Greece Research Tips and Strategies

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Tutorial

Research in Greece: Using Civil and Church Records, by Gregory Kontos
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.

The Most Important Records for Greece Genealogy

  • Civil Registration: Government birth, marriage, and death records, beginning in 1925, kept at the municipality.
  • Dimotologion (Town Register): Lists of families in each village; information includes: family number, date of registration, name of individuals in family, their birth date and place, religion, citizenship, and other notations
    • Oikogeneiaki Katastasis (Family Status): Similar to a Family Group Record, listing members of a family with birth dates and birth places
  • Mitroon Arrenon (Male Registers): Records of births of males:  name of male, father’s name, birth year, place of birth, notes
  • Electoral Registers, 1870s
  • Diocese Church Records
  • Local Church Records
  • Apografai (Census) the ones conducted by the Greek government start from 1828, 1836-1845 yearly, then every 3 or 5 years, and finally every 10 years. There was one done retrospective for 1821. In previous years censuses in Greece were performed by other countries.
  • Dowry Contracts (Symvolaiografika Arheia--Notarial Records)
  • Wills (Symvolaiografika Arheia--Notarial Records)
  • Arheia Scholeiou (School Records): Names and ages of children; some give father’s names
  • Land transfers (Symvolaiografika Arheia--Notarial Records)
  • Stratiotika Arheia (Military Archives): found in local Conscription Offices in capitals of districts

1. Town Hall Records (Dimarhio)

Quite comprehensive records for your family, perhaps for several generations, are kept by the mayor's office of each municipality. Civil registers of birth, marriage, and death are kept there. In addition, an important record, unique to Greece, the Dimologion is an actual "family group record". Census records, contracts, and other records can be found.
A. Write for birth and death records from 1925 to the present.
B. Write for the family status/structure (Dimologion) record for your family.

  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:

2. Records at the Greek National Archives

See, How to Navigate the Greek National Archives.

Online Records

Although not the most complete collection of records, it will be the quickest to access because it is online and immediately available.

A. Trace the men in your line from 1967 back to 1817 in the Male Registers (Mitroon Arrenon). Arranged by year, each record shows the name, father's name, birth year, and birthplace.
Go to Online records, GAK
Select the correct prefecture archives.
Find the "registrar (REGISTERS males)" file.
Click on the "Contents" tab. Find the files for your town.
After clicking on the file number, click on the "digital copies" tab.
B. Find the 1871-1875 Vlachogianni electoral listing of male ancestors to learn year of birth, father's name, occupation and birthplace.occupation.
Go to Contents of Election Collection John Vlachogianni.
Select your province. Click on the file title and number.
Click on the "digital copies" tab.
C. Search for birth, marriage, and death records that are available in the provincial offices of the archives:

Writing to the Greek National Archives (GAK or GSA)

  • The archives have many, many more records that are not digitized online. You will be able to write for these records.
  • Information on addressing the letter, enclosing money, and a form letter in Greek, with its English translation are found in this .pdf:

Form Letters to the Greek National Archives (GAK)

    • Requesting Birth information
    • Requesting Marriage information
    • Requesting information about the family structure and death of an ancestor
    • Follow up Thank You letter

3. Locating Records at the Family History Library

Although quite incomplete now, the records of Greece will probably gradually be microfilmed. You should check back from time to time to see whether more records are available. Microfilms may be viewed at the many Family History Centers throughout the world.
To see whether FamilySearch has microfilmed any records for your locality:

a. Click on the Places within Greece drop-down menu.
b. Select your town or province. A province will then open up drop-down list of several towns to choose from.
b. Click on a topic. Then click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor.
b. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Currently Microfilmed Registry Records

Records of the Lixiarheion (civil registry offices) have been filmed for the cities of

4. Local and Diocese Church Records

Most records are found at the diocese archives rather than local churches. Local churches will have more recent records still, but eventually they are passed on to the diocese archives. You will have to visit the diocese archives or write to them. If you belong to a Greek congregation, a letter of introduction from your priest is helpful.

  • For addresses of the diocese you need for mainland Greece, see The Official Website of the Church of Greece. Click on the Diocese tab and select your municipality from the drop down list. Its canonical territory is confined to the borders of Greece prior to the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 ("Old Greece"), with the rest of Greece (the "New Lands", Crete, and the Dodecanese) being subject to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
  • For addresses of diocese in the Church of Crete, go to Church of Crete. Right click on the page and choose "Translate to English". Each "Metropolis" in the right sidebar is a diocese. Click on the Metropolis and then on "Communication" for contact information.
  • You can learn from the diocese which records have not been turned over from the local parish and the contact information of the local parish.

Writing to a Church Diocese

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

Search Strategies

Use the following strategies to search for records effectively:

  1. Search for the birth, death, male register, or family structure record of the relative or ancestor you selected.
  2. Search for the marriage record and family structure record of your ancestor’s parents.
  3. The marriage record will often lead to the birth records of the parents. You can estimate the ages of the parents and search for their birth records.
  4. Repeat the process for both the father and the mother.
  5. Search the death registers for all known family members.
  6. If earlier generations are not in the record, search records of neighboring towns.