Kostas – Kostakos: Is This My Family?

Many years ago, my aunt Areti Kostakos Lambrinos said that my great-grandfather, Andreas Kostakos, came to Agios Ioannis (a village near Sparta) “from Pyrgos, over the mountains.” That comment sent me on a hunt for records in the Pyrgos area.

I was excited when a historian and friend in southern Peloponnese sent me a map showing a trail from Pyrgos to Sparta. The Taygetus mountains are steep, treacherous and almost impassable!

Pyrgos - Agios Ioannis

This appears to be one of the only trails to get over the towering mountains that separate Pyrgos in Messinia from Sparta in Lakonia .

I have been looking at names of men who were eligible to vote in 1865, 1867, 1871.  Election Lists are digitized on the website of the General Archives of Greece. In examining surnames in the Pyrgos area, I have not found KOSTAKOS but I have found KOSTAS in the village of Βαρυμπóπι [Varibopi, now known as Monastiri, Tripyli, Trifylia]*. Is this my family? It is a common practice to add a suffix to a name to indicate “son of,” such as -opoulos and -akos. Thus, a male in this Kostas family may have added -akos to his name, thus creating my KOSTAKOS surname.

So far, I have identified three Kostas families in Βαρυμπóπι: (1) father: X (Christos?) and son, Georgios X; (2) father: A (Anastasios?) and sons Georgios A. and Christos A; (3) father: G (Gregorios?) and son, Georgios G. Here is the entry for two of the families:

Lines 310 & 313.

Trifylia, File, 52, page 154, lines 310 & 313.

I don’t know if these are my people, but I am hopeful that I have found a clue to support the oral history given by Aunt Areti. This research is like looking for the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” but it is exciting, challenging, and rewarding!


*General Archives of Greece, Electoral Rolls, Region of Trifylia, File 52


Seek and Remember

My friend and fellow genealogist, Gregory Kontos, created this moving video, encouraging us to keep looking for those who gave us life. It may be hard, but every name we find is one more ancestor who is remembered and retrieved from the annals of the forgotten.