Beyond the Basics: 1856 Parish Census

There comes a point in any genealogical research where we finish examining the “basic” record sets. To the Greek genealogist, these are:

We have extracted relevant data, entered information into our research databases, saved original images (digitizing any paper copies) and written exact source citations. After evaluating what was found, we decide if we want to go further. Most of us do, but we don’t know how to proceed.

  • What additional records are available?
  • Where are they kept?
  • How can we access them?

To add to our confusion and frustration, we face the language issue. Old documents are generally handwritten and even our familiar surnames can be difficult to decipher. See this 1844 Voter List for my great-grandfather, Andreas Kostakos / Ανδρέας Κωστάκος:  [click on any images in this post to make them larger]

1844 Election Register, Line 1205; Andreas Kostakos, age 35

The first name looks like “Μαθ” not “Ανδ”. The first two and last two letters of the surname, “Κω” and “ος” are easy to read, but I struggled to decipher “στακ” in the middle.

Despite this somewhat daunting scenario of finding and reading records, there is hope! Last month, Gregory Kontos, established a name-searchable website, His goal is to preserve and make accessible records from Greece.  I went to the search page, clicked on Lakonia, and began entering surnames in English. (Searches are bi-lingual and can be done in Greek or English).

In July 2017, I had found the marriage record of my 2nd great-grandmother, Eleni G. Dimitrakakis, at the Metropolis of Sparta, which named her father as Giannakis from Mystras.

Mitropolis of Sparta, Marriage Index Book
Book: Sparta, 1852-1859
Entry #524
License Date: February 13, 1859
Marriage Date: not given
Groom: Panagiotis Lerikos, no father listed; residence: Agios Ioannis
Bride: Eleni Dimitrakakis, father: Giannakis; residence: Mystras
Church: Agios Georgios
First marriage for both bride and groom
Image DSC_0182
Photographed by Carol Kostakos Petranek, July 2017

I wondered if there could be any records for that family, so I typed Dimitrakakis (Δημητρακάκης) and the following results appeared:

Dimitrakakis surname in Lakonia,

The right hand columns give the record collection name and date. Besides the 1844 and 1871 Voter List, there is an 1856 Parish Census. The first entry is for Giannakis Dimitrakakis, my 3rd great-grandfather and his wife, Politimi!

I ordered the record and received the following original image and translation with full source citation. Giannakis Dimitrakakis is on line 67:

1856 Parish Census, Mystras / Kato Chora

1856 Kato Chora Parish Census Transcription

I am so grateful to have this translation! Although the priest’s writing is neat, it is still a challenge to read and I may not have been able to identify my Dimitrakakis name.

Clicking on the “Collections” page of GreekAncestry provides information about this record set and other collections available on the website:

Parish censuses were censuses of all the families of a parish conducted by the local priest. They were important for church organization reasons. A parish census includes the name of the head of the family (which, in some cases, were widows), his wife’s name, as well as the number of their children, male and female.

It’s hard to describe my excitement at learning the name of my 3rd-great grandmother, Politimi, in this document! Finding the names of women in Greek records is especially challenging, which is why this collection is especially important. To learn more, see “Women in Greek Archives – Missing Half of Us.”

I will be sharing any additional “beyond the basics” information that I become aware of  through GreekAncestry and other sources. Stay tuned and stay hopeful–our research can and will move forward!

New Greek Genealogy Website Has Launched!

Launching today is a powerful new tool for Greek genealogists, the website, This is the first digital platform created to meet the needs of people who are researching their families in Greece. The site is bi-lingual, and people can search by name or village, in either English or Greek. For those who struggle to read Greek script, this feature is priceless.

The website hosts over 100,000 images from the following regions in Greece:  Arcadia (Tripolis), Crete (Chania), Lakonia (Sparta) and Messinia (Kalamata). Types of records include: voting lists, military lists, male registers, census records, and many more. The  databases will be updated on a monthly basis.

To assist with navigating the site and ordering records, video tutorials are available:

How to Navigate the Website

How to Search and Order Records

In searching the site for Lakonia, I found the name of my great-grandfather, Andreas Kostakos, in a list of men eligible to vote in 1844 in Sparta. I am so very excited to find many of my Spartan surnames. My research will leap forward now that I can look for specific people in specific villages.

As records from additional areas in Greece are indexed and made available, I know that regular users of will be able to find information previously “hidden” to them. Many people will now be able to link the present to past, and share copies of original records with their families.

Every record that is ordered will come with an English translation, a full source citation, and a digital image. The cost for one record is $8.99, and the price decreases the more records that are ordered. Such a small price to pay for having the luxury of conducting a name-search in Greek records, especially those that are handwritten in old script! is founded by historian and professional Hellenic genealogist, Gregory Kontos. An expert in Greek migration history, Gregory is a leader in the Greek genealogy community. He pioneers digitization projects, supervises indexing teams, and conducts research for people worldwide. I have worked with Greg and have full confidence in his knowledge and trust in his honesty. I wish my friend great success, and thank him for making this service available.

Greece 2019 – Church Books in Villages of Laconia Digitized

Mission accomplished! The existing birth, marriage and death books of all villages in Laconia, which are under the purview of the Metropolis of Sparta and Monemvasia, have been digitized and preserved. At the direction of Bishop Efstathios and under the supervision of Dimitris Skiadas, priests in 139 villages brought their books to the Metropolis office in Sparta.

Father Seraphim examines books to be digitized

The project was organized by Gregory Kontos, Greek Records Specialist for MyHeritage, which provided the camera equipment. I digitized the records, working eight hours per day from June 3-July 9.

Gregory Kontos and Carol Kostakos Petranek set up camera equipment at the Metropolis of Sparta

Church records are of inestimable importance in family history research, as they provide primary source data of life’s major events. In Greece, these books can only be examined on-site; there are few, if any, Greek church records online. This project is the first of its kind in Greece, and Bishop Efstathios is to be recognized and commended for his foresight in preserving the records of the Metropolis and its villages. To my knowledge, he is the first Bishop in Greece to approve such a project. Next summer, we will honor him at a special ceremony in Sparta.

Every priest who brought us his books now has a USB drive with the images, and the Metropolis has a backup of every village book.

Book with USB drive

When the priests arrived to pick up their books, they were delighted to see the USB drive and they told me they will put on the images on their computers. Hopefully, this will “save” the books as they no longer will need to be opened or handled. Many were in poor condition.

Digitized books, with USB drives, are ready for pickup

Papa Panagiotis of the village of Theologos arrives to pick up his books

I was sad to see how much of our history has already been lost. Some of these villages are hundreds of years old, but their records are recent. I asked what happened to their missing books and was disheartened to hear that countless ones which had deteriorated due to age, moisture, mold, insect or water damage were thrown away. Some were used to start fires, others were destroyed during wars. I saw books that were carefully restored, and others that were pathetically neglected.

A future post will describe the books in detail. This one is to provide information on every village and its extant books which have been digitized. Just a handful of churches have records which date prior to 1900, and they are marked with an asterisk. Most books begin around 1912, when the Greek Orthodox Church issued standardized books.

Should you wish to contact a village priest, a list of all the churches under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Sparta can be found here.

Some of these books will eventually be online at MyHeritage, with restrictions due to privacy and information on living people.

Villages Books Years *pre-1900
Afissou, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-65
Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1913-2018
Marriage 1913-2017
Ag. Apostolos Voion, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1959-2015
Birth, Baptism 2017-19
Death 1958-2016
Death 2017-19
Marriage 1958-2014
Marriage 2017-17
Ag. Dimitrios, Monemvasia Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1916-2019
Marriage 1916-2017
Ag. Georgios Voion, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1970-2018
Death 1982-2019
Marriage 1970-2017
Ag. Nikolaos Voion, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1944-72
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1948-2019
Marriage 1953-2019
Aggelona, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1912-69
Birth, Baptism 1971-2018
Death 1912-91
Death 2010-2019
Marriage 1995-2016
Agios Dimitrios Zarakas, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1955-91
Birth, Baptism 1977-2018
Death 1923-55
Death 1946-2000
Marriage 1920-87
Marriage 2002-19
Agios Ioannis, Monemvasia Birth, Baptism 1912-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2013
Birth, Baptism 2014-19
Death 1912-2013
Death 2013-19
Marriage 1914-2013
Marriage 2013-19
Agios Ioannis, Sparta Birth & Baptism 1878-1978 *
Birth & Baptism 1913-1955
Birth & Baptism 1951-1961
Birth, Baptism 1981-2019
Death 1913-1980
Death 1982-2019
Marriage 1914-1981
Marriage 1982-2019
Agios Konstandinos – Regkozena, Kastoreio Baptism 1983-87
Baptism 1998-2018
Birth, Baptism 1972-2002
Marriage 2014-15
Agios Nikolaos, Charisio Sparta Birth, Baptism 1939-72
Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1949-2012
Marriage 1949-74
Marriage 1975-2019
Agios Nikolaos, Monemvasias Birth, Baptism 1924-79
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1917-2018
Marriage 1924-2016
Agios Nikonas   Sparta Birth, Baptism 1938-48
Birth, Baptism 1948-87
Birth, Baptism 1968-73
Birth, Baptism 1972-86
Death 1947-58
Death 1984-2011
Marriage 1948-1986
Marriage 1948-49
Birth, Baptism 1986-2019
B-M-D 1907-20
Death 2012-19
Marriage 1987-2019
Agios Spyridon, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1970-2017
Death 1967-2017
Marriage 1967-2017
Agios Vasileios, Sparta Birth, Baptism 2003-2019
Death 2005-15
Marriage 2006-18
Agoriani, Kastoreio Baptism 2009-2018
Birth, Baptism 1972-2016
Death 1952-2019
Death 2003-2019
Marriage 1951-2018
Alaibei, Panygyritsa, Skala Birth, Baptism 1923-24
Birth, Baptism 1951-2018
Marriage 1957-2018
Alepochori, Geraki Birth, Baptism 1970-2000
Death 1913-2006
Death 2010-
Marriage 1987-2010
Alevrou, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1913-2014 (1969-2014 missing)
Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1914-2019
Marriage 1913-2015
Amykles, Sparta Baptism 2017-2019
Death 2005-2019
Marriage 1994-2019
Marriage 2014-2019
Anavryti, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-1946
Birth, Baptism 1955-
Birth, Baptism 1955-1970
Birth, Baptism 1913-1946
Death 1913-1950
Death 1913-1968
Death 1987-2019
Marriage 1913-1949
Marriage 1913-1983
Marriage 1984-2017
Anogeia, Xirokambi Birth, baptism 1869-1921 *
Birth, baptism 1913-1954
Death 1913-1955
Marriage 1913-1980
Apidea, Vlahioti Baptism varied
Birth, Baptism 1913-96
Birth, Baptism 1972-2019
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1914-2019
Apideas Agios Ioannis, Vlahioti Birth, Baptism 1968-2017
Death 1969-2018
Marriage 1970-2006
Arachova (Karyes or Karyon), Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1913-2017
Marriage 1907-12
Marriage 1912-2018
Arkasadas, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1913-1971
Birth, Baptism 1971-2015
Death 1913-2018
Marriage 1913-2014
Asopos, Asopo Birth, Baptism 1952-75
Birth, Baptism 1970-2017
Death 1952-79
Death 1979-2019
Marriage 1955-2010
Marriage 2011-2019
Asteri (Bryniko), Vlachioti Birth, Baptism 1918-2017
Death 1916-2018
Marriage 1921-2018
Chrysafa, Sparta Birth, baptism 1912-1923
Birth, baptism 1913-1957
Birth, baptism 1955-1970
Death 1915-1966
Marriage 1914-1993
Dafni, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1915-47
Birth, Baptism 1947-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2018
Death 1947-2019
Marriage 1947-2018
Daimonia, Elikas Birth, Baptism 1914-96
Birth, Baptism 1955-2017
Death 1913-97
Death 1997-2018
Marriage 1913-95
Marriage 1997-2018
Elafonisos, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1966-2019
Marriage 1915-33 & 1947-72
Marriage 1972-2019
Elaias, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1977-2018
Death 1958-2019
Marriage 1995-2019
Elika, Elikas Birth, Baptism 1913-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1922-2011
Death 2012-2019
Marriage 1922-2018
Elos (Douraly), Vlachioti Birth, Baptism 1913-54
Birth, Baptism 1955-2007
Birth, Baptism 2008-18
Death 1913-2008
Death 2009-19
Marriage 1914-2008
Marriage 2009-18
Faraklo, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1913-53
Birth, Baptism 1952-2014
Birth, Baptism 1970-2017
Death 1913-2018
Marriage 1913-97
Foinikio, Asopo Birth, Baptism 1966-2018
Death 1966-2009
Marriage 1966-2018
Georgitsi, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1913-54
Birth, Baptism 1916-58
Birth, Baptism 2010-2017
B-M-D 1954-2019
Death 1907-2019
Death 1913-55
Marriage 1912-1950
Geraki, Geraki Birth 1948-2019
B-M-D B 1860-86; M 1860-78; D 1860-77 *
Death 1913-1977
Death 2003-2019
Marriage 1913-1979
Gkoritsa, Geraki Birth, Baptism 1913-50
Birth, Baptism 1952-72
Birth, Baptism 1971-2018
Death 1977-2019
Marriage 1953-2002
Marriage 2002-2019
Glykogrisi (Bezani), Vlahioti Birth, Baptism 1913-59
Birth, Baptism 1971-2018
Death 1913-81
Death 1991-2008
Death 2009-19
Marriage 1913-61
Marriage 1980-2017
Gorani, Xirokambi Baptism 1991-97
Baptism 1998-2018
Birth, Baptism 1933-70
Death 1912-45
Death 1999-2019
Marriage 2014-18
Gounari, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1947-1978
Birth, Baptism 1979-2010
Death 1947-2019
Marriage 1948-2005
Gouves, Vlachioti Birth, Baptism 1915-67
Death 1915-58
Marriage 1937-60
Grammousa, Skala Birth, Baptism 1985-2015
Death 1985-2019
Marriage 1987-2018
Harakas, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 2006-18
Death 2006-18
Marriage 1988-94
Ierakas, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1997-2017
Death 1912-54
Death 1954-86
Death 1986-2000
Death 2000-2019
Marriage 1953-67
Marriage 1986-2018
Kalivia Soha, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1914-1971
Birth, Baptism 1972-2019
Death 1920-2019
Death 2019-
Marriage 1916-2012
Marriage 2010-2019
Kallonis, Geraki Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1988-2018
Marriage 1952-2013
Kalogonia, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1915-69
Birth, Baptism 1967-2018
Death 1969-2019
Marriage 1913-69
Marriage 1969-2018
Kaminia, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1912-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2015
Death 1913-80
Marriage 1913-2011
Kampos Voion, Neapolis B-M-D 1913-52
Birth, Baptism 1954-74
Birth, Baptism 1971-2016
Birth, Baptism 2017-18
Death 1954-2017
Death 2017-18
Marriage 1955-2016
Marriage 2017-18
Karavas, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1973-91
Birth, Baptism 1976-78
Birth, Baptism various
Death 1976-2019
Marriage 1979-2017
Marriage various
Karitsa, Geraki Baptism 2005-07
Death 1996-2019
Marriage 2008-17
Kastanias Voion, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1970-2015
Death 1949-2019
Marriage 1948-2015
Kastorion / Κastania   ΚΑΣ Birth, Baptism 1972-2019
Death 1913-59
Death 1959-2019
Marriage 1913-2017
Kastorion-Kastania, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1913-38
Birth, Baptism 1940-54
Birth, Baptism 1955-71
Kastri, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1912-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2014
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1914-2011
Kefala, Geraki Birth, Baptism 1916-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1916-2019
Marriage 1916-2019
Kladas, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1913-1971
Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1915-2019
Marriage 1914-2019
Koniditsa, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1912-72
Birth, Baptism 1972-2013
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1913-2017
Koulentia (Ellinikou), Elikas Birth, Baptism 1888-1913 *
Birth, Baptism 1915-54
Birth, Baptism 1955-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1916-2018
Marriage 1915-2005
Koupia, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1957-2016
Death 1958-2017
Marriage 1956-2009
Kremasti, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1916-38
Birth, Baptism 1939-53
Birth, Baptism 1954-57
Birth, Baptism 1957-71
Birth, Baptism 1982-2018
Death 1916-18
Death 1971-2019
Marriage 1916-91
Marriage 1994-2018
Krokees/Levetsova, Skala Birth, Baptism 1929-55
Birth, Baptism 1954-2017
Birth, Baptism 1885-1929 *
Death 1946-2017
Death 2018-2019
Death 1914-44
Marriage 2012-2017
Marriage 1914-2011
Kyparissi Zarakos, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1913-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1914-2018
Lachion Voion, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1913-2018
Death 1914-2019
Marriage 1901-1915
Marriage 1913-2017
Lagio, Skala Birth, Baptism 1985-2016
Death 1986-2019
Marriage 2003-14
Lampokambros, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1951-81
Birth, Baptism 1999-2017
Death 1996-2014
Marriage 1923-93
Marriage 2006-11
Lefkohoma, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1972-
Lefkoma (Kydonia & Karaspai), Sparta Birth, Baptism 1914-70
Death 1926-2019
Leimonas, Skala Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1920-2019
Marriage 2006-17
Liantina, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1913-69
Birth, Baptism 1972-89
Death 1916-60
Marriage 1916-85
Lira, Elikas Birth, Baptism 1913-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2014
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1913-2018
Logganikos, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1973-2018
Death 2015-
Marriage 1993-2019
Loggastra, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-59
Birth, Baptism 1959-42
Birth, Baptism 1959-68
Birth, Baptism 1968-2003
Death 1913-2010
Death 1956-2015
Marriage 1913-2003
Marriage 1957-83
Machmoutbei-Amykles, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2002
Birth, Baptism 2004-2018
Death 2005-2019
Marriage 1940-2002
Marriage 2005-2019
Magoula (Agia Irini), Sparta Birth, Baptism 1946-2009
Birth, Baptism 2009-2015
Death 1946-2018
Marriage 1946-2018
Magoula (Koimisi tis Theotokou) Sparta Birth, Baptism 1908-34
Birth, Baptism 1934-48
Birth, Baptism 1970-2009
Birth, Baptism 2009-2019
Death 1913-65
Death 1966-2019
Makrinada, Vlahioti Birth, Baptism 1984-2016
Death 1973-2018
Marriage 1991-98
Megali Vrysi, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1944-95
Birth, Baptism 1974-2017
Death 1944-2018
Marriage 1944-2004
Mesochori, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1910-2018
Death 1935-2019
Marriage 1910-2018
Metamorfosi (Katavothra), Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1912-52
Birth, Baptism 1955-2018
Death 1913-55
Death 1955-2019
Marriage 1912-55
Marriage 1955-2018
Mitropolitikou I. Naou, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-55
Birth, Baptism 1952-69
Molaoi, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1913-54
Birth, Baptism 1913-55
Death 1927-83
Marriage 1913-55
Monemvasia, Monemvasia Birth, Baptism 1912-70
Birth, Baptism 1971-2019
Death 1912-86
Death 2000-19
Marriage 1913-97
Marriage 2001-2018
Mystras, Sparta Baptism 1938-72
Birth 1882-87 *
Birth, Baptism 1860-85 *
Birth, Baptism 1913-1972
Birth, Baptism 1917-1977
Birth, Baptism 1972-2019
Birth, Baptism (Kato Hora) 1913-1940
Death 1885-98 *
Death 1916-1991
Death 2017-
Death 1913-2016
Death (Kato Hora) 1913-1939
Marriage 1883-89 *
Marriage 1917-1970
Marriage 1913-2019
Marriage (Kato Hora) 1913-1939
Β-Μ-D 1906-1914
Mytrea, Vlachioti Birth, Baptism 1914-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1914-2018
Neapoli, Neapolis Baptism 1962-68
Birth, Baptism 1912-42
Birth, Baptism 1941-55
Birth, Baptism 1955-60
Birth, Baptism 1970-2018
Death 1912-42
Death 1941-1984
Death 1985-2019
Marriage 1912-42
Marriage 1941-1994
Marriage 1994-2018
Niata, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1914-35, 80-88
Birth, Baptism 1914-48
Birth, Baptism 1948-56
Birth, Baptism 1949-2018
Death 1913-79
Death 1981-2019
Marriage 1960
Marriage 1913-78
Marriage 1948, 57-65
Marriage 1979-2018
Nomia, Monemvasia Baptism 1995-2009
Birth, Baptism 1924-53
Birth, Baptism 1952-2004
Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1925-2019
Marriage 1924-2019
Pakia, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1915-55
Birth, Baptism 1971-2017
Death 1913-55
Death 1955-2019
Marriage 1913-54
Marriage 1955-2017
Palaiochori, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1916-1971
Palaiopanagia, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1918-1945
Birth, Baptism 1954-2016
Death 1913-1952
Death 2003-2018
Marriage 1913-1945
Pantanassa, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1912-71
Birth, Baptism 1972-2005
Birth, Baptism 2005-18
Death 1913-2005
Death 2006-18
Marriage 1913-2004
Marriage 2006-18
Papadianikon, Asopo Birth, Baptism 1955-97
Birth, Baptism 1996-99
Birth, Baptism 1997-2019
Death 1955-57
Death 1960-2000
Death 1997-2019
Marriage 1955
Marriage 1960-2001
Marriage 1997-2019
Pardaliou, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1938-2010
Death 1928-2019
Marriage  1930-2017
Parori, Sparta Birth, baptism 1911-1979
Birth, baptism 1972-2011
Birth, baptism 2011-2018
Death 1913-2011
Death 2011-2018
Marriage 1914-2010
Marriage 2012-2017
Pellana, Kastoreio Birth, Baptism 1912-54
Birth, Baptism 1955-85
Death 1912-92
Death 1920-2016
Death 1993-2019
Marriage 1913-95
Perivolion, Kastoreio Baptism 2018-2018
Birth, Baptism 1894-1999 *
Death 1894-2018 *
Marriage 1894-2015 *
Pikoulianika, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1913-1972
Birth, Baptism 1975-2019
Death 1916-2019
Marriage 1916-2019
Platana, Sparta Baptism 1984-97
Baptism 1999-2015
Birth, Baptism 1972-2014
Death 1984-2019
Marriage 1985-2006
Marriage 1987-2006
Polovitsa, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1913-66; 2002, 03, 05, 15
Death 1912-2018
Marriage 1914-2010
Potamia, Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1950-2018
Marriage 1950-2017
Reicheas, Molaoi Baptism 1980
Birth, Baptism 1946-54
Birth, Baptism 1946-62
Birth, Baptism 1963-70
Birth, Baptism 2011-18
Death 1951-70
Death 2011-19
Marriage 1991
Marriage 1948-65
Marriage 1968-74
Marriage 2011-16
Riviotissi, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1957-2019
Marriage 1985-2018
Riza-Vafeio, Sparta Birth, Baptism 2004-
Death 2005-
Marriage 2005-
Sellasia, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1940-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2018
Death 1965-2017
Marriage 1986-2017
Sikaraki, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1947-78
Birth, Baptism 1969-75
Birth, Baptism 1979-2016
B-M-D 1920-47
Death 1982-2019
Marriage 1982-2017
Skala, Skala Birth, Baptism 1954-72
Birth, Baptism 1969-2019
Death 1957-1968
Death 1990-2019
Death 1994-2002
Death 2002-2019
Marriage 1939-68
Marriage 1968-2000
Marriage 1995-2002
Marriage 2000-2019
Marriage 2002-2018
Sklavohori (Amykles), Sparta Birth, Baptism 1955-2018
Birth, Baptism 1916-48
Death 1919-2003
Death 2017-2019
Marriage 1914-1989
Skoura, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1911-1971
Birth, Baptism 1970-2017
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1913-2017
Stefania, Skala Birth, Baptism 1986-2018
Death 1988-2019
Marriage 1988-2019
Sykea, Molaoi Birth, Baptism 1860-1906 *
Birth, Baptism 1912-39
Birth, Baptism 1939-2009
Birth, Baptism 1963-2019
Birth, Baptism 1978-2019
Death 1859-1913 *
Death 1912-81
Death 1981-2019
Marriage 1912-2007
Marriage 1964-2018
Marriage 1979-2017
Talanta, Elikas Birth, Baptism 1960-83
Birth, Baptism 1972-85
Birth, Baptism 1986-2015
Death 1933-60
Death 1960-88
Death 1985-2019
Marriage 1961-2018
Theologos, Kalyvia Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1917-1978
Birth, Baptism 1972-2016
Death 1917-2017
Marriage 1917-2003
Theologos, Vresthenon Birth, baptism 1972-2013
Birth, Baptism 1973-2019
Death 1913-2017
Marriage 1913-2016
Marriage 1913-2016
Marriage 1907-1912
Trapezontis, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1934-95
Birth, Baptism 2005-19
Death 1936-97
Death 2005-16
Marriage 1992-2011
Tripi, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1917-2018
Death 1913-78; 1985 (1); 1905 (1)
Death 1981-2019
Marriage 1913-2018
Tsasi, Filisi, Peristeri, Skala Baptism, Marriage 1948-52
Birth, Baptism 1952-80
Birth, Baptism 1980-2016
Death 1910-23
Death 1980-2019
Marriage 1910-30
Marriage 1930-64
Marriage 1979-2013
Tseramio, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1970-2017
Death 1972-2018
Marriage 1972-2018
Tsouni – Kokkinorahi, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1912-2019
Death 1912-2019
Marriage 1914-2019
Vamvakou, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1914-55
Birth, Baptism 1955-70
Birth, Baptism 1971-99
Death 1914-2004
Marriage 1914-2004
Marriage 1914-78
Varsova, Sparta Birth, Baptism 1912-2017
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1913-2018
Varvitsa, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1924-1978
Birth, Baptism 1972-2000
Vasilaki (Tarapsa), Xirokambi Birth, Baptism 1911-91
Birth, Baptism 1997-2018
Marriage 1953-75
Marriage, Death 1912-2016
Vasiliki, Xirokambi Baptism 1983-2010
Birth, Baptism 1971-73
Death 1973-76
Marriage various
Vassara, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1901-1957
Birth, Baptism 1957-2019
Death 1913-1956
Death 1957-2019
Marriage 1913-1956
Marriage 1957-2015
Velanidia, Neapolis Birth, Baptism 1915-38
Birth, Baptism 1939-69
Birth, Baptism 1969-71
Birth, Baptism 1971-2003
Birth, Baptism 2004-18
Death 1915-74
Death 2004-19
Marriage 1915-2003
Marriage 2004-13
Velies, Monemvasia Birth, Baptism 1970-2018
Death 1947-2019
Marriage 1943-2015
Verdaeiika, Kastoreio Death 2013-2013
Vlachioti, Vlachioti Birth, Baptism 1912-52
Birth, Baptism 1949-81
Birth, Baptism 1981-2019
Death 1912-78
Death 1978-2003
Death 2003-19
Marriage 1912-78
Marriage 1978-2002
Marriage 2003-18
Vordonia, Kastoreio Baptism 1976-1979
Baptism 1982-90
Baptism 1991-2017
Birth, Baptism 1934-1954
Birth, Baptism 1954-75
Birth, Baptism 1972-2013
Death 2011-2019
Marriages 1978-2011
Marriages 1978-90
Marriages 2005-2017
Marriages 1992-2012
Voutiani, Vresthenon Baptism 1899-1921 *
Birth 1899-1920 *
Birth, Baptism 1913-72
Birth, Baptism 1972-2017
Death 1899-1921 *
Death 1913-2019
Marriage 1900-1920
Marriage 1914-2018
Vresthena, Vresthenon Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Birth, Baptism 1982-2019
Death 1913-81
Marriage 1913-2019
Vrondamas, Geraki Birth, Baptism 1972-2018
Death 1978-2019
Marriage 1972-2018
Vroulia (Sellasia), Vresthenon Baptism 1892-1910 *
Baptism 1893-1907  *
B-M-D 1872-1907 *
Xirokambi, Xirokambi Birth & Baptism 1879-1889; 1892-1901; 1903-1906; 1907-1912   *
Birth & Baptism 1913-2014
Birth & Baptism 1963-1958; 1961-1971
Death 1913-2018
Marriage 1893-2015  *
Zarafona (Kallithea), Geraki Birth, Baptism 2004-15
Death 2010-19
Marriage 2002-19
Zerbitsa Monastery, Xirokambi Baptism 1975-87
Baptism 1988-91
Baptism 1991-92
Baptism 1994-96
Baptism 1996-98
Baptism 1999-2009
Baptism 2009-2019
Zoupena, Geraki Baptism 1984-98
Baptism 1999-2017
Birth, Baptism 1914-47; 1964
Birth, Baptism 1966-84
Birth, Baptism 1971-2017
Death 1966-2004
Death 2005-19
Marriage 2001-12
Marriage 2014-2018


Dowry Contracts: Pictures of the Past

We have pictures of the past, but not the full image. When I first heard Giannis Michalakakos make this comment, I accepted its veracity–but with reluctance. I want the full image of my ancestors’ lives! A Male Register, Town Register, or Election List may provide a birth year and an occupation. But a Contract reveals so much more. Who purchased land, and from whom and where? Who borrowed money, and from whom and why? Who was the bride, and whom did she marry? What did her family provide for her dowry?

On 11 July 1864, four men gathered at the office of Konstandinos Dimopoulos, notary of Sparta, to execute a dowry contract: Nikolaos Athanasios Kanakakos of Sikaraki (groom), Panagiotis Kavvouris of Agios Ioannis (father of Marigo, the bride), Georgios Stathopoulos of Magoula (witness) and Ilias Kalogerakos of Parori (witness). These men were engaging in an honored tradition that was instituted in ancient times and not officially rescinded in Greece until 1983.

My maternal grandparents, Ilias Papagiannakos and Aggeliki Eftaxias, 1914, New York

A  marriage dowry (prika) was a custom adapted from Eastern cultures. Created by economic need, it was prevalent an era when the roles of men and women were defined by a patriarchal society. Especially in mainland Greece, families generally were poor. Men were farmers, landowners, shepherds; or worked in handcrafts such making baskets, ropes, or leather items. Women were homemakers.

When a new union was formed, both were expected to contribute items needed to establish the home. The bride’s dowry provided household or clothing items, property or animals. The groom provided a house and income for the family. Thus, both bequeathed what they could to secure a foundation for their new marriage.

The Kavvouris-Kanakakos contract is translated below. It is a fascinating picture which helps us better understand the image of life in mid-1800’s Sparta. Commentary and historical information is added with footnotes or brackets, and photographs are representations of the types of items the dowry contains.

Page 1 of 4, Dowry Contract 463. Panagiotis Kavvouris and Nikolaos Athanasios Kanakakos, Sparta, Greece. July 11, 1864. Source: General Archives of Greece:

Contract 463, 11.7.1864, Dowry and Notary Deed
On this day, 11 July, Saturday, at 12:00 noon of year 1864, came before me, Konstandinos Dimopoulos, notary and citizen of Sparta, to my home and office, being east of the Church of Evangelismo of Theotokos,1  Panagiotis Kavvouris, estate owner and farmer of Agios Ioannis of Sparta on one hand, and on the other Nikolaos Athanasiou Kanakakos, farmer and citizen of the neighborhood, Sikaraki, of Agios Ioannis of the municipality of Sparta; both are familiar to me and of legal status. In my presence and the witnesses, they sign this dowry contract after my explanation of the laws.

Panagioti Kavvouris makes an agreement with Nikolaos Athanasios Kanakakos to give Nikolaos his daughter, Marigo, as his legal wife according to the holy rules of the Orthodox Church. The groom takes from the maternal and paternal legacy: 

1.  Two tall fezes (kind of traditional hat)
2.  Gemenia – women’s head cover
Three basinas – a bowl for cooking
Three sets of kreponia – women’s clothing, dark in color
Twelve madilia – women’s head cover
One pair of vergetes– earrings, expensive
One silver cross
Three silver rings
One pair of crystal dessert plates
Six dessert spoons
One serving dish
Two men’s vests, decorated with fur

Man’s vest with fur

13. Ten women’s skirts
Two dresses
Twenty-five shirts
Twelve sets of underwear
Two men’s fustanella 

Traditional fustanella; Flickr Creative Commons

18. Two disakia (small packages to hold items)
19.  Two paploma, bed comforters
Ten soaps
Two makatia. decorative sofa covers
Eleven big pillows
Four small pillows
Two andromedes (unknown)
One peskidi (a nice throw cover for the sofa)
26.  T
wo table scarfs/covers for the dining room table
Two nice scarfs/covers for chair backs and arm rests
Six fakiolia, small women’s head covers
Eight mpoiles, a kind of towel
Twelve spoons, knives and forks
Twelve plates
Seven mpouxades, wool cloth which hold liquids when making cheese
Eight vrakozones, traditional men’s clothing worn below the waist
34.  T
wo casellas, similar to a hope chest which hold clothing and linens
Two kapaki, cooking pots with covers

Kapaki, cooking pans with covers

36.  One 
tapsi, circular metal roasting pan used in ovens

Woman holding a circular tapsi; on the right is a vethoura

37. One harani – metal bucket that can hold one okres (a unit of measure)
38. Two siderostia – iron tripods to hang pots over an open fire
39. One pan

Kitchen items, mid-1800’s, Greece

40. One stremma [unit of measure] with 14 olive trees located in the borders of Agios Ioannis, Sparta. The land is bordered:  on the east with a national estate [land which belongs to the municipality], on the west with Panagioti Kamarados, on the north with Giannis Giannos, in the south with Georgios Bakopoulos.

41. One individual estate, a small field, two stremmata with all it contains [perhaps a small hut] and 7 small trees located in the location Sourakaki of Agios Ioannis, Sparta; it borders:  on the east with a road, on the west with church fields, on the north with the national estate, and on the south with Pangiotis Pachigiannis.

42. Some trees that were planted in the national field in the location Kefalari of Agios Ioannis, Sparta; and borders on the east with Saltafilda [probably a neighborhood or other location], on the west with the road, on the north with Panagiotis Kavvouris and on the south with a road.8

43. Twenty barrels containing orange trees that the groom took a few days ago to replant them in his own land.

The total of the dowry and property (moved and unmoveable) is 1,463 drachmas.4

The groom, Nikolaos Athanasios Kanakakos,5 expresses that he accepts Marigo as his legal wife and the dowry given by her father. He understands exactly the dowry that was previously reported and offered to him by Marigo. He also offers Marigo 500 drachmas [bridewealth].6

The two sides additionally, with me the contract maker, evaluate the total value of all things as 1,963 drachmas plus the postcard [the notary’s fee].

To verify this contract and this dowry, the two sides listened to the dowry spoken aloud and clearly, and agreed to it.

Called as witnesses: Georgios Stathopoulos, estate owner and citizen of Magoula and Ilia Kalogerakos, farmer and citizen of Parori of the municipality of Sparta. They are familiar to me, they are Greek citizens without any legal exceptions, and they verify this contact because because neither of the two sides can sign their names.7

Maniate men in Sparta. Many people from the Mani region, like the Kanakakos family, moved north to Sparta after the Revolution.

I initially became acquainted–and fascinated–with contracts during my first trip to the Sparta Archives in 2014, when I went with Gregory Kontos. This 2015 post describes a contract, translated by Gregory, for the purchase of land by Panagiotis Iliopoulos of Machmoutbei. Each succeeding research trip has yielded new information, as documented recently in Research in the Archives of Sparta.

Contracts are challenging: not many are digitized or online, paper copies are difficult for Archivists to obtain, and the handwriting is akin to hieroglyphics. But with good luck and good friends, they can be accessed and interpreted, enlightening our understanding and giving us a fuller (albeit not full) picture of our ancestors’ lives.

Important note: This post would not have been possible without the assistance of Giannis Michalakakos, teacher, historian, and author of Maniatika blog. Giannis completed all translations, found the photos, and provided the historical content to explain the customs of this era. I am grateful for his friendship and expertise.


1  This exact description of the location of the Dimopoulos home and office is given because Sparta in the mid-1800s had few roads and no street addresses.

Many of descriptive words come from the Ottoman period and are unrecognizable in today’s language; they may be a hybrid mix of Greek, Ottoman and Venetian vocabulary and are no longer in use.

When a meal is prepared using a tapsi, it is also served from it; the family would sit around and eat out of it together. A vethoura, the double pot on the right, is where sheeps’ milk is stored.

This is a sizeable dowry, indicating that the bride’s family had financial means.

5Kanakakos is a big family in Mani; members were officers in the Army and heroes in the Revolution of 1821.

6 As a bride brings a dowry, sometimes, a groom will offer a sum of money or property to the bride’s parents to help establish the new home.

7 Normally, there would be five signatures: the groom, the bride’s father, the two witnesses and the notary. In this contract, only the witnesses and notary signed as the groom and bride’s father were unable to write their names.

8 After marriage, land named in the dowry belongs to the bride’s husband. The property was given by her father to establish her new home. In 1800s Sparta, divorce was unheard of; and men were responsible for providing and maintaining financial security of the family.

Greece 2017. Archives Research: Sparta

Sparta–the nexus of my family. Wouldn’t you think that three weeks would be ample for research? I worked hard, but I ran out of time. And my “next trip” list continues to grow.

My home base was the General Archives of Greece, Sparta office. Pepi Gavala, Archivist, and her staff, Michalis and Electra, are friends. They welcomed me with much hospitality, patiently answered endless questions and fulfilled requests for many records.

Sparta office of the General Archives of Greece, July 2017

While searching Dimotologion (Town Records), I worked at a computer as these records have been digitized (accessibility is strictly at the Archives, not online). While searching books and documents, I piled records onto the conference room table and spread out as needed.

Sparta office, General Archives of Greece

After three visits (2014, 2016, 2017), how much more can I find there? A lot–and I’m not finished.

As my research expands into collateral lines, I desire to learn about the families that merged with mine. Some days, I spent a full 6-hours finding “new” families in the same Town Registers that I had searched in previous years. My work has expanded into School Records, which are critical in finding the names of girls which may not be found in other records.

And this year, I branched into Contracts. These were written and certified by notaries and include dowries, powers of attorney, deeds, debts and other legal matters. Michalis explained that there are 60 files of contracts, but only two have been digitized and uploaded to the Archives of Laconia page of the GAK website. The others must be pulled from paper files.

The staff have painstakingly compiled name indexes of some of the notary files. These  indexes are kept in notebooks, organized by the name of the notary. Here is a sample page from the notebook for the notary, Konstandinos Dimopoulos.

How to Access Dimopoulos Notarial Records Online

Let’s use the page above as an example.  Note: each step below is hyperlinked (blue text) to the corresponding page on the website.

  1. Find the name of interest: surname, first name, middle initial.  I found Zarafonitis, Ilias of Sklavachori, 2nd from the bottom (red arrow on left)
  2. Look at the reference number (green arrow on right). Write down that number, which is 362/2.5.1864. This means:  the contract number is #362; and the date is 2 March 1864.
  3. Click on this link
  4. This is the page that will appear. The red arrow points to the name of Konstandinos Dimopoulos, so you are on the correct webpage.

Web page for the records of notary, Konstandinos Dimopoulos

Click on the Contents tab.

The following page will appear. Within the red box, we see that there are 26 Files. This screen shot shows Files #001-005.

The Dimopoulos web page contains 26 files

Each of the 26 files has between 200-300 contracts within. There is a total of 7,611 contracts in this collection This is a list of the contract numbers within each file:
File #:   Contract #
File 1: 1-350
File 2: 351-550
File 3: 551-850
File 4: 851-1150
File 5: 1151-1450
File 6: 1451-1760
File 7: 1761-2060
File 8: 2061-2360
File 9: 2361-2650
File 10: 2651-2950
File 11: 2951-3280
File 12: 3281- 3580
File 13: 3581- 3900
File 14: 3901-4200
File 15: 4201-4550
File 16: 4551-4850
File 17: 4851-5150
File 18: 5151-5400
File 19: 5401-5700
File 20: 5701-6000
File 21: 6001-6300
File 22: 6301-6600
File 23: 6601-6900
File 24: 6901-7200
File 25: 7201-7400
File 26: 7401-7611

Now, let’s navigate the website to find documents for the example of Ilias Zarafonitis, reference number 362/2.5.1864. The list above shows that contract number 362 is found under File 2.

On the website, first click on File 2, then click the tab, Contents. This is the page that appears. The Item numbers are the contracts found under File 2 (#351 – #550):

File 2 includes contract numbers 351-550

Scroll down to Item #362; click on the words Item #362, then the tab, Contents. The page below appears. Next, click on the Reproductions tab that is highlighted by the red box.

Description of Item 2, Contract #362

It is under this Reproductions tab that the digitized documents appear: Take_001 is page one, and Take_002 is page two of the Ilias Zarafonitis contract #362/2.5.1864. To view the images, click on each one; they can be downloaded.

Pages 1 and 2 of Contract #362 for Ilias Zarafonitis

Contract: Ilias Zarafonitis and Spyros Economidis, page 1

Contract: Ilias Zarafonitis and Spyros Economidis, page 2


This is a contract between Ilias Zarafonitis of Sklavachori and Spyros Economidis of Sklavachori. Ilias has purchased 1/3 of a dwelling and 1/3 of its field from Spyros, for the amount of 362 drachmas. The witnesses are Ioannis Athanasopoulos of Sklavachori and Anagnostis Ilias Zografos of Sparta. The contract is dated 2 March 1864.

This document places these four men in their respective villages in 1864, an era with minimal documents. It also raises some questions: why would Ilias purchase only 1/3 of a dwelling and field? What relationship does he have with Spyros, if Spyros owns the remaining 2/3? How much is 362 drachmas worth in today’s money?

I am excited to step into the world of Contracts, but I cannot do so alone. My language skills are minimal, and my ability to read these documents is impossible. When I reach this impasse, I call upon Giannis Michalakakos (who translated this document) and Gregory Kontos. Their friendship is precious and their help is immeasurable.

Future posts will explore some of the Contracts I am accessing.

Previous posts have explained what I have learned about Male Registers, Town Registers, and School Registers in the Sparta Archives:

Archives of Sparta: Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers)

Archives of Sparta: Dimotologion (Town Register) Records

School Records from Sparta: Finding Your Ancestors as Children