Aris Poulimenakos Makes a Science Out of
Genealogical Research in Greece

(HCS) Although persons of Greek descent abroad--outside of Greece, that is--have shown a marked increase in genealogical interest, until recently there were no full-time professional genealogical researchers available in Greece to conduct serious investigations for them. A growing wave of interest in searching for family origins among Greeks in Greece has changed all that. And Aris Poulimenakos is at the forefront of this emerging profession.

This tall, dark-haired researcher, who was trained at the university in civil engineering, has aimed his scientific skills at solving genealogical enigmata. And with great success. Attention to detail and methodical reconstruction of family ties based upon solid documentary evidence,characterize the work of this researcher. Aris has charted thousands of family trees, from small saplings to gigantic forests. His work has taken him across the entire country and around the globe via the Internet. The results are impressive.

Poulimenakos recently met with Mary Papoutsy, head of the Hellenic Historical and Genealogical Association in the United States, to discuss his work and the status of genealogical research in Greece. Although genealogy had been a lifelong passion for him, he made the decision a few years ago to devote himself to it entirely. He conducted his first investigations while still a student at the university, ferreting out details of his own family origins in Mani (southern section of the province of Laconia in the Peloponnese). During subsequent years he continued to search out family names for others, eventually turning this pastime into a career, as word of mouth spread about his work. As he traveled about, seeking information from governmental and ecclesiastical clerks, they became acquainted with him and permitted him greater access to fragile ledgers and restricted archives.

In fact, he spends so much time reading early Greek handwriting, that professors from the university, who themselves are unable to decode this antique script easily, refer researchers to him for assistance in deciphering manuscripts. Daily contact with writings from the early Hellenic Republic make him one of the top specialists in Greek orthography. But this is a skill necessary for his neophyte profession, for no name appears on one of his genealogical charts unless he finds it on an official document or manuscript--in the original handwriting of the clerk--and it can be substantiated by supporting data from multiple sources.

The results of one of his investigations on the Balteas family of Exo-Mani (Outer Mani) have been chronicled in the Greek-language magazine Mani: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow ("A Brief History of the Balteas Family from Stavropigi of Exo Mani and Messinia, to Varousi in Lakonia," May-June 2003, pages 22-27). Permission has been granted to HCS by the publishers to reproduce this article and its accompanying chart; HCS has translated it into English for the convenience of viewers.

Persons interested in contacting Mr. Poulimenakos directly may do so via email at or by postal mail correspondence at the following address:

Mr. Aris Poulimenakos
Fanariou 7-9
171 24 Nea Smyrni
Athens, Greece

Phone from U.S.: 011-30-210-9351449

Persons interested in contacting Mani magazine should direct their enquiries, including subscription requests, to the publishers. For the convenience of HCS readers, we have translated the subscription form and information about the magazine and its editors; viewers can access this information by clicking on the appropriate links in the previous sentence.

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