Holy Trinity Cathedrals were the sites of the first and second Hellenic Genealogy Conferences held in the United States: the first in New York City on April 25, 2015; the second in Salt Lake City on September 26, 2015. I am thrilled to have these opportunities to meet new friends and to be part of a team that teaches the intricacies and nuances of Greek genealogy research. Seventy-four people attended our Salt Lake Conference; some traveling from Florida, California, Oregon, Washington and Canada.
Father Matthew was delighted to host our Conference and we discussed the importance of families and how genealogy bridges generations, unites families and strengthens children. He stayed with us for the first hour and opened our conference with a beautiful prayer.
Our conference was sponsored by:the Hellenic Cultural Association of Salt Lake City, HellenicGenealogyGeek, and the Ethnic and Mining Museum of Magna, Utah.
Conference organizers were: Dawna Stevens, Georgia Stryker Keilman, and me.
l-r: Georgia Stryker Keilman – Dawna Stevens – Carol Petranek
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome: Hellenic Cultural Association
9:15 – 9:45 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lica Catsakis
Topic: The Evolution of Hellenic Genealogy: Then and Now
Dr. Catsakis, the “pioneer” of Hellenic Genealogy research, will explore the changes in Greek genealogy over the past 30 years. As the author of several Greek genealogy manuals, the Greek specialist at the Family History Library, and former President of SIPEO, she has been in the unique position of observing and guiding this growing movement.
9:45 – 10:15 Georgia Stryker Keilman
Topic: How US Records Can Help You Prepare for Research in Greece
Learn which documents provide pertinent information for Greek research, including Passenger Lists, Social Security Applications, Death Certificates, Obituaries and others.
10:25 – 10:55 Gregory Kontos (via Skype)
Topic: Research in Greece: Using Civil and Church Records
This presentation will cover Civil Records found in Town Halls, records at the General Archives of Greece (GAK) and Church records. Learn about each record collection, what they contain and how to access them. A 10-minute question and answer period will follow.
11:15 – 11:35 Marina Harami (via Skype)
Topic: Resources for Research in Greece: Libraries, Websites, Books, Newspapers
Featuring online and print resources for research in Greece. A 10-minute question and answer period will follow.
12:30 – 1:00 Dr. Lica Catsakis
Topic: Resources for Greek Research at the Family History Library
FamilySearch.org and the Family History Library have Greek microfilms, books, maps, newspapers and additional information not found in other U.S. repositories. Dr. Catsakis has been a long-time volunteer and consultant to the Family History Library, and she will teach which records are available and how to access them.
1:00 – 1:20 Dr. Margarita Dounia (via Skype)
Topic: Why Did They Leave? Greek Emigration in the 1900’s
This presentation will describe the political and economic conditions that influenced the wave of emigration from Greece in the early 1900’s.
1:30 – 1:50 Giannis Michalakakos (via Skype)
Topic: The Revolution of 1821 and Its Impact on Your Ancestors (1821-1900)
After 1821, our ancestors’ lives changed dramatically. This lecture will describe how the the changes in economic conditions, migration patterns, occupations and other matters influenced our ancestral families, and how this impacts your research. A 10-minute question and answer period will follow.
2:00 – 2:30 Dr. Lica Catsakis
Topic: Geographic and Administrative Boundary Changes in Greece
Learn how to find and access records that have been affected by the many geographic and administrative changes in Greece.
2:45 – 3:05 Bob Curtis
Topic: “Using Community Trees to Track Descendants of Greek Immigrants in the U.S.”
“Community trees” are particularly effective for Greek genealogy due to the common practice of Greeks marrying other Greeks in the community. The “Greeks in the Western U.S. Community Tree” was created to link descendants of the 5000 Greek immigrants who came to Utah and surrounding states in the early 1900’s to work in the mines and railroads, and currently includes 9700 descendants. This presentation will describe objectives, methods and contents of the “Greeks in the Western U.S. Community Tree.”
3:05 – 3:20 Dawna Stevens / Carol Kostakos Petranek
Topic: Making Connections: Facebook and Blogs
Greeks around the world are using today’s media to share information, find new cousins, and help each other. This presentation will be an overview of connecting through Facebook and how to create a blog.
3:20 – 3:40 Carol Kostakos Petranek
Topic: Planning a Research Trip to Greece
A trip to Greece is an exciting adventure, and becomes even more meaningful when combined with a research goal. Learn what you need to prepare: items to bring; whom to contact; trip strategies.
3:50 – 5:00 Angie Bush
Topic: DNA as a Tool for Greek Research
This session will provide an overview of DNA tests, surname projects and tips on using DNA to connect with living family members.
Conference handouts and YouTube videos can be accessed at:
Presenters: Dr. Lica Catsakis and Bob Curtis
Our 3rd conference will be held in Chicago next Spring. The interest and enthusiasm among Greek people to trace their roots and preserve their heritage is exploding. I feel honored to be a part of this exciting movement and anticipate that it will continue to grow exponentially.