A Brief History of the Balteas Family from Stavropigi of
Exo Mani and Messinia, to Varousi in Lakonia

By Aris Poulimenakos, genealogist, and Nikos Balteas

Foreward by Donald George McPhail, Editor of Mani: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Translation and notes by Mary Papoutsy

The original article appeared in Greek in the May-June issue
(Volume 10) of the magazine Mani: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. 
Posted to HCS with permission of the editor.

Continued from Page One

Thus, from the document of 1809 we deduce that "Balteas" wasn't formed straightaway with the ending "-eas," as were other chiefly patronymic surnames like, for instance, "Vasil-eas," but had continued to exist with the older Maniot ending "-akis" as "Baltakis." At any rate, it had existed up until 1809. That is to say, it had existed up until the time when we found it recorded by an educated person of that era who was a descendant of that same genealogical line.

In entries following the [first appearance of this] surname, entries that we found dated 1844, 1848, 1849, 1851, [and] 1877 (see corresponding Fig. 3 and Fig. 5)4, the surname was again recorded as Balteas.

One could easily conjecture that the surname could derive from "balta," that is, the well-known, large axe of the woodcutter. Another alternative for the etymology of the surname Balteas comes from a manuscript with the date 15 June 1850. This manuscript was found in the course of research at the National General Archives. It was written at Platza, the capital at that time of the former Dimos [Municipality] Lefktrou of Lakonia, a country town very close to Varousi. This manuscript mentioned the imminent parliamentary elections of 1850. The author(s) and signatories were wishing for uninfluenced and free elections and a ballot-box not located at Limeni "which possessed a lair and refuge for animals!"

Figs. 3 and 4 (left and right, respectively)

In the middle of one page of signatures (Fig. 4), depicted above right, we note the following names: Anagnostis balteas (1st), p. balteas (2nd), G. palteas (3rd), Dimitrios balteas (4th), and Georgios balteas (5th).

The five signatures are similar in spelling, but the middle one, the third, has a very obvious difference from the remaining ones. Instead of "Balteas" [Μπαλτεας], the surname is written "Palteas" [Παλτεας]. This Palteas we encounter another time as a surname on a notarized marriage contract at Kalamata, with the date 18 November 1893 (see Fig. 5). The individual carried the Palteas surname at that time, reporting as "Anagnostis Palteas," in other words, [essentially] the [same name as the] first signatory of the [autograph in the list] above. We should note here that the signatory, "G. Palteas," is the father of "Anagnostis Palteas."

Fig. 5

As to the surname Palteas, especially of 1893, one could hypothesize that it was the result of a declension5 prior to Katharevousa6 of the particular notary who wrote it. The substitution of a "b" [μπ] for a "v" [β] or a "p" [π] has been a known [linguistic] custom [throughout Greek history]. More probable, however, especially in the document of 1850 with the autographs of the signatories, is that Palteas is correct and older than Balteas [based upon the above-mentioned linguistic custom].

4In the original essay, apparently, the authors cited 6 documents here which were not reproduced in the magazine. As a result, we are unable to furnish these images for HCS readers.

5The author refers to a grammatical form for nouns, including proper nouns. Greek is a highly inflected language, with morphological changes in nouns, adjectives, and verbal forms.

6 Katharevousa is a more formal, puristic form of Greek common in 19th and early 20th century documents. Grammatical rules and structure are more complex than the more modern Dimotika, making Katharevousa more closely related to Ancient Greek.