Videos: Using U.S. Records to Find Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Original Surname and Village of Origin

As descendants of immigrant ancestors, it is simply a matter of time before our U.S. research ends and we must continue our quest in our ancestral homeland. For people of Greek descent, it is impossible to research successfully in “the old country” if you do not know your original ancestral surname and village of origin. This information is absolutely necessary as records are kept by locality and of course, names are written with the original Greek spelling. There are a plethora of U.S. documents which will give the researcher this information.

Of my most frequently requested lectures is How to Use U.S. Records to Find Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Original Surname and Village of Origin.  This lecture is a general overview of many record collections, and there are several additional lectures which discuss specific record groups.  At the request of my colleague, Gregory Kontos, I am dividing this topic into three “mini-segments” which I will share in this post, and on YouTube at GreekAncestry  and Spartan Roots.

This first presentation will explore using Immigration, Naturalization, and Alien Registration files. Please note that each of these topics is a one-hour lecture, but I have condensed these into a 24-minute overview in the following video. Additional videos will be added soon and will also appear in this post below this one.


2 thoughts on “Videos: Using U.S. Records to Find Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Original Surname and Village of Origin

  1. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  2. Thank you for all the efforts made for many who have less knowledge than myself. My parents arrived in the USA 100 years ago….not yet married but from the same village. That was a gift of knowledge. My yiayia, born in 1880 in that same village was a font of data. She lived to 1974. The saddest part was our lack of interest in her oft repeated stories which now we are trying to put together. We know more than many thankfully. BUT oh how I’d now love to hear their descriptions of this country, how they adjusted, what they missed. My mother, born in 1902, I again was remiss in not asking about her feelings. She first took me to Greece in 1959….where I learned to love that place my father missed so much. He passed away too young and I took up his voice. When there last summer I saw the ghosts of so many who left…walked the paths around my parents’ homes. Tears for what they lost, yet knowing they did it for the future of their families. That was a success…but at what cost😢

    Sent from my iPhone


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