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.
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 HellenicGenealogyGeek.com
“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
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n70gTlBMxM