Greek Ancestry’s Year in Review

Greek Ancestry was founded in January 2020 and will be celebrating its one-year anniversary soon with an International Greek Ancestry Conference scheduled for the end of January 2021. Of course, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone. However, our passion for our Greek heritage and family history has kept us motivated and prolific! Throughout the year, Greek Ancestry ran multiple and various initiatives, which were warmly embraced by Greeks all around the world. Herein follows a brief overview of them. At the end of this article, you will be asked to vote for your favorite initiative and also for your region of interest. By doing so, you’ll help us to bring you exactly what you are looking for in the year to come! Your feedback matters! 

600,000 RECORDS RELEASED

On January 27th, 2020, Greek Ancestry made its debut with 100,000 Greek family records from Arcadia, Chania, Lakonia & Messinia. Subsequently, new records were added on a monthly basis, and, by December, Greek Ancestry’s collection had been enriched with over half a million additional records! Now, on Greek Ancestry you can find all kinds of records from all over Greece with a collection spanning from the very first years of the Greek State until some decades before today! The collection is free to search online by surname or village/town in both Greek and English; you can also sort results by first name, surname, place, year and type. If you find a record of interest, you can order it at the most reasonable price. What’s even better? In September, Greek Ancestry developed two ‘All Greece’ generic databases to help boost your research and facilitate the discovery of more branches of your family and/or tracing your unknown family origins!

We are especially proud of two of the collections we released this year: the city directories from all over Greece and the parish voter lists of Lakonia. Not only were these types of Greek genealogical records made available online for the very first time, but they also proved to be of great historical value!

Indeed, city directories, spanning from 1901 to 1947, provide researchers with information that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record. They allow for a closer look at our ancestors’ everyday lives, and they enable a reconstruction of entire neighborhoods and villages by telling us who lived where and what they did for a living! Additionally, Lakonian parish voter lists, spanning from 1912 to 1940, shed light on village life and families during a time period that was generally not covered by accessible genealogical records until now.

BUILDING CULTURE

Since Greek Ancestry’s founding, we have strongly believed that an educational background is imperative  if someone wishes to get the most out of his or her research and comprehend the past in a deeper way. At the same time, in order for this past and its remnants to be preserved, we believe that a specific archival and research culture is prerequisite. Thus, for these very reasons, multiple educational initiatives were launched by Greek Ancestry throughout the year, and they will undoubtedly continue in the year to come! In particular, Greek Ancestry and its founder, Gregory Kontos, hosted fourteen webinars and participated in four more. In addition, Greek Ancestry published about ten educational articles on its website and developed various special research tools. In June, “Yiayia & Me,” Greek Ancestry’s youth platform, was launched with the aim to encourage young people of Greek ancestry to reconnect with their family history and heritage. With the help of Greek Ancestry intern, Alexandra Kiritsy, numerous Yiayia & Me articles were published, and an Instagram account was established in order to increase social media exposure and attract younger generations. Last but certainly not least, throughout the year, Greek Ancestry offered dozens of online genealogy consultations to Greeks all around the world! Needless to say, all of these educational activities and initiatives were provided for free for everyone interested, helping to spread Greek family history knowledge and culture wherever Hellenism thrives!

Now, it’s time for you to vote!