Greece Military Records
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Military records identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. All men are required to serve in the armed forces in Greece when 21 years of age. Attempting to escape military service is punishable by death. In some cases the service obligation may be postponed for higher education. At certain periods, the first son of a family in which the father was deceased or where there were many children was excused as a prostatis (protector [of family]). Some may also have been excused due to health reasons or handicaps. These exceptions had to be noted in the records.
Evidence that an ancestor served in the armed forces beyond the required term of service may be found in family records, biographies, census, probate records, and civil registration. Military records give information about an ancestor’s military career, such as promotions, places served, pensions, and conduct. In addition, these records usually include information about his age, birthplace, residence, occupation, physical description, and family members.
The armed forces records you may find include:
- Draft lists
- Personnel files
- Regimental account books
- Pay vouchers and records
- Pension records
- Records of leave
Records of military service in Greece are kept by the government in various archive locations. The Family History Library has some military records, for the nineteenth century and more recently. To use Greek military records, determine the year your ancestor would have been called to service (when he was 21 years old). Males are listed in records by the year they come of age for military service. You must also know at least the town where your ancestor was born.
Greece was involved in the following military actions:
1365–1453: Ottoman Empire conquered Greece
1770–1779: Albanian troops dispatched by Ottoman Empire to crush rebellion in Peloponnesus
1821: War of Independence (Revolution) officially declared on 25 March
1821–1829: Revolution in Greece centered at Peloponnesus but involved all of present-day Greece. Ottomans gained Egypt as an ally. England, France, and Russia supported Greek Independence, which was achieved in September 1829.
1854–1856: Crimean War
1841–1897: Revolts against the Ottomans in Crete
1877–1878: Russo-Turkish War
Oct 1912: First Balkan War; Ottoman empire forced from Macedonia
1913: Second Balkan War; the Balkan states fight over division of Macedonia. War with Bulgaria.
1917–191: World War I; Greece defeats Bulgaria, gains territory in Thrace.
1921–1923: Greek-Turkish war settled territorial issues and provided for compulsory exchange of populations25
1940–1944: World War II; Greece occupied by German-Italian-Bulgarian forces, 1941–1944
1944–1949: Civil War, started in Athens and spread throughout the mountainous regions of Greece. Additional military histories may be obtained through public and university libraries.
Military Records of Genealogical Value
The main source of military records is the Ministry of Defense (Ypourgeion Ethnikis Amynis). Although there may be many types of military records available in Greek archives and repositories, only a few have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library, including marriage and death records, draft registers, and pension records.
The Military of Defense kept a list of males born in each municipality. These lists were compiled from birth records submitted to the local conscription office by the town clerks or priests. The records date to 1820, but many start as late as the 1880s. These records list the name of each male, parents' names, and birth date and place. Entries may be listed chronologically or alphabetically. These lists can be used to find birth information and parents' names. Conscription lists are located in conscription offices (Stratologia) in various cities.
The information found in conscription lists is, likely, the same information found in male registers. Conscription lists are more complete than male registers and municipal records of birth, but are less accessible. The public is not allowed to use these books; however, access to these records may come with permission from the Ministry of Defense.
Some registers of males, draft records, and pension records from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library. For example, there are records of military from Nauplion and Halkis. For such records, refer to the FamilySearch Catalog.
A copy of the 1883 draft list of Greece, organized by county, district, and municipality, gives a man’s full name and his father’s name:
Draft List, 1883. Athinai, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL film 1039000 items 6–9)
Marriage Contracts, Divorces, Deaths
During the period of King Otto, a Bavarian ruler, records of marriages, divorces, and deaths in the Greek army were kept. The records are in German and Greek. These records cover a period from the 1830s–1860s and are listed in the catalog under:
GREECE - MILITARY RECORDS
Records of military pensions have been filmed from the National Historical Archives in Athens:
Militär Pensionen 1836–1862 (Military Pensions 1836–1862). Athens, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL 1038740 item 2–1038844 item) Records in German and Greek.
Military Pensions 1863–1898. Athens, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL films 1038724 item 2–1038740 item 1).
Online Records of the Hellenic Army Archives Agency
- Online search engine. Free registration required.
In 1941 the Service of Military Archives has in its possession, apart from the historical records of the Department of the Army History, the following documents:
- Incomplete general military records since 1863
- Complete military records of the periods 1912-13, 1918-19, 1921-22
- Records of the period 1940-41
- Complete record of military hospitals since 1920
Since 1951, the Service of Military Archives keeps records of the dismantled Army institutions. After 1966 all the records of the Army’s institutions are kept there, including the personal documents of the retired military and civil personnel.
The Service of Military Archives completed the project’s roll-out that concerns the digitization, documentation and designation of its Historical Archive. Under this particular project, the Service digitized more than 15 million pages of the archive, while it ensures the sustainability of the process which is going to be continued after the completion of the project.
Documentation of Digitized Archive The documentation of the digitized archive is available to the visitors of our web page. Also, taking into consideration the regulations of the Law regarding copyright and privacy policies as well as issues of National Security, part of the archive is available for preview through our new web page.
Documentation search of Digitized Archive The documentation search of the digitized archive of the Service of Military Archives is available to all the visitors of the Service’s web page.