Any journey of discovery must begin with an understanding of the basics. Why did a country, rooted in antiquity, not become a free nation until 1830? Why do our Hellenic grandparents have long, complex surnames? If a record from a village is needed, where can it be found? These questions, and many more, are answered in this section of the Guide. It provides a foundation to understand the ethos of the Greek people, the structure of their society, and the composition of their—our ancestors’–lives.