Virtual Trip through Agios Ioannis (Sparta)

My friend, Georgia Stryker Keilman, found a Google car trip through our ancestral village of Agios Ioannis. Her post on her blog, HellenicGenealogyGeek, reads as follows:

Follow this link to view the TRIP THROUGH AGIOS IOANNIS.  This is a car driving through the village’s main road with a 360 degree camera mounted on the top of the car.  You can view this in several different ways: 1) the bottom strip of photographs are highlights from the video;  2)  on the lower right side of the main picture you will see “backward and forward” symbols < > which will allow you to move forward on the road incrementally;  3) you can place your cursor on the road and drag your way forward;  4) on the bottom right side of the main picture is a red and white pointer surrounded by circular arrows which will allow you to look at a 360 degree view from any point on the road.

Georgia’s connection to Agios Ioannis is her ancestor, George Stratigakos (1859-1921). I just love to think that our families must have known each other as this is not a big village, and that our grandfathers must have passed many hours in the local kafenio talking politics and other topics. Here we are, 100 years later, reconnected in a new land. It’s all so exciting!

Georgia’s HellenicGenealogyGeek Facebook page is the go-to place for online Greek genealogy collaboration with over 6,500 members.

Thank you, Georgia, for finding and posting this virtual tour and for all you do to connect Greek researchers online!

How to Navigate the State General Archives of Greece Website for Digitized Images

The website of the General Archives of Greece has a specific area where digital images are being uploaded:  This site is not easy to navigate, but with patience and the help of an English translation button on the right side of the website, it can be done.

A pdf file with step-by-step directions can be accessed here.

As can be expected, most of the files are in Greek script. However, there is a valuable collection of Electoral Rolls from the late 1800’s which has been typewritten in Greek — and the names are easy to read. This collection contains lists of men who were eligible to vote. It is sorted by Nomos (County), then Districts and Municipalities. Instructions for accessing this collection titled “Election Materials from the Vlachogiannis Collection” is found at the end of the document. A direct link to this collection is:

A sample page of the Election Rolls is below. The Nomos is Lakonia, the village is Agios Ioannis (Sparta). The columns are:  1: line number, 2: first and last name of the voter, 3: voter’s birth year, 4: name of voter’s father, 5: voter’s occupation.

My great-grandfather, Panagiotis Papagiannakos, is on line 1975.

1872 Electoral Rolls, Agios Ioannis, Papagiannakos

1872 Electoral Rolls, Agios Ioannis, Panagiotis Papagiannakos, line 1975



Greek Microfilms at the FamilySearch Library

Various record collections from areas in Greece have been microfilmed and are available to the public through the FamilySearch Library and its more than 4,700 Family History Centers throughout the world. To locate the one closest to you, click here.

To find a Greek microfilm,  you will need to know the village, district, and county of your ancestor. The following explains the geographic divisions in Greece:

Greece is divided geographically into 9 main regions:
1.  Central Greece and Euvoia
2.  Peloponnese
3.  Ionian islands
4.  Thessaly
5.  Epirus
6.  Macedonia
7.  Thrace
8.  Aegean Islands
9.  Crete

Each of these 9 main regions is divided into “Counties” called Nomos.

Each of the nomos is divided into “Districts” called Eparhia.

Each Eparhia is divided into “Municipalities” called Dimos. A Dimos may include surrounding villages.

Prior to 1999, there was a division called “Community” or Koinotis. In 1999, all “communities” were dissolved and incorporated into the larger “Municipalities” or Dimos.

In order to determine if the FamilySearch Library has a Greek film of interest to you, you will need to identify the following information:

1.  The village
2.  The Dimos (municipality) to which the village belonged when the record was created
3.  The Eparhia (district) to which the Dimos belonged when the record was created.
4.  The Nomos (county) to which the Eparhia (municipality) belonged when the record was created.

You must also know the full, original Greek surname; for example: not Pappas, but Papadopoulos.

Records That May Give You Name & Village

  • Census (1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 ask specific immigration & naturalization questions)
  • Marriage (U.S. and Greek Church)
  • Baptismal Records (Greek Church)
  • Immigration (Passenger Ship)
  • Naturalization (Declaration of Intention & Petition for Naturalization)
  • Social Security Application (original and computerized)
  • World War I & II registration cards
  • Death Certificate (beware of informant’s possible misinformation)
  • Obituary
  • Tombstones
  • Photographs

After you have determined the original Greek surname and village, check to see if FamilySearch has a microfilm for your location. A pdf file of all Greek microfilms, compiled by Lica Catsakis, can be searched here.

If there is a film that you want to review, you can order it from the link here and it will be sent to the Family History Center that you designate.





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