The Genealogist’s Dictionary

At some point in the research process, most of us will have to leave the comfort of our native language and enter the new world of a foreign vocabulary. For those whose plunge is into a language which uses non-Roman letters, this can be intimidating and even scary. Because I spoke Greek before English and spent many restless childhood hours in Greek school, I thought my ultra-rudimentary grasp of the language would give me a good base to jump into Greek records. I was right–and I was wrong!

Reading old Greek handwriting and learning more sophisticated genealogical terminology was difficult. I continue to struggle. But, now there is a new and extremely useful booklet, The Genealogist’s Dictionary, which has been developed by my friend and fellow researcher, Gregory Kontos. The description reads:

One of the hardest aspects of Greek genealogy is reading and translating the old Greek records. Based on our team’s research experience, this dictionary was created to help English-speaking researchers translate and understand basic lines of an old Greek document. Using a wide variety of 19th century records, we managed to create a wide database of more than 400 words, which, expanding geographically and socially, wishes to cover the most crucial translational needs of a Hellenic genealogist.

This 24-page guide will help both the new and experienced Hellenic researcher. It is divided into two sections:

Part 1:  The Greek Alphabet, typed and handwritten; Numbers, cardinal and ordinal; Units of Time, days, months

Part 2:  Words and phrases for general records; school records; and professions/occupations

A sample page:


The Genealogist’s Dictionary is priced at $12.00 and is a pdf download from The URL is:

Gregory Kontos can be reached at:, or on Facebook at:

I trust that this guide will be as great a help to researchers as it is to me.

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