Is it possible that I have discovered the family of my great-great grandfather, Nikolaos Christakos, born about 1810 in Xirokambi? I think so!
My hunt into learning more about my Christakos family took a giant leap forward last summer when a “coincidental” series of events led me to the book, Koumousta of Lacedaimonos, written by Theodore S. Katsoulakos and Panagiotis X. Stoumbos (“Koumousta book”).
I am grateful to my friend, Giannis Michalakakos, who has been translating sections of this book with me. Without his help, I would not have the information that is so vital in piecing together this family.
The Christakos family profile is slowly coming together. Politimi Christakos married my great-grandfather, Andreas Kostakos in 1860. Years of research into various records are pointing to this:
My previous post described how the Christakos family of Koumousta originated from one of the region’s earliest settlers, Christos Rizos, who is mentioned in 1761 in the Code of Gola (Gola is a monastery). When a son of Christos took his father’s name as a patronymic, he became Christakos (-akos = son of).
This first post about the Christakos family of Koumousta will explore what I have learned about the possible father of Nikolaos — Dimitrios Christakos — and some of the stories that illustrate the environment of Koumousta in the 1800’s. The next post will explore other members of the Christakos family.
Immediately after the conclusion of the Greek War of Independence of 1821, the first “census” was held in Greece in 1830. After 400 years of Turkish rule, the new central government was becoming established and formal local government organizations were not yet functional. Thus, this census was not complete. In the Koumousta book we read, “From the document written in 1830, which is ‘the families living in huts and bungalows in Nauplion and other villages in 1830’… we find the names of Dimitrios Christakos (1826) and Dimitrios Christakos (1830). [The number in parenthesis indicates a date that is written in the sources; the specifics of the dates are not given]
As indicated in this census, there are two men named Dimitrios. To ease the confusion, I will name one “Dimitrios” and the other “Dimitris.”
Some passages in the book make it difficult to distinguish which Dimitrios is being referenced. On February 26, 1826, a Dimitrios Christakos signs an interesting document which reads in part:
“With this document we report that our ex-captain of the village, Antonis (Koumoustiotis) was disbanded because he did damages daily in our village and this is already known to everyone and we cannot write down how many bad things he did to us. It was not enough that he kept 20,000 grosia, the spoils from the seige of Tripoli, but gave us only the outside of an egg” [this is the exact translation]. Among other scandalous behavior, Antonis is accused of making an alliance with a Maniot family that was causing much fear among the villagers.
Born 1805, the name Dimitrios Christakos is found in a catalog of 450 fighters of Laconia (men who fought in the 1821 Revolution) that was signed by P. Giatrakos on September 26, 1845 and the minister of defense, K. Rodio, on October 16, 1845. Among those named who are “the people who have the right to take certification” is Dimitrios Christakos, age 40 years. Dimitrios was honored for his participation in the Revolution by receiving an Aristeia award, bronze level. There are three levels of Aristeia: highest: silver medal — αργυρό μετάλιο; 2nd: bronze medal — χάλκινο μετάλιο; 3rd: iron medal — σιδήρου μετάλλιο.
We can estimate that Dimitris was born about 1794, as he is referenced in the election list of 1844 (known as the first official elections in Greece) as Dimitrios Christakos, age 50 years. At this time, the election process was still unorganized. Voting occurred in the capital of every province, but some areas did not receive enough voting boxes for its population. The election dates varied in different areas, which was further complicated because the duration of voting was over two months. The voting procedure in the municipality of Faridos took place in the church of Agia Triada in Xirokambi on April 12, 1844. This election list, signed by the Mayor N. T. Liakakos, survived. The Koumousta book lists the men who voted in Koumousta; some may have lived in Xirokambi and Arkasa but they are included in the Koumousta record. Among those listed are Dimitrios Christakos, age 50.
The 1830 census list (discussed above) reveals a pattern which may help us determine the children of Dimitris (the older of the two Dimitrios’). As census takers in the U.S. went door-to-door, that procedure may have been followed in 1830 as the census taker walked the geographical area of Koumousta, going from one household to the next. If so, then the list becomes even more interesting as it references:
1: Dimitrios Christakos (for our purposes, Dimitris)
2: Thanasis and Nikolaos Christakia
1: Michalakis Christakos (listed as the fourth name below Thanasis and Nikolaos)
Note the suffix, -akia after the names of Thanasis and Nikolaos. –akia is a diminutive term, indicating children or minors. We may assume then, that Thanasis and Nikolaos, listed immediately after Dimitris, are his sons. They may be living with their father. Michalakis may also be the son of Dimitris, but he is living in his own household.
So…the big question: is my great-great grandfather, Nikolaos Christakos, the son of Dimitris? The answer: most possibly, but not conclusively. Additional information is needed. I realize that the following analysis is based on many assumptions; but, we can only work with what we have:
- Looking at the Family Group chart at the beginning of this post, I had estimated the birth of Nikolaos as 1815 as follows: Ilias was born about 1835 (source: 1872 Election List). If we estimate that a father was about 25 years old at the time of the birth of his eldest child (a standard estimating measurement for Greek records) that gives us an approximate birthdate for Nikolaos of 1810.
- Looking at the 1830 census, Nikolaos and his-likely brother, Thanasis, are living either in the household of Dimitris or immediately adjacent. The boys are named, thus they may be older, possibly late teens. With this assumption, their birthdates could range from 1812 (if age 18) to 1809 (if age 21). If this supposition holds, then Nikolaos would be in the correct age range to be the father of Politimi.
- There is no other man named Nikolaos Christakos that is mentioned in the Koumousta book.
To prove or disprove this theory, I will ask Mr. Katsoulakos for suggestions as to where I should look for additional documentation about the Christakos family in the 1800’s. When I return to Greece this summer, I will follow up on his recommendations. If the “genealogy gods” are with me, I may have success and be able to determine conclusively that I have (or have not) found my family!
Part Two of this post will describe Mr. Katsoulakos’ and Mr. Stoumbos’ research about additional members of the Christakos family.
In this post, we will explore some of the earliest members of the Christakos family of Koumousta. I have not yet been able to link my Nikolaos to the people mentioned in this book, but I trust that further information will come forth.