Genealogy Search Methodology

Performing a Search for Greek genealogy in Greece

Here is a part of my methodology for searching Hellenic genealogy.

You initially provide me with:

The name of an individual or Greek family name in English or Greek, if known.

The date of birth of an individual, if known.

The first name of the father, and mother if available, and dates of birth, if known.

The last known location or address, a village, an area, or municipality of the family member in Greece.

Clarify the information that you want when making your request for the Greek family history.

Why do I ask for a location? There are many family names that are similar in Greece and many of them are not related.  Some of them may even be within the proximity of the area that is specified.

The more information you provide the easier and faster the genealogical search will be and therefore the lower the cost.  With the information that you provide, I will be able to deliver you the best results of your genealogy in Greece.

I perform a preliminary verification of the information as part of my genealogy research strategy to provide you with a quotation.  This is also done to minimize any unauthorized requests for family details.

If your require more information after the initial family search, then I perform a deeper search to provide you with the additional findings such as the relationships between generations, e.g. digital and hard copies of legal certificates, digital photographs, genealogical ancestry chart, etc. for your Greek records.

I make every attempt to obtain results as quickly as possible while maintaining objectivity, reliability, and confidentiality.  The time required to perform genealogical research is based on many factors including depth of the genealogy search and Greek government bureaucracy but existing family vital records are the real foundation.

The end result is the conclusion that is included in the final report of the project based on the type of Greek research performed, e.g. genealogical, heirs and beneficiaries in Greece, etc. depending on the requirements of the your search.

Greek genealogy will not provide you with a family crest or other intrinsic items simply because that does not exist in modern Greek history.

An estimate of the time and cost is made from the start except in extreme cases, e.g. where ambiguity exists in a family name and location that may be replicated elsewhere or may not exist.

Discover Greece's genealogy and open history from the past to the present for your family.

Contact me with the above information for an initial estimate by completing this form.

Obstructions in Greek Genealogy

During the research of Greek ancestry, nature and war inhibit the search for vital records because of their destruction.

These events may have destroyed some or partial records for the period shown depending upon the damages inflicted upon the buildings that housed the records.

As such, I am listing the wars and earthquakes of various periods to help you understand that these events had a devastating impact upon the lives of those who you may be searching for information and explains the lack of vital records.

Genocide of the Armenians, Greeks and Pontic people

Historical chronology of the Genocide of the Armenians, Greeks and Pontic people.

Everyone who is interested in learning about their Greek family heritage should read the following links to better understand the history of their ancestors.

Chronology and Timeline of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1917)

Chronology and Timeline of the Greek Pontus Genocide (1914-1923)

Pontic Greeks

The Greek genocide

Pontus (region)

Chronology and Timeline of the Catastrophe of Asia Minor

Wars in Greece

There were so many wars in Greece that affected the origins of the people.
Here is a synopsis based upon the information provided by Wikipedia.

The Conflict of the Souliotes 1788 1803
The Greek Revolution 1821
Cretan Revolution 1866 1869
Russian-Turkish War 1877 1878
Cretan Revolution 1897
Greek-Turkish War 1897
The Macedonian Conflict 1904 1908
First Balkan War September 1912 May 1913
Second Balkan War June 1913 July 1913
World War I June 1914 November 1918
Greco-Turkish War (Asia Minor) May 1918 October 1922
World War II and the Greco-Italian (Albanian Balkan Campaign) War September 1939 and 28 October 1940 23 April 1941 and September 1945
Greek Civil War *
March 1946 August 1949
Turkish invasion of Cyprus July 1974 August 1974

* It should be noted that the Greek Civil War continues to be a very sensitive issue today.

Greek Army Archive of Military Records

Requesting Your Relatives Military Records

The Military Archives of the Army may be able to provide a copy of the Military Service Records (Φύλλο Πορείας) for those who served from about 1880 to the present.

Due to changes in the privacy laws of the EU, applicants wishing to receive this information are now requested to provide proof of their relationship using two documents:
a certificate of next of kin, and
a certificate of death of the individual who served in the armed forces, in this case the army.

The above documents must be issued by the Greek government to satisfy their requests to the Greek Army Archives.

I have experienced first-hand what it requires to attain a military record and it is not very easy as the Greek military does not like to provide such information and therefore they make it very difficult unless your relative was an officer.

In order to do so, you would have to update all of your family records as in a genealogical tree through the municipality from which your family originated.  This would have to be done even before making the application for the military record.

Before you consider doing this, be aware that unless your grandfather was an officer, there is no guarantee that they will have his record.  Lastly, the record may be extremely difficult to read as it is written using military abbreviations that will not be explained by the military staff.

The records from the Greek military service records are known as Ειδικό Φύλλο Πορείας (ΕΦΠ) (Filo Porias), or Μήτρο Αξιωματικός (Mitroo Axiomatikos) if the individual was an officer.

Their historical military archive is located in the area of Goudi across from the Olympics Badmiinton facility.

If you wish to attain a copy of the army records, please see Municipality Records and the Diaspora before making a request.

Digitized Archive of the Greek Army

This location is more a library than an archive material of the Army History Directorate (DIS) (ΓΕΣ) and more information is becoming available today.

The library covers the history of the wars in the years of the Greek nation from 1897 until today including those outside of Greece.

Θέματα Στρατιωτικής Ιστορίας - Topics of Military History

Plagues and Major Diseases Over the Centuries

Among the other causes of loss of family heritage is that of major diseases.

In the earlier centuries, when people did not know what bacteria was, the simplest of infections could be received through the lack of cleanliness, or by injuries working on the farms, or even sleeping on beds made with hay, and other causes.

Here is a time line of major diseases that should be considered when exploring your Greek genealogy.

Time period Name Description / Pre-human host Death toll
165 – 180 Antonine Plague Believed to be either smallpox or measles 5M
735 – 737 Japanese smallpox epidemic major virus 1M
541 – 542 Plague of Justinian bacteria / Rats, fleas 30-50M
1347 – 1351 Black Death Bubonic Plague bacteria / Rats, fleas 200M
1492 The Colombian Exchange smallpox, measles, and groin plague
1520 – onwards New World Smallpox Outbreak major virus 56M
1665 Great Plague of London bacteria / Rats, fleas 100,000
1629 – 1631 Italian plague bacteria / Rats, fleas 1M
1817 – 1923 Cholera Pandemics 1-6 V. cholerae bacteria 1M+
1855 Third pandemic groin plague bacteria / Rats, fleas
1858 Scarlet fever bacterial infection
1885 Third Plague bacteria / Rats, fleas 12M (China and India)
Late 1800s Yellow Fever Virus / Mosquitoes 100,000-150,000 (U.S.)
1875 Measles Measles morbillivirus British Empire
1889 – 1890 Russian Flu Believed to be H2N2 (avian origin) 1M
1906 – 1907 Typhoid bacterial infection
1916 – 1955 Polio viral disease
1918 – 1919 Spanish Flu H1N1 virus / Pigs 40-50M
1957 – 1958 Asian Flu H2N2 virus 1.1M
1968 – 1970 Hong Kong Flu H3N2 virus 1M
1981 – present HIV/AIDS Virus / Chimpanzees 25-35M
2009 – 2010 Swine Flu H1N1 virus / Pigs 200,000
2002 – 2003 SARS Coronavirus / Bats, Civets 770
2014 – 2016 Ebola Ebolavirus / Wild animals 11,000
2015 – Present MERS Coronavirus / Bats, camels 850
2019 – Present COVID-19 Coronavirus – Unknown

Compilation sources:

Pandemics That Changed History

The Most Dangerous Epidemics in U.S. History

Outbreak: 10 of the Worst Pandemics in History

A visual history of pandemics

Nature and the Destruction of Greek Vital Records

The following earthquakes are above the magnitude of 6.5 and above which can destroy areas and older buildings.

An example of this happened in August 1303    Triggered a major tsunami; affecting Crete and severely damaged the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

February 1810 Crete, Heraklion
October 1840 Halki
October 1856 Rhodes, Crete
February 1867 Cephalonia a.k.a. Kephalonia
March 1867 Lesbos a.k.a. Mytilini
April 1881 Chios, Çeşme, Alaçatı
August 1886 Filiatra
April 1894 Atalanti


Time periods of earthquakes and tsunamis that affected Greece, Turkey, and other areas.

Greek School Records for Genealogy Research

For the purposes of Greek genealogy research, the educational system in Greece consisted of both public and private schools.  With the exception of the city of Athens and Thesaloniki, mostly males went to school around the age of 10 years old for a few years especially those who worked as farmers.

This information is provided because GAK offices may have school records which can be useful to verify and document a Greek ancestor.  Some of the GAK offices have student roll listings which also include the grades of students.

Age groups of school attendance and beginning year of operation

Primary education, dating back to the 1800's
Elementary school (Δημοτικό σχολείο) six (6) to 12 years old.

Secondary education
Gymnasium (Γυμνάσιο) and Middle school (Λύκειο) began in 1833.
Gymnasium student ages are from 12 to 15.
Lykeio student ages are from 15 to 18.

Merchant Navy Academies of Greece (Ακαδημίες Εμπορικού Ναυτικού)
Some of the Navy Academies listed here date from 1749.

Higher Education Institutions - The University
(Ανώτατα Εκπαιδευτικά Ιδρύματα, To πανεπιστήμιο)
The oldest operating university in Greece is the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens that began in 1837.

Higher Education Military Schools - (Ανώτατες Στρατιωτικές Σχολές)
List of schools and the year they began their operation.

Hellenic Military Academy - (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Ευελπίδων)
Founded in 1828.

Hellenic Naval Academy - (Σχολή Ναυτικών Δοκίμων)
Founded in 1845.

Hellenic Air Force Academy - (Σχολή Ικάρων)

Founded in 1919 as the Military Academy of Aviation (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Αεροπλοΐας) in Thessaloniki and renamed in 1967 as the Icarus School.

The island of Chios and Education

The Secondary Education of the children of Chios has a long history that begins long before the island was liberated. The Chios School was founded in 1792 under the Ottoman Empire and by special decree.

Since 1889 he has sensed the need for commercial education in the Chiakian society and formulated his idea in writing, first of all, for introducing trade courses into the Gymnasium's curriculum.

Reference: 1ο ΕΠΑΛ Χίου

Last Updated Friday, 21 May 2021
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