Surnames from the Mitroon Arrenon of Mystras, Laconia

I am researching several ancestral lines in Mystras, including that of my maternal grandmother, Aggeliki Eftaxias. During my visit to the General State Archives office in Sparta in July 2014, I digitized several pages of the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Register) for this city. The earliest year in these registers is 1824. Interestingly, this is right in the midst of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829).

The surnames below are extracted from the pages that I obtained, which is not the complete record. Villages included in these records are: Mystras, Vlachohori, Varsinikos, Pikoulianika, Parori, Katochora, Diaselos.

The Sparta Archives office can assist you with further research. The email address is: Maria Stellakou, Michalis Sovolos, and Pepi Gavala are exceptional archivists and dear friends.

Surnames from Mitroon Arrenon of Mystras

Maltsiniotis House in Agios Ioannis, Sparta

This is the Maltsiniotis house located in Agios Ioannis. My cousin, Father Eugene Pappas, was told by Demetrios Papagiannakos (“Jimmy” Pappas 1875-1948) that there is a blood connection between the Maltsiniotis and the Papagiannakos families. Possibly, the Maltsiniotis name was the precursor to the Papagiannakos name because a member of the Maltsiniotis family became a priest whose name became “Father John”. I haven’t found anything that can prove this interesting story, except that the Maltsiniotis house and the Papagiannakos School (built by this same Jimmy Pappas) share the same property. So, whether the connection is blood or business remains unclear.

The house is a replica of the amazing stone towers found in Mani, which is another clue that the family/families traveled north towards Sparta from the southern Peloponnese, most likely after the Revolution of 1821. It surely was a grand structure in its day! Wouldn’t it be amazing to restore it?

Maltsiniotis Tower Home, Agios Ioannis, Sparta. July 2014

Maltsiniotis Tower Home, Agios Ioannis, Sparta. July 2014

Papagiannakos School, built by Demetrios Papagiannakos (Jimmy Pappas)

Papagiannakos School, built by Demetrios Papagiannakos (Jimmy Pappas). Agios Ioannis, Sparta, July 2014

Sign on Papagiannakos School. Agios Ioannis, Sparta. July 2014

Sign on Papagiannakos School. Agios Ioannis, Sparta. July 2014

Facebook Page for Agios Ioannis, Sparta

I took the plunge this week and started a Facebook page for my ancestral village of Agios Ioannis, Sparta:

I’m hoping that this FB page will become a real-time forum for many people with ties to this village. So many Greek people interested in family history are connecting through various FB pages, helping each other with translations, names, historical information and even photo identification! It’s a miracle of our times and a blessing to so many seeking help and looking to reunite with or find new members of their families.

The FB pages I regularly monitor are:
Hellenic Genealogy Resources:
Chian and Diaspora Genealogy (Island of Chios – not my area, but my friend, Debbie Sideratos Petrides, is an amazing researcher for Chios):

Surnames from Agios Ioannis (St. Johns), Sparta

During my visit to the Archives in Sparta last summer, I obtained pages of the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers) for the village of Agios Ioannis, Sparta. The records begin in 1844. This village is the birthplace of three of my four grandparents (Papagiannakos, Kostakos, Aridas/Michalakakos). Almost every page had surnames of my grandparents’ families, or those who married into my family. I was thrilled to have copies of these records!

I am ever-grateful to the staff at the GAK in Sparta: Pepi Gavala (Archivist), Maria Stellakou, and Michalis Sovolos. They are kind, gracious and most helpful!

Below is an index of the surnames in the pages that I obtained (this list may not be complete.

Surnames - Agios Ioannis

The Elementary School of Anavriti (municipality of Vrysai) in 1838

My friend, teacher, and historian, Giannis Michalakakos, has translated a list of children enrolled in school in Anavriti in 1838. The original digitized records can be found online at the General Archives of Greece (see source at end of document),  images 38, 39, 40.

Giannis has added valuable information about the origin of many of the names in these records (look for a superscript number). He also provided links at the end of this document to the GAK Archives and to a blog dedicated to architecture in Sparta, and specifically to an article about Anavriti.

I extend to Giannis my deepest appreciation for his time and effort in finding and translating this list. The year 1838 predates many extant records (including Mitroon Arrenon); and as Giannis explained to me, if you calculate that the fathers of these children could be 30-40 years old, they would have fought in the Greek War of Independence in 1821!

To read more of Giannis’ writings about history, genealogy, and other issues concerning Mani, follow his bog, Maniatika.  Again, thank you so very much, Giannis!

Giannis Michalakakos


Written by Giannis Michalakakos
Teacher of Home Economics and Ecology



Searching in the General State Archives for information about the Anavriti village (capital of Vrysai municipality) and the families who lived there I found a list of the students of the village’s elementary school. The following documents include the decision of the local council translated.

«The City Council gathered under president P. Vorilas and the rest members of the council G. Rakintzi, K. Perganti, K. Skokkou, Alex. Giannopoulou and A. Kousoula for meeting today 3rd of July in decision No. 2525 after the invitation of the Royal Command of Lacedaemon according to the article 26 of the Law Teaching to arrange the amount of money that monthly is paid by students parents and create a fund for the teacher. The council arranges the names from 29 of May and onwards.  

Anavriti School 1838 p1
Anavriti School 1838 p2 Anavriti School 1838 p3 Anavriti School 1838 p4 Anavriti School 1838 p5 Anavriti School 1838 p6



Families of Anavriti

Last summer at the Sparta office of the General Archives of Greece, I was given permission to take digital images of pages of records of the Male Registers (Mitroon Arrenon) and Dimotologion (Town Registers) that listed names found in my family tree. I have created an index of the families of Anavriti, as found in the pages of the Male Registers that I obtained.

If your family name is listed below, please contact the GAK office in Sparta for assistance in obtaining copies of the records. The staff is kind and most helpful: Maria, Michalis, and K. Gavala speak English and are sincerely desirous to be of assistance.

The GAK office email address is:

The mailing address is:
GAK – Archives of Laconia
174 Vrasidou
Sparta 23100
Telephone:  27310-22884

Please note that this list is not complete, as I the pages I have are limited to my family names.

Names jpeg format

Hellenic Genealogy Conference, NYC

There was a lot of excitement at the Holy Trinity Cathedral annex on Saturday, April 25, as people gathered for the first Hellenic Genealogy Conference. I met attendees who came from Ontario, Portland, Florida and other far-flung places. All came to learn and they eagerly absorbed the information presented.

The event was organized by Ilias Katsos and members of the Education Committee of the Hellenic Chamber of Conference, in association with my friend, Georgia Stryker Keilman of HellenicGenealogyGeek. Probably the most-oft question asked was “which village are your people from?” Everyone was trying to make a new connection and find a new lead to help them learn more about their ancestral lines.

Since my roots are in Spartan villages and Mani, I was especially intrigued to meet people with roots from the mountain village of Anavriti outside Sparta. Many of my connections, DNA and family, have roots there; yet I can’t pinpoint a direct line ancestor from that village. I will at some point, for sure!

One of the highlights of the conference came when Ilias Katsos introduced Reverend Robert George Stephanopoulos to Gregory Kontos (who participated via Skype). Gregory had just completed his presentation on the methods he used to research the Stephanopoulos family for the PBS show, “Finding Your Roots,” which aired last fall. It was exciting for all of us to watch Father Stephanopoulos express his deep appreciation to Gregory for his work.

Gregory Kontos-Rev. Stephanopoulos

Ilias Katsos introduces Rev. Stephanopoulos to Gregory Kontos, via Skype


Conference Agenda and Participants
9:00-9:15 am
       Opening Remarks
 9:15-9:45 am        Dr. Peter C. Moskos. Sociology Professor and Author  Greek Americans: Struggle and Success
Topic:  The Greek experience in America, as documented in the Third  Edition of the book
 9:45 -10:30 am     Georgia Stryker Keilman, Founder
“How U.S. Records Can Help You Prepare for Research in Greece”
Topic:  Learn which documents provide pertinent information for Greek  research, including Passenger Lists, Social Security Applications, Death Certificates, Obituaries and others including resources available online
10:45-11:45 am    George D. Tselos, Chief Archivist of Ellis Island
“Passenger Ship and Ellis Island Records.”
Topic:  Learn the resources available at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to decipher the information found in Passenger Ship Records
 11:45-12:15 pm    Professor Louis Katsos, Chairman Education and Culture Committee, HACC; “Brief History of Hellenic Lands”
Topic:  The impact of Hellenic history, geography, boundary and village changes in genealogy research
1:15-2:15 pm Michael Kalavritinos, “Records Available from the General State Archives of Greece
Topic:  Discover online and textual resources held at the Greek Archives
2:15-2:45pm     Peter Dickson, “Using DNA in Greek Family History Research”
Topic:  Understand the potential of DNA testing for positive family identification
 2:45-3:15pm     Debbie Petrides, “A Case Study from Chios”
Topic:  How to use records from Greece to discover the history of your family
 3:45-4:00pm     Gregory Kontos, Historian and Genealogists
Topic: Research for PBS Gates program “Finding your Roots”
 4:00-4:15pm     Carol Kostakos Petranek, “To Your Ancestral Home”
Topic:  How to prepare for a research trip

Hellenic Conf NYC Apr 2015 Collage w caption

I was honored to participate in this event, as I am passionate about research and teaching and helping others to learn. I created a handout for my presentation that will help people get ready for a successful trip. Please read and download it here.

I am now working on a committee to prepare for the next Hellenic Genealogy Conference which will be on September 26, 2015 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City, Utah. The website is here, and the Facebook page is here.

So many exciting events for Greek genealogists! It’s a great time to engage in research – join us!

An update to this post:  A YouTube video of some of the conference presentations can be found at this link:

The full conference can be accessed in these six YouTube videos:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6: