1997 – My first visit to St. Johns, the home village of three of my grandparents.

My name is Carol Kostakos Petranek, and I am of Greek ancestry with roots in villages near Sparta. My paternal grandparents (Andrew John Kostakos & Hariklia Aridas) and maternal grandfather (Ilias Papagiannakos/Louis Pappas) were born in Agios Ioannis (St. Johns), and my maternal grandmother (Angelina Eftaxias) was born in Mystras.

I love family history research and have been tracing my roots for the past 30 years. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in a predominantly Greek neighborhood close to extended family. I live in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and work as a volunteer Co-Director of the Washington, D.C. Family History Center and a citizen archivist/genealogy aide  at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I write books and articles, give presentations, and I assist others in writing their personal and family histories.

I am an active member of the Greek genealogy community where I assist people with research in Greek records and I organize and speak at Greek genealogy conferences.  I take research trips to Sparta, Greece in the summers and enjoy time visiting with family and friends there. For the past several years, I have volunteered to preserve records in the Sparta area. I have digitized marriage records at the Metropolis of Sparta from 1835-1935 and all of the birth, marriage and death books in 140 villages of Laconia. It brings me much joy to be able to preserve the records of my ancestral villages.

I am always updating and adding new information through continuing research. I have family trees online at FamilySearch, Ancestry and MyHeritage.  Please contact me via email by using the form below. I would love to hear from  you!


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