Greece Civil Registration

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Civil Registration

Tutorial

This presentation covers Civil Records found in Town Halls, records at the General Archives of Greece (GAK) and Church records. Learn about each record collection, what they contain and how to access them.

Introduction

Civil registration consists of vital records made by the government. Records of births, marriages, and deaths are commonly referred to as vital records because they refer to critical events in a person’s life. Civil registration records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of births, marriages, and deaths.

Take note: the term Lixiarcheion may mean the system of civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths that began in 1925 or the building in which these records are housed. The other definition of lixiarcheion is any record of vital events (births, marriages, and deaths); this means that municipal records and church registers can also be referred to as lixiarcheion.

Time Coverage

Greece's civil registers mostly cover the 1840s–1940s. Beginning around the 1840s, births, marriages, and deaths started to be recorded by local governments in some areas in Greece; the Ionian islands and the Dodecanese islands were two areas in which civil registration began at this time. The official record-keeping administration for civil registration, Lixiarheion, was not established until 1925. Even then, the practice of civil registration was not fully established throughout all of Greece until 1931.

Birth records are available to 1945, marriage records are available to 1950, and death records are available to the present.

Information Recorded in Civil Registers

Modern Birth, Marriage, and Death Registers

The most important civil records for genealogical research are birth, marriage, and death registers. Contemporary civil registration records usually contain the following information.

Births

Birth registers may list:

  • child’s name and gender
  • date the birth was reported
  • hour, day, month, year, and day of the week of birth
  • birthplace
  • the father’s name, age, occupation, birthplace, religion, citizenship, residence, and his father's name
  • legitimacy
  • the mother’s name, age, birthplace, and her father's name
  • the godparents' name and fathers' names
  • the witnesses' names, ages, occupations, birthplaces, and their fathers' names
  • name of priest who acted as recorded

Click here to see a visual example of a birth certificate and its translation.

Marriages

Civil officials recorded the marriages in registers, usually pre-printed forms bound in a book and kept in the civil office. Marriage registers may list:

  • the date and place of marriage
  • the names, parents' names, ages, places of birth, residences, occupations, citizenship, and religion of the bride and groom
  • the parents' names of the bride and groom
  • whether this is the first or a subsequent marriage of the bride or groom
  • the witnesses' names

Click here for a visual example of a marriage certificate and its translation.

Deaths

Death records are helpful because they may provide important information on a person’s birth, spouse, and parents. Death registers may list:

  • the name of the deceased
  • date recorded
  • time, date, and day of the week of the death
  • place and cause of death
  • birthplace, age, residence, occupation, religion, and citizenship
  • marital status and spouse’s name
  • parents' names for men and single women

Women’s maiden names are not mentioned in death records. Civil death records often exist for individuals for whom there are no birth or marriage records.
Greece death certificate.png

© Greg Kontos 2015

Click here for another visual example of a death certificate and its translation.

Municipal Records (Unique to Greece)

After the establishment of the Greek Kingdom, local governments were responsible for various types of record keeping. Because there was no separation of church and state, information was often gathered by the Greek Orthodox priest and reported to the town clerk. The extent of municipal record keeping varied. Therefore, records described in this section may not exist for all towns and may be incomplete or contain gaps. In many towns, municipal clerks recorded births, marriages, and deaths (likely obtained from the priest). Towns and cities were also supposed to maintain registers of males, females, or both. Population lists were also kept. Additionally, lists of families were kept in each community, including Town registers (dimotologion), Reports (ektheseis), and the family status records (oikogeneiaki katastasis). Other records beneficial in genealogical research includes: lists of employees (katastasis ypalilon), relatives of deceased, passports, and certificates of residency. Together with church registers, municipal records can be used to identify individuals, prove relationships, and determine dates and places of birth.

Some records begin as early as 1825, but most date to the 1840s and 1850s.[1]

Male Registers (Mitroon Arrenon)

When Greece became an independent state, communities began keeping registers of males (mitroon arrenon), which list all the males born in a particular community. They were kept for voting and military purposes. Male registers were created for all communities in Greece. As new areas became part of Greece, their communities also began keeping male registers. In some areas, male registers were reconstructed from other records back to 1825.[2] Male registers list: names of male individuals, parents' names, birth year (later registers list full date of birth), place of birth, residence, and sometimes death date. Entries are often listed chronologically and alphabetically. Information for these registers often came from birth registers.[1]

Mitroon-arrenon-1st-page-description.jpg

© Greg Kontos 2015



Birpatakos-nikolaos-m-tasoula-kostakos-mitroon-arrenon.jpg

Female Registers (Mitroon Thileon)

Some areas also kept a female register (mitroon thileon), which usually started at a later date than the male register. These registers were created retrospectively and therefore may be missing some people. Female registers list: name of female individuals, parents' name, birth year (later registers list full date of birth), place of birth, and residence. The entries are listed chronologically by the date of birth. Information for these registers often came from birth registers.[1]

Town (Resident) Registers (Dimotologion)

Town registers (dimotologion) are lists of family groups living in a particular locality. For communities where these registers exist, the registers start by at least 1887. Town registers may list: names of family members, birth date and place, age, residence, occupation, religion, method by which citizenship was acquired, reference number in male register, date and reason an individual was taken off the list (such as marriage, migration, death), emigration information, and so forth.[1] Once a resident register was compiled, it was kept current by adding new information such as marriage, death, and immigration dates. These records can be found in the municipal archives. [2]

Dimotologion-1st-page-description.jpg

© Greg Kontos 2015



Dimotologion-2nd-page-description.jpg

© Greg Kontos 2015



Family Status (Oikogeneiaki Katastasis)

Family status records (oikogeneiaki katastasis) were kept by municipal clerks. This is a certificate that can be provided by the archives, taking the data from the dimitologion. Information may include: family number, date of registration, names of family members, birth dates and places, religion, citizenship, and other notations. The parents and all of the children were listed together, as well as the parents of the father and mother.
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Other Records

  • Registers of births, marriages, and deaths were kept by the municipal government. The content of these registers is similar to the information provided in church registers and likely came from the same source, the priest.
  • Reports of the family (ektheseis) were kept by municipal clerks. These records often list names of family members, birth dates and places, and ancestry (sometimes including four generations of family information).
  • Lists of employees (katastasis ypalilon) often lists names of employees, birth dates and places, parents' names, spouse's name, and children.
  • Relatives of the deceased often lists names of deceased persons with names of parents, siblings, children, and other possible heirs.
  • Passports and Certificates of residency often list names, birth dates, places of residence, parents, and sometimes other relatives.

Accessing the Records

Civil registration records (and copies) can be found in multiple locations.

Local (Municipal) Archives in Mayors' Offices

Most civil records can be found in municipal archives (dimotika archeia) located in local mayors' or community presidents' offices.

  1. Click on a region.
  2. Click on a prefecture.
  3. Click on a municipality.

Writing to the Mayor of a Municipality

Information on addressing the letter, enclosing money, and a form letter in Greek, with its English translation are found in this .pdf:

Civil Registry Offices (Lixiarcheion)

In large cities, civil records since 1925 can be found in official civil registry offices. These are under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior (Ypourgeion Esoterikon).

County Archives (Nomarhia).

Copies may also be found in the county archives (nomarhia).

These provinces have full birth, marriage, and death records online:

General State Archives of Greece (GAK)

Some records are collected by the General State Archives of Greece (GAK). The Archives of Greece has a central office in Athens, and local offices throughout Greece. These offices have copies of Male Registers, Town (Resident) Registers, School Records, and other documents of interest to family historians. Civil registers are not preserved in the Central Service (CS).

See How to Navigate the Greek National Archives.

Some records are online. Others are not online, but the staff will search them for you upon request.

Writing to the Greek National Archives (GAK or GSA)

Information on addressing the letter, enclosing money, and a form letter in Greek, with its English translation are found in this .pdf:

Family History Library

The records may be available on microfilm on the FamilySearch Catalog or at the Family History Library.

  • GREEK MICROFILMS:Comprehensive list of microfilms by counties.
  • Records of the Lixiarheion (civil registry offices) have been filmed for the cities of
  • Athinai (Athens)
  • Copies from various town halls and city archives have been filmed from the counties of
  • The Library’s collection continues to grow as new records are microfilmed and added to the collection from numerous sources. Don’t give up if records are not available yet. Check Places within Greece in the FamilySearch Catalog from time to time to see if new records have been acquired from your area of Greece.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Records Profile: Greece,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1999.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Greg Kontos, Research in Greece Using Civil and Church Records, HELLENIC GENEALOGY CONFERENCE. Video