Disasters and Emigration of Our Hellenic Ancestors
All Greek families have stories about being profoundly impacted by disasters, both natural and man-made. And for the purposes of genealogical research, understanding the types and chronologies of these disasters can be useful and illuminating. Most common are earthquakes and wars, both often bringing about a collapse of family holdings and necessitating emigration to other areas of Greece or to cities abroad. Understanding these influences can shed light upon reasons for emigration, as well as offer colorful narratives to personalize the experiences of distant ancestors. Read entire article.
Writing Family Genealogies in Register Style
Lynn Betlock, the editor of The Weekly Genealogist, a weekly e-zine of The New England Histoic Genealogical Society, offers tips about writing in register style. "Whether you just want to write about your grandparents or compile a whole book, the basic building block is the family sketch, treating a couple and their children in an organized and interesting way. What is a family sketch? It’s just a story with a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is the first paragraph that contains the vital information about the parents all of it. So, if the reader later wants to check back to see just when your great-grandmother married her second husband, it’s easy to find." Read full article.
Ireland Develops a Reaching Out Diaspora Genealogical Project: Could Greece Do the Same?
Lynn Betlock, the editor of The Weekly Genealogist, a publication of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, recently learned about the Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) Diaspora project. According to the groups website, the Ireland XO project is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for Irish-Americans and their global counterparts to come to Ireland to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level, we identify who left, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended virtual community with their place of origin. In this way, the entire Irish Diaspora of 70 million can be systematically reunified online and invited back to engage with their ancestral parish for the benefit of all. Read more.
Holiday Gatherings as Genealogical Research Tools--by Joan Young
You probably travel to visit relatives during the holidays. These holiday visits can result in a goldmine for the family genealogist in many ways.Visits to grandmother or Aunt Anna's home can also provide access to family heirlooms and photos in their possession. Ask other relatives who are visiting for the holidays to bring their albums of old family photos with them as well. Have them identify and label the people in the photos where possible. Discuss the photos during your visit to see if anyone can identify the unknowns. Read entire article.
Word Processing and Genealogical or Historical Writing--by Mary Harrell-Sesniak
Whether you're transcribing a historical document or writing a family history, a word processor can polish the finished product.
An entry-level program will suffice but to make a document shine, a more sophisticated product, such as Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer, is required. Here are a few ideas to get started. Read more.
Mikrasia Revisited: A Glimpse of Peristasi in Eastern Thrace--by James L. Marketos, Esq.
Marketos writes eloquently and poignantly about a trip taken by his mother to her ancestral Greek village in occuped Thrace. Although nearly all traces of the village's Greek character and origin had been erased or lost since the exchange of populations, one village elder recalled her family, offering a tenuous link to the childhood stories her own mother had related often. Read more.
New Online Databases for Genealogical Research on Lancaster County in Pennsylvania
The New England Historic Genealogical Association recently reported that a new series of related online databases have been made available to researchers through the Lancaster County Historical Society and the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Hellenic Historical and Genealogical Association has reviewed the utility of these online databases for research on Greek subjects. Read more.
Review of "English Equivalents to Foreign Given Names" Posted by US GenWeb Project
New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) recently posted a review of a project of US GenWeb: the "English Equivalents to Foreign Given Names." Reviewer Michael J. Leclerc reported that the data of the project was a "valuable research tool" for genealogists. The project consists of a 114-page-long list of given names, arranged alphabetically by their root names. Leclerc elaborated on details of the list and how to use it. HHGA undertook to assess the specific utility of the project for Greek-American subjects. But in order for the names of this US GenWeb project to offer meaningful assistance in researching Greek family history, there must be a column dedicated to representations of Greek given names. And, of course, the project doesn't have one. Read entire review.
St. George SocietyTsamantas [Epirus] Newsletter--Spring 2010
St. George Benefit Society has undertaken a number of philanthropic projects, one of which is the translation into English of a village history penned originally by Nikos Nitsios in 1926 and republished in Athens in 1991. Publication of the translation is expected in 2010-2011. The Tsamantas fraternal society recently celebrated its centennial history, posting information online about its own history and the village Tsamantas. New members warmly welcomed. For more information, read release or visit website at http://www.100yearsinamerica.org
Review of The Greeks of Today 1907 by George Horton and Republished by Hellenic Electronic Center
George Horton served as the American Consul General in Smyrna during the heinous events of 1922. Following the Turkish burning of the city and massive American rescue efforts, Horton returned to the U.S. and lectured widely about the events of 1922 and about the accomplishments of Modern Greeks. For those Greek-Americans who are interested in the accomplishments of notable Greeks and their struggles to overcome adversity, this volume by HEC is a delight. Horton's speech is uplifting because it showcases our cultural heritage. Of particular interest in this reprint edition is the generous inclusion of supplementary biographical data on persons mentioned in the speech and reactions in the American press to Horton's appearances across the country. Read more.
Secretary of World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Visits Greeks of Hungary and Slovakia and Veterans of Greek Civil War
Dr. Olga Sarantopoulos, SAE Secretary, attended a meeting of Hungarian physicians of Greek descent at the invitation of Greek community leaders in Budapest. She also visited the Greek language school there, meeting with instructors who taught in Budapest and in the two schools of Belogiannis and Miskolt. Sarantopoulos also visited with veterans of the Greek Civil War, refugees who had fled Greece after the defeat of Communist insurgents. She was warmly received by the community, now numbering about 4500 Greeks, mostly elderly veterans and second- and third-generation descendants. Community leaders discussed with her personal accounts of war tribulations and the loss of Greek citizenship and properties because of partisan activities in the Civil War. She later viewed exhibits detailing the history of Greeks in Hungary dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries during the Ottoman Empire. Her visit concluded with a trip to Slovakia where she met with Greek community leaders there. Read entire press release. Click here for Greek version of article-release.
Calculating Cousin Relationships
Next time you attend an extended family gathering, you're sure to get acquainted with relatives like your first cousin's children or Papou's (grandfather's) first cousin. How do you calculate these relationships? Are they cousins or removed cousins? Read more.
What's on a Death Certificate?
When requesting death certificates, researchers may be surprised by the “depth or dearth” of information recorded. Death certificates were not always required and were rare before the late 1800s. This article offers a historical overview of the types of information included on certificates and uses images to illustrate changes in the records over time. Click here to read entire article.
Searching for Their Stefana: Locating My Grandparents' Marriage Record
My father had told me several times how upset his mother had been at the apparent loss of her marriage record. When she had applied for citizenship in the late 40's, she couldn't seem to find the certificate. Together with my grandfather she searched everywhere, through more than three decades of American family records and memorabilia. As my father related the story, my grandparents had to re-create another civil marriage record as part of the naturalization process, and no record of her marriage could be found at the family church. I wanted a copy of this civil record, so I set out on an odyssey to try to find it. Readers may find some of these tips useful in searching for their own family records. Read entire article.
British Telephone Directories and Passenger Lists
In recent years Ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.com have introduced respectively the ability to search UK telephone directories (1880 to 1984), and passenger lists (1890 to 1939). Read more.
Newspaper Research Tips for Genealogical Research
Ten excellent tips for researching newspaper archives, presented by genealogist Pam Walton at Kingwood College in Texas, and reported by Mary Harrell-Sesniak in Rootsweb Review.
Separating Sticky Document and Photo Pages: Genealogists' and Archivists' Tips
A compilation of successful strategies, quick tips, for separating sticky pages and photos. Make a copy of these tips and take them with you to libraries and archives when researching your family history.
Genealogical Sleuthing: Understanding Rootsweb's Social Security Death Index
One of the things that made RootsWeb famous was the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). When it was first added to the site around 2000, it was free, was updated more frequently than any other online version, and was accompanied by the best search engine. Today, RootsWeb continues to be one of the most convenient and effective places to access this index. How much do you know about the SSDI? Click here for entire text.
International Genealogical Symbols
Rootsweb Review recently published a lengthy list of symbols frequently used in international genealogy, often simple abbreviations, to render concise large amounts of data. For persons who intend to conduct research abroad, understanding these abbreviations may prove useful.Click here for full article.
Digital Records for New Jersey Research Now Available Online for Genealogists
The e-newsletter of the New England Historic & Genealogical Society (NEHGS) recently announced the availability of new, free databases on the Internet for researchers (eNews, Vol. 11, No. 8, Whole #415, February 25, 2009). Valerie Beaudrault, writing for NEHGS recently, outlined the new information posted to the Atlantic County Library System of New Jersey (http://www.atlanticlibrary.org/collections/digitized/index.asp). Hellenic Historical and Genealogical Association examined some of these digital records for their utility to Greek-Americans and found some surprising gems, among which are a scanned collection of local newspapers and indexes of immigration records with more than two thousand names. Click here to read about our brief review of this database.
Review of Surname Suggestion List Genealogists' Freeware
HHGA tested out a new, free software program designed to assist surname genealogy searches on Google. This software, essentially a share-ware program, is called Surname Suggestion List. Reviews by professional genealogists gave the program positive marks for its overall utility, aiding researchers by listing surname variations sometimes overlooked. Although it has been our experience that surname-based electronic searches usually have only limited usefulness for Hellenic surnames, we still put Surname Suggestion List through its paces to discover the extent of its applicability for Greek-Americans. Read entire review.
Start with non-invasive techniques, including using digital software to enhance images. After that, consult the cemetery staff and local boards, as local laws and rules determine which techniques are allowed. Ask them to put on workshops and organize groups to transcribe and photograph as many cemeteries as possible. Read entire article.
Preventing Identity Theft Does Not Mean Hiding Your Ancestors
Does your genealogical information on the Internet pose a security risk for the so-called identify theft problem? The simple answer is no. While we all need to be cautious about revealing too much personal information about ourselves and our living family members on the Internet (and elsewhere) the most common sources of identity theft are those we encounter in our daily lives. In a recent New York Times article by John Leland, it is noted that this crime often begins at home with more half of the victims revealing that the ID thief was a family member, a friend, a neighbor or an in-home employee. Read more.
Red Star Line Shipping Company.
From 1873 to 1935 the Red Star Line shipping company transported nearly three million people from Antwerp, Belgium to the USA and Canada. There's considerable data concerning the ships and the company and pictures with a link to the Belgium-Roots Project, which contains an alphabetical list of individuals who emigrated from Belgium and are being researched by others. See the URL's (RED STAR LINE) http://www.redstarline.eu/ and (BELGIUM-ROOTS PROUJECT) http://belgium.rootsweb.com/_fam/emigrants/
Using Rootsweb: Military Records Flesh Out Family Histories
If military records can be located they often provide insight into important events and commitments in your ancestors' lives. Military service records can bring your ancestors to life though they may have served long ago and far, far away. The challenge is to identify which military records exist and then figure out how to search for them. You might find answers to such questions in the archives of RootsWeb's military mailing lists, on the military topic message boards, in RootsWeb's user-contributed databases, or in RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees. Read more.
Massachusetts Vital Records Online
The Massachusetts State Archives office has now placed some databases online: The Index to Vital Records (1841-1910),
Index to Passenger Manifests (1848-1891), and Massachusetts
Archives Collections Database (1629-1799). All are searchable with surname; the Vital Records index search engine also permits first name, town, and a range of years.
Michigan Naturalizations Index Databases
Volunteers in Michigan have indexed naturalizations for all counties in the state. Use of the online indexes is free, hosted by official webpages of state government. Some indexes are searchable, while others are downloadable PDF files. They are arranged separately by county at the following URL:
Land Regsitry on the Move
Greece and Albania are the only two European countries without a national land registry. The current effort to compile one started in the mid-90s but is being plagued by delays. Click here to read full Athens News article.
Find Your Ancestor's Age Quickly with Online Calculator
Finding an ancestor's age at death is a common calculation conundrum. An easyand freesolution is the Days Between Calculator (http://www.easycalculation.com/days-between-dates.php), which shows you how many years, months and days have elapsed between two dates. For 88 more fabulous genealogy freebies, see the June 2006 Family Tree Magazine, available at http://www.familytreemagazine.com/mags/display.asp?id=1768.
Ancestry.com Adds Index of All Databases, Making Searches Easier
Finally, Ancestry.com, the online database subscription giant, has added a tool to make searching through its site easier: an online index of its more than 23,000 databases. Visitors can narrow down their searches--and in many cases make them more productive--by selecting out the databases in which they are interested. Use of this new tool represents a great improvement for visitors, especially persons researching Hellenic ancestry, because it will eliminate scrolling through thousands of returns in order to find specific entries. http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/alldblist.aspx.
New Bipolar Family Tree Program
Bipolar disorder (manic depression) is a treatable medical condition that affects approximately 5.7 million American adults. But, the condition can be hard to recognize because it may come across as depression, euphoria, trouble at work, out-of-control spending, substance abuse or even suicide attempts. Now, a new program that addresses the family connection of bipolar disorder is available to help families get their doctors to more accurately and quickly diagnose this complex condition. The Mental Health Family Tree program (www.MentalHealthFamilyTree.org <https://chiowa.edelman.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=
http://www.mentalhealthfamilytree.org/>), launched by the national non-profit organization Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA), draws attention to the important role a person's family mental health history can play in diagnosing bipolar disorder, while helping individuals identify some of the common - but sometimes unknown - behaviors associated with the condition. People concerned about the existence of bipolar disorder in themselves or in family members can visit www.MentalHealthFamilyTree.org <https://chiowa.edelman.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=
http://www.mentalhealthfamilytree.org/>; to build their own Mental Health Family Tree by completing a simple, interactive questionnaire. This family tree can be printed out and used to spark conversations with doctors or
(Originally published in UpFront with NGS, The Online Newsletter of the National Genealogical Society, Volume 5, Number 6 -- 1 June 2006, http://www.NGSgenealogy.org/upfront.cfm)
(Edd: Links given above are broken up into two sections. To use them properly, copy and past each line separately into your browser URL window, the second line of the address immediately following the first with no intervening spaces.)
Missouri Death Index Now Online (1910-1955)
The Missouri State Archives has recently made available an online index containing more than 2,000,000 names. Visitors can also view images of the certifcates at the online site http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/. According to the National Genealogical Society, "over 600 volunteers and students from across the nation and other coutnries logged over 27,000 hours" to create the database.
Because of overwhelming numbers of requests for copies of certificates, staff are now releasing additional scanned images as each year is completed, rather than by decade as originally planned.
Somerville (MA) Museum to Feature Exhibitions on Greek Immigration & Greek-American World War I Hero
From September 10, 2006 through March 25, 2007, a fascinating, thought-provokding two-part exhibition--New Lives in a New Land: Immigration in Somerville & the Greater Boston area--The Greek Community and Hope, Valor, & Inspiration: 1896-1918: The World of George Dilbory--Greek Immigrant & American Hero--will be at the Somerville Museum, One Westwood Road, Somerville, MA 02143. This exhibition, organized by the Somerville Museuma nd Historic Somerville, Inc. will chronicle the Greek migration to the Somerville-Greater Boston area during the past century, the contributions that these newcomers to America's shores have made and George Dilbory, the Greek immigrant from Alatsata in Asia Minor/ Somerville resident who became the first Greek-American to be awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor. Read more.
Colorado's Historic Newspaper Collection--Articles Available Online
Search for digitized Colorado newspapers from 1859 to 1923.
Index of Early Pennsylvania Obituaries Now Online Search Pennsylvania Obituaries Online
Pennsylvania's state library has posted microfilmed images of scrapbooks containing newspaper obituaries published between Oct. 16, 1891, and March 3, 1904.
Search for your ancestor's obituary at http://22.214.171.124:2005/cdm4/search.php (the search page doesn't give you much clue where you are). At the bottom of the page, unclick everything except State Library of PennsylvaniaGenealogy. Type your keywords (such as a name or place) in the All of the Words field and click Search.
If you're not sure whether Great-grandma would be listed under her maiden or married name, enter both surnames in the Any of the Words field and type her first name in the All of the Words field. The Proximity tab lets you type two search terms and specify the number of words apart they can occur, letting you net obituaries containing variations such as john smith; john charles smith; and smith, john c. Still can't find the deceased? Try searching for people who might be listed as survivors.
Results show thumbnails of each matching obituary, its page number in the original scrapbook and surnames of everyone whose obituaries appear on that page. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the page; use the icons at the top to zoom in and navigate around the article.
New York Bride and Bridegroom Indexes Now Available Online
The bridegroom index is for the entire city (1909-1936). The bride index is incomplete and is only for the boroughs of Bronx (1891-1937), Brooklyn (1891-1937), and Queens (1904-1937). Plans call for adding the Manhattan bride index to the online system. The Stephen P. Morse site at http://stevemorse.org/ now has cross-links between the two indexes for New York City located at the Italian Genealogy Group site at: http://www.italiangen.org/
Missouri Death Certificates Now Indexed Online (1910-1955)
The Missouri State Archives now offers the Missouri Death Certificate Database. It's a new online index and images. Currently the index covers from 1910 to 1955 and the images date from 1910 to 1920. It is at the URL:
Copying Old Photographs: Infringement of Copyright Laws?
In the case of photographs, it is sometimes difficult to determine who owns the copyright and there may be little or no information about the owner on individual copies. Ownership of a "copy" of a photograph is distinct from the "work" itself -- the intangible intellectual property. Read more.
New Book Chronicles History of
Greek Americans of Cleveland, Ohio
Greek Americans of Cleveland Since 1870, a 416-page history of Greek immigrants who settled in Cleveland (Ohio), traces the lives of the first immigrants to settle in this area, life in communes, the nomadic search for work, the establishment of the first businesses, and the creation and growth of the first Greek Orthodox Church Community and those that followed. The book is now available from The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio, an expanded and upgraded version of an earlier book that was published in 1984. Read more.
U.S. Diplomatic Personnel Submit Partial List of Persons Safe and Evacuated after Smyrna Catastrophe
Submitted by Stavros T. Stavridis. Click here to read brief list of names cabled by Admiral Bristol to State Department. A few of the names appear to be Hellenic. All were evacuated to Salonica and eventually to New York. These persons seem to have received direct assistance from the American Consulate during the Catastrophe, unlike the majority of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Smyrna, Pontus and Asia Minor who were evacuated to the Greek mainland follwing the Catastrophe.
Black Book: The Tragedy of Pontus, 1914-1922
The Black Book: The Tragedy of Pontus is invaluable for its historical and genealogical information. This pamphlet details the numbers of Pontic Greeks killed in each village by the Turks, with some lists of actual names, and eyewitness accounts of massacres and genocide. Compiled in Athens in 1922, it serves as valuable testimony to the crimes committed. Although copies of this pamphlet are rare, there are about a dozen in the U.S. and Europe. Printed bilingually (English and French) in Athens in 1922 for the Central Council of Pontus, the aim of the pamphlet was to disseminate publicly the details of an irreparable loss of culture, history, and human life. Click here to view the pamphlet [large pdf file--16.2 Mb--Adobe Acrobat needed to view].
Beginning a Greek Genealogical Search in the U.S.
A revised, online article by Hellenic Historical and Genealogical Association for persons researching Hellenic ancestry. This simple, five-step plan helps researchers make effective use of their time by showing where and how to research. The goal of this recommended plan is to find the original Greek name of one's immigrant ancestor and his or her village, the information necessary to do research abroad. Click here for the full article.