This is the tombstone of my grandparents, John Andrew Kostakos (1879-1970) & Hariklia Aridas Kostakos (1894-1974) and my granduncle William Kostakos (1873-1951). They are buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Queens, New York
Recently, I purchased a Flip-Pal scanner which has been a terrific tool for digitally scanning the over-sized pages which I received from the Greek Archives office in Sparta. As I began to scan the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers), I reviewed each page to see if I had missed any surnames that are in my family line. As I looked at each line in the image below, I was aghast to find that I had overlooked this name on line 7: Μπιρμπατακος, Νικολαος (Birpatakos, Nikolaos), born 1879, father’s name Emmanouel.
This is the husband of Tasoula Kostakos, my grandaunt and the sister of my paternal grandfather! Furthermore, Nikolaos is listed immediately below my grandfather, John Andew Kostakos (on line 6)!
As I thought about how I could have possibly overlooked this initially, two things came to mind. First, I was so excited to find my grandfather’s name that I mentally “checked out” of everything else on that page. Second, the English letter, “B”, is spelled “Mp” in Greek (this is because the Greek letter “B” is translated into the English letter “V” — totally confusing!). My mind knew I did not have any names starting with “M” in this village, so when I saw the “Mp” on line 7, I didn’t even bother to read the surname.
As soon as I caught this oversight, I went through every other Mitroon Arrenon that I had received, and sure enough, I found some other surnames that I had missed the first time around.
Lesson learned — read everything at least twice when you first receive it. Then, a few months later, read it all again!
This is proof that sometimes we create our own “brick walls” because we don’t review our prior research. We are continually learning and building upon new information that we receive, and going back to see what we have can reveal new insights and unearth valuable clues.
In this case, I “found” someone’s record that I already had!