Eftaxias / Eftaxas in Laconia

Searching my Eftaxias family in Laconia is yielding some exciting results. My great-great grandfather, Ioannis Eftaxias1, was born in 1809 in Mystras. As far as can be determined, he is the oldest Eftaxias in Mystras. He had two sons listed in the 1872/1873 Election Rolls: my great-grandfather, Konstandinos2, (born 1840) and Georgios(born 1848).

Dimitrios Eftaxias4, born 1846 in Mystras, is also found in these Election Lists; however, his father is not named. It is very likely that Ioannis is his father, because Ioannis is the only male Eftaxias in Mystras who is of the age to be a father during that time period. I am hoping that the staff at the Archives office in Sparta will be able to resolve this by finding Dimitrios in the Male Register, which will list his father.

My friend, historian and teacher, Giannis Michalakakos, has found the name in two areas in Laconia: Mystras and Lagia (Mani). He said this name is rare and may be Byzantine in origin. It is likely that all Eftaxias from Laconia are blood-related. Giannis surmises that members of the Eftaxias family moved from Lagia north to Mystra after the 1821 Revolution, as this was a time of widespread migration throughout southern Greece. When the Ottoman occupation ended, families were free to move about, unmolested and unafraid. It was common for families to leave their hiding places in the forbidding mountains to find work in cities and farming opportunities in the fertile plains of Laconia.

A newly-found Eftaxias relative was told by his father that his family originated in Kalamata. Corroborating this, the map below reveals the route from Lagia through Kalamata to Mystras. Understanding migration patterns helps us move back through time.

Lagia-Kalamata-SpartaGiannis determined that the oldest Eftaxias in the village of Lagia is Mihalis Eftaxias, born about 1800. He fought in the 1821 Revolution. Mihalis had a son named Vrettos, and Vrettos had two sons: Michalis5 (born 1826) and Panagiotis6 (born in 1832).

The Eftaxias name is found in Atatka, the first Modern Greek dictionary! The Atatka was compiled by Adamantios Korais, a Greek humanist scholar who played an influential role in the Greek Enlightenment, the 1821 Revolution, and in particular the development of the “purist” Greek language, Katharevousa. His monumental work, Atatka, is comprised of 17 volumes and was published in France in 1832.

Recently Giannis sent me an entry from page 147 of Volume One of Atakta, where the name “Eftaxias” appears.

Page 147, "Eftaxias"

Page 147, “Eftaxias”

A rough translation reveals that Eftaxias is an ecclesiastical servant; one who keeps the order of the church. [From Gregory Kontos: Ευταξίας: good=ευ, order=τάξη]. He is the one that ensures there is orderliness among the people by preventing disorderly conduct, noise and mischief. There is reference in this document that Eftaxias was named “the Lord of peace.” This description gives me a most interesting insight into my ancestor who was first given (or adopted) this name.

Some families spell the name without an “i”:  Eftaxas. Giannis explained that in the Maniate language, the name is pronounced Eftaxeas (accent on the 2nd e, and pronounced as a long e). The family is part of a Maniat clan (blood related families with different names) named Ksifomaheridianoi. Other branches of families from this clan are Kassimis, Royssakos, and Kapylorihos, all of whom remained in Lagia.

Along with clan affiliations, name changes pose real challenges. Most occur from either παρατσούκλι (paratsoúkli) which is a nickname; or creating a surname from a given name —  males taking the given names of their fathers and adding -akos to indicate “son of.” Example: my surname, Kostakos, means “son of Kostas.” Thus, the original surname is lost. Reading through Election Rolls, I see this phenomenon on almost every page in Mani records. With the Eftaxias name having a distinct definition, there is no name change. Tracking down the “first” Eftaxias would be a fabulous find!

Sources:

1General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1843-44
File 22, Image 62, Line 239, Mystras
Ioannis Eftaxias, age 35, owns property; gardener; no father listed

2General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1872
File 25, Image 404, Line 573, Mystras
Konstandinos Eftaxias, age 32, shepherd; father: Ioannis

3General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1875
1872: File 25, Image 402, Line 480, Sparta-Mystras
Line 480 : Georgios Eftaxias, age 24, b.1848; occupation: student; father: not named

4General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1872
1872: File 25, Image 403, Line 506, Sparta-Mystras
Line 506: Dimitrios Eftaxias, age 26, occupation: shepherd; father: not named

5 General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1875
File 9, Image 99, Line 188, Lagia
Mihalis Eftaxias, age 49, farmer, father: Vrettos,

6 General Archives of Greece, Election Lists, 1875
File 9, Image 100, Line 237, Lagia
Panagiotis Eftaxias, age 43, farmer; father: Vrettos

 

 

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The Zaharakis / Zacharakis Families of Theologos, Oinountos, Laconia

The family of my great-grandmother, Stathoula Zaharakis, has been an elusive mystery to me. Her photo, which is on my desk, reminds me daily to think of her as well as all those who came before me.

Stathoula Zaharaki Eftaxias

Stathoula Zaharaki Eftaxias

Her face haunts me at times. How did she feel as she sent all three of her daughters to the U.S. so they could marry and have a better life? She had no sons; who took care of her as she aged? My mother said that she died as she was preparing to come to the U.S. to visit her daughters and their families in the mid-1950’s. How heartbreaking!

When Gregory Kontos and I were at the Greek Orthodox Mitropolis in Sparta in 2014, he found the marriage record for Stathoula and Konstandinos Ioannis Eftaxias.

Marriage Record, Konstandinos Ioannis Eftaxias and Stathoula Zaharaki, February 16, 1891, line 68. Translation of Marriage Record received from the Holy Diocese of Monemvasias & Spartis Certifies that: As it appears on the books of Marriages of the Office of the Holy Diocese Monemvasias & Spartis a licence -number 68 - was issued on 16 February 1891, for Konstantinos Eutaxiarhis, resident of Mystra - of the former municipality Spartis in second marriage, and for Stathoula Zaharaki daughter of Dimitrios, resident of Theologos -of the former municipality Sellasias in first marriage. The holy matrimony was officiated by the local priest S. Dimitrakopoulou.

Marriage Record, Konstandinos Ioannis Eftaxias and Stathoula Zaharaki, February 16, 1891, line 68. Received from the Holy Diocese of Monemvasias & Spartis.
Certifies that:
As it appears on the books of Marriages of the Office of the Holy Diocese Monemvasias & Spartis a licence -number 68 – was issued on 16 February 1891, for Konstantinos Eftaxias, resident of Mystra – of the former municipality Spartis in second marriage, and for Stathoula Zaharaki daughter of Dimitrios, resident of Theologos -of the former municipality Sellasias in first marriage. The holy matrimony was officiated by the local priest S. Dimitrakopoulou.

From this marriage record, I learned that Stathoula’s father was Dimitrios. I knew that the family lived in Theologos, Oinountos – just north of Sparta.

At the office of the General Archives of Greece in Sparta, Gregory and I digitized pages from the Dimotologion Koinothtos (Town Register) of Theologos which listed the Zaharakis families. I can’t believe that I overlooked the Male Register – a critical component to understand father/son relationships! Until I return to the Archives next summer, I have only the Dimotologia, Election Lists of 1872 & 1844, and information sent by family members to organize the structure of the Zaharakis family prior to 1940. I know the Male Registers will eventually provide missing information.

Zaharakis Families in Theologos, Pre-1940

Zaharakis Families in Theologos, Pre-1940. < symbolizes “before”

As I worked through the various resources, I learned an important detail about the 1844 Election Lists: there is an index at the beginning of each municipality. In the image below, notice two columns of numbers to the left of each name. The first number is the line number in the index; the second number is the line in the record itself. In this image on line 272 (right column, 3rd down) is Ioannis Zaharakis or Zaharakakis; the number 236 indicates the line in the record where his registration is recorded. (see next image)

1844 Election Lists, Laconia, File 22, image 1209 Index

1844 Election Lists, Laconia, File 22, image 1209, Theologos. Index.

This is an image of the voter registration page. Ioannis is found on line 236, which reads: Ioannis Zaharakis, age 46, farmer.

1844 Election Lists Laconia, File 22, Image 1222 Theologos.

1844 Election Lists Laconia, File 22, Image 1222 Theologos.

Also found on both of these pages are:
Index line 256/Record line 238 – Panagiotis Zaharakakis, age 34, farmer
Index line 273/Record line 239 – Theodoros Zaharakakis, age 32, farmer
Index line 267/Record line 250 – Georgios Zaharakis, age 42, farmer

Big important note: Thank you, Gregory Kontos, for finding these names for me. You have my undying gratitude forever! I can read records that are typewritten, but the handwritten ones are Greek to me.

I will update this post after my next trip to the Archives in Sparta in July 2016. This time I’ll have the Male Registers and I will be able to further corroborate and correct what I have documented.

If anyone has information that can shed further light on these families, or give a better translation of the handwritten Greek, I would be most grateful!

Now I can put this aside to enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!