Searching for Our Roots: Interview With an Expert of Greek Genealogy

More and more people from Greek Communities around the world are becoming increasingly interested in finding ways to explore their past, so that they will eventually be able to find their roots and their ancestors who left Greece to start a completely new life in the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK or elsewhere.

What was the main reason they left Greece? Was it war? Poverty? The hope of a better life? What were the living conditions in their villages back in late 1800’s and early 1900’s?

These are some of the questions the Hellenic Genealogy Conferences try to give answers to.

Greek Reporter spoke with Carol Kostakos Petranek, who is the Manager of the Hellenic Genealogy Conferences, to find out more about this event.

Carol Kostakos Petranek, the Manager of the Hellenic Genealogy Conferences

“The main objective of the Hellenic Genealogy Conferences is to teach people who are interested in their genealogy on how to achieve their goal through the data and archives available both in their country of residence as well as in Greece,” Ms Kostakos Petranek explained.

“Sometimes, even knowing the original Family name isn’t an easy task, that’s why people need to start their search in registries of the United States before starting their research in the Greek Archives. Pappas or Poulos, for example, are not original names in most of the cases, but Anglicized versions of larger ones, as Papadopoulos, Pappapetrou etc.” Ms Kostakos Petranek said, adding:

“As soon as someone is aware of his or her family surname and the village or town of their origin, they are ready to find their roots back in Greece.”

So, why should someone go to one of these Conferences?

Ms Kostakos Petranek is clear: Finding your roots, especially when we talk about families who live in the United States for more than a hundred years, is not an easy task. You need to know how to start, where to search and what procedures to follow. People may even need to take some lessons of the Greek language, or get some help on how to write a letter to the local Greek Authorities of their area of origin.

“This is exactly what we try to do in the Hellenic Genealogy Conferences. Help people get the basic knowledge and tools they might need in the long and interesting journey of finding their roots.”

In addition to the Conferences that take place occasionally in different parts of the United States and around the world, people can find valuable information regarding Greek Genealogy in the blog-spot that was created for this reason, a Facebook page, a special wiki page and a free online book.

Details about the upcoming event in Philadelphia on Saturday October 13, can be found here.