  • Whether or not passenger has been in prison
  • Whether or not passenger is a polygamist
  • Name and address of relative or friend passenger plans to join
  • Whether or not under contract to labor
  • General condition and statement of health
  • Description of passenger

Saturday, February 14, 2015

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:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

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 Greek, writing, arithmetic, weights and measures, linear drawing, singing, and, "when convenient," the elements of geography, history of the country, and the elementary training most needed in natural sciences; for boys there are these additional branches:  gymnastics, practical agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture, beekeeping, and silk culture; for girls, practical instruction in handiwork.  In reality no instruction is given in gymnastics, at least the writer of this article has seen nothing of the kind, either in the common or higher schools.  In the district schools many of the above mentioned branches are taughts; in the village schools the limit is reading and writing (not very correct chirography, either), and the fundamental rules of arithmetic in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  After 1834 many of the schools were subdivided into schools for girls and schools for boys, yet many mixed schools existed.  As the years went on the people revolted against the coeducation of the sexes, so that, by law of 1852, a separation took place and a philanthropic society took charge of education of girls.  In Greece, the connecting link between the common (elementary), middle (Hellenic), and higher schools (gymnasia) is an established fact.  In the Hellenic schools, which are similar in grade to the lower Gymnasien of Germany, instruction is given in ancient Greek, biblical history, ancient Greek history, with short exercises in more modern history, in geography, arithmetic, and geometry.  French is taught from the second school year, while pupils fitting for the gymnasium take up Latin from the third year.  The course of study in the gymnasium includes reading from Greek authors, with grammatical instruction (12 hours a week), Latin (4 hours a week), French, history, algebral, geometry, trigonometry, and mathemmatical geography; also, natural history, physics, psychology, logic, and religious instruction.  According to the school law of 1836 German, drawing, painting, amd music are also to be taught, but they do not enter into the course.  In theory the Hellenic (middle) schools require a good deal of their pupils, but, on account of the scarcity of scholars, this course of study is rarely carried out.  In a gymnasium the pupils are expected to be very thorough, and the requirements are considerable, but the lack here is in the culture of the teaching force.  Tuition fees are the order of the day in the lower grades, but instruction is free in the middle and higher schools.  In the matter of punishment a very humane course is pursued, the law forbidding corporal punishment.  Unfortunately this phase of law does not seem to be appreciated by the school children, for they are reported as lacking greatly in discipline.  According to official statements the illiteracy among the people, estimated on the basis of those supposed to attend the lower public schools, is as follows:  In the district of Thebes, as in the Peloponnesus, the percentage of population regarded as illiterate is 90 to 95 percent; in other districts, 75 to 90 percent; and where more favorable reports are received - as in Attica - 55 to 60 percent, can neither read nor write.  The contrast in the education of the sexes is quite noticeable.  For instance, in Attica and Ithaca, where more than half of the men have some education, there are few districts in which more than 30 percent of the women are educated, while often only 1 to 2 percent have been instructed.  As an offset to the statements of a lack of education mentioned above, reports indicate that private schools are flourishing.  The philanthropic society associated in the work of providing a suitable education for girls developed many private institutions.  These are laying a foundation for a higher order of culture than is found elsewhere.

2,624 born in Greece - West Virginia Naturalization Records, 1814-1991 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 intention
  • Petitions
  • Oaths of allegiance
  • Certificates of naturalization
  • Registers of naturalizations granted and/or denied
  • Card files of naturalization
  • Naturalization orders
  • Lists of naturalized citizens
  • Naturalization dockets
The following chart lists the counties included in the collection.

The following information is usually found in naturalization records:
  • Name
  • Age
  • Year of immigration
  • Native country
  • Birth place
  • Birth date

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2,075 born in Greece - New England Petitions for Naturalization Index (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) 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:
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
The 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. 
The index cards usually contain the following:
  • Name of immigrant
  • Place of residence
  • Title and location of court granting certificate of naturalization
  • Volume and page number where certificate is recorded
  • Country of birth
  • Age or birth date
  • Date of arrival and U. S. port of entry
  • Names and address of witnesses
Declaration of Intent and Naturalization Petitions usually included the following:
  • Name of the immigrant
  • Country of birth
  • Arrival date
  • Date of Declaration of Intent or Naturalization
  • Names of witnesses
  • Signature of judge or court official
In post-1906 records, you may also find:
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Race
  • Last foreign residence
  • Current residence
  • Arrival place
  • Marital status
  • Name of spouse
  • Maiden name of wife
  • Birth date of spouse
  • Residence of spouse