Archives of Sparta: Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers)

After the Revolution of 1821 when the land of Hellas victoriously overthrew 400 years of Ottoman Rule, the “new” country of Greece began to form a central government. As a means of enumerating males who would pay taxes and serve in the military, the Mitroon Arrenon or Male Register was instituted. Every village was required to maintain a list of male births, the year and place of birth, father’s name and father’s occupation. Over time, these official government registers have also substituted as official birth records.

They are a most valuable and very important genealogical resource.

Mitroon Arrenon, Agios Ioannis, Sparta: 1844-1847

 

Mitroon Arrenon can be found in the Dimarheion (Town Hall) of the municipality in which the village is located. Some regional offices of the General Archives of Greece may also have copies for villages in their area of jurisdiction. If you are taking a research trip, you must locate these records because, except for rare cases, they are not digitized or found online in the regional Archive offices mentioned above, or at the Dimarheion websites.

My previous post, Reading a Town Register and a Male Register, gives further information on how to read a Male Register.

The Sparta office of the General Archives of Greece has some Mitroon Arrenon in their collection. They can be contacted at:  mail@gak.lak.sch.gr. The staff can read and speak English. Be sure that you include an approximate birth year of your male ancestor, along with his original surname and exact village of birth. Remember that records are created in specific villages, as shown by the list below.

Mitroon Arrenon Records in the Sparta Archive Office
(Note: smaller villages, hamlets and neighborhoods will be found in the record of the larger, closest town)
Anavryti:  1839-1923
Agios Ioannis: 1835-1930
Alepochori, Geronthon: 1830-1950
Alikon, Messi: 1845-1915
Ano Volarion: 1865-early 1900’s
Aeropoli: 1837-1915
Archontikou, Melitinis: 1844-1915
Vatheia, Messi: 1836-1914
Vachou, Laconia: 1839-1915
Vresthena: 1831-1924 and 1925-1939
Geraki, Geronthron: 1826-1914
Germas, Teos: 1836-1915
Gerolimenos, Teos: 1845-1914
Gytheio: 1836-1915
Dafni: 1837-1935
Exo Nyfi: 1841-1915
Karitsa, Geronthron: 1841-1914
Karvela, Teos: 1814-1913
Kelefas, Teos: 1830-1915
Konakion, Teos: 1829-1914
Kotronos: 1831-1914
Kittas, Messi: 1845-1913
Kounou, Teos: 1831-1915
Kryoneriou, Oitylo: 1846-1913
Mystra: 1824-1915
Pyrgos, Oitylo: 1845-1914
Lymperdou, Malevriou: 1842-1915
Minas, Oitylo: 1845-1915
Neo Oitylo: 1834-1915
Neohori, Gytheio: 1840-1915
Dritsis: 1865-1901
Oitylo: 1840-1915
Sidokastron: 1845-1915
Skamnaki: 1825-1915
Sparta: currently not available
Trachilas: 1830-1915
Tzerovas: 1839-1912

If you need a village that is not on this list, or a different year range for a village that is on this list, you will need to visit the Dimarheion (Town Hall) that houses the records for that village.

 

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Reading a Town Register and a Male Register

My friend and Greek genealogist, Gregory Kontos, prepared some excellent handouts for the Hellenic Genealogy Conference in Salt Lake City on September 26, 2015.

This is a sample of a Dimotologion Koinothtos, or Town Register. It is similar to a U.S. census record as it lists the families in the villages, with parents and children’s names, birthdates, birth places, and other relevant information. These records were created in the 1900’s. The oldest families will have parents born in the late 1800’s, with their children born in the early-mid 1900’s. To my knowledge, there is no such record collection dated earlier than this timeframe, which is unfortunate as we cannot go back to find a father or a mother in this record, when he/she is listed as a child in their parents’ family.

This is page 1 of 2.

Dimotologion 1st page description

 

Here is an example of the 1st page of the Dimotologion, with an entry translated into English.

Dimotologion extracted 1st page

This is page 2 of a Dimotologion. It gives additional information about each person in the family.

Dimotologion 2nd page description

This is a Mitroon Arrenon, or Male Register. It is a record of every male born in a village. It was kept by the government for military draft purposes, and is considered an official register of birth.

Mitroon Arrenon 1st page description

These two record sets are the backbone of genealogy research in Greece. The regional offices of the General State Archives of Greece (GAK) have books with these record collections for the villages over which they have jurisdiction.

A list of the Regional  GAK offices can be found here: http://www.gak.gr/Cont/cont-py-00.html. The page can be translated into English using Google translate. If you write for information, include whatever you know about the family you are searching. It is especially important to know the spelling of the original surname in Greek (e.g., Papagiannakos, not just Pappas). You must also know the exact village and its location because there are many villages with the same name (e.g., not just Agios Ioannis, but Agios Ioannis Sparta).

Surnames from the Mitroon Arrenon of Mystras, Laconia

I am researching several ancestral lines in Mystras, including that of my maternal grandmother, Aggeliki Eftaxias. During my visit to the General State Archives office in Sparta in July 2014, I digitized several pages of the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Register) for this city. The earliest year in these registers is 1824. Interestingly, this is right in the midst of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829).

The surnames below are extracted from the pages that I obtained, which is not the complete record. Villages included in these records are: Mystras, Vlachohori, Varsinikos, Pikoulianika, Parori, Katochora, Diaselos.

The Sparta Archives office can assist you with further research. The email address is: mail@gak.lak.sch.gr. Maria Stellakou, Michalis Sovolos, and Pepi Gavala are exceptional archivists and dear friends.

Surnames from Mitroon Arrenon of Mystras

Surnames from Agios Ioannis (St. Johns), Sparta

During my visit to the Archives in Sparta last summer, I obtained pages of the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers) for the village of Agios Ioannis, Sparta. The records begin in 1844. This village is the birthplace of three of my four grandparents (Papagiannakos, Kostakos, Aridas/Michalakakos). Almost every page had surnames of my grandparents’ families, or those who married into my family. I was thrilled to have copies of these records!

I am ever-grateful to the staff at the GAK in Sparta: Pepi Gavala (Archivist), Maria Stellakou, and Michalis Sovolos. They are kind, gracious and most helpful!

Below is an index of the surnames in the pages that I obtained (this list may not be complete.

Surnames - Agios Ioannis

Birpatakos in Mitroon Arrenon

Recently, I purchased a Flip-Pal scanner which has been a terrific tool for digitally scanning the over-sized pages which I received from the Greek Archives office in Sparta. As I began to scan the Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers), I reviewed each page to see if I had missed any surnames that are in my family line. As I looked at each line in the image below, I was aghast to find that I had overlooked this name on line 7:  Μπιρμπατακος, Νικολαος (Birpatakos, Nikolaos), born 1879, father’s name Emmanouel.

This is the husband of Tasoula Kostakos, my grandaunt and the sister of my paternal grandfather! Furthermore, Nikolaos is listed immediately below my grandfather, John Andew Kostakos (on line 6)!

Birpatakos, Nikolaos m Tasoula Kostakos, Mitroon Arrenon

As I thought about how I could have possibly overlooked this initially, two things came to mind.  First, I was so excited to find my grandfather’s name that I mentally “checked out” of everything else on that page. Second, the English letter, “B”, is spelled “Mp” in Greek (this is because the Greek letter “B” is translated into the English letter “V” — totally confusing!). My mind knew I did not have any names starting with “M” in this village, so when I saw the “Mp” on line 7, I didn’t even bother to read the surname.

As soon as I caught this oversight, I went through every other Mitroon Arrenon that I had received, and sure enough, I found some other surnames that I had missed the first time around.

Lesson learned — read everything at least twice when you first receive it. Then, a few months later, read it all again!

This is proof that sometimes we create our own “brick walls” because we don’t review our prior research. We are continually learning and building upon new information that we receive, and going back to see what we have can reveal new insights and unearth valuable clues.

In this case, I “found” someone’s record that I already had!