Rhodope County, Greece Genealogy

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Rhodope County

History

Rhodope is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Its name is derived from the Rhodope Mountains, which cover the northern part of its territory. Together with the regional units Evros and Xanthi, it forms the geographical region of Western Thrace. The capital of the prefecture is the city of Komotini.
Most of the Muslims of Thrace, the only officially recognized minority in Greece, are settled in this area, where they form around half of the population.
Rhodope was established as a prefecture in 1930, when the former Thrace Prefecture was divided into the Rhodope and Evros prefectures. In 1944 Xanthi Prefecture was created from the western part of Rhodope Prefecture. Since the 1990s Rhodope cooperated with Evros in the Rhodope-Evros Super-prefecture.
As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the prefecture was transformed into a regional unit within the East Macedonia and Thrace region, with no change in its boundaries.
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Geography

Rhodope borders on the regional unit Xanthi to the west and Evros to the east, and on Bulgaria's Kardzhali Province to the north. The Aegean Sea lies to the south. The eastern Rhodope Mountains cover the northern part of the regional unit. Apart from the mountainous areas, the territory consists mainly of farmland, forests and grasslands. The southern and the central part have a mainly Mediterranean climate, and the northern part a mainly continental climate with cold winters.

Municipalities

Most of the research you do will be at the municipality level, by contacting the Mayor's Office of the municipality.

New municipality Old municipalities
2. Arriana Arriana
Kechros
Organi
Fillyra
3. Iasmos Iasmos
Amaxades
Sostis
1. Komotini Komotini
Aigeiros
Neo Sidirochori
4. Maroneia-Sapes Maroneia
Sapes

Rodopis municipalities.png

Villages

Municipal Archives

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 since 1925 are kept there. In addition, an important record, unique to Greece, the Dimologion is similar to a "family group record". Census records, contracts, and other records can be found.

Information About Important Records in Municipality Archives

Click on the links for an explanation on the types of records you will look for at the municipality level.

Writing to Municipal Archives

Greek National Archives and Rodopi (Rhodope) Archives

  • The Greek National Archives (GAK or GSA) 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). Some records are online. Others are not online, but the staff will search them for you upon request.


General State Archives (GSC)
Dafni 61
15452 Psychiko
Greece

Phone:+30 210-6782200
FAX:+30 210-6782215
E-mail:archives@gak.gr

Rodopi Archives


Nomos Rodopi
Bletsa 19
69100 Komotini
Greece

Tel. 25310-33311
Fax. : 25310-33357
E-mail: mail@gak.rod.sch.gr


Writing to the Greek National Archives (GAK) or the Rodopi Office of the GAK

Again, not all records will be online. You can write and request searches for records. Instructions, form letters, and their translations are found here.

Greek Orthodox Church Records

Important Church Records

  • Book of Births: date of birth, place of birth, gender, name, surname, father’s name, date of baptism, godfather and priest, notes
  • Book of Marriages: date of marriage, groom’s name, groom’s age, groom’s father’s name, groom’s mother’s name, bride’s name, bride’s age, bride’s father’s name, bride’s mother’s name, priest, place of birth, notes
  • Book of Deaths: date of death, name of the deceased, father’s name, age, notes

Writing to a Diocese

Records may be either at the diocese archives or still at the local parish church. Usually only the most recent records are still at the parish.

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

How to Read the Records

You do not have to be fluent in Greek to read and understand these records! Only a few vocabulary words are involved. True, the alphabet is different. But you learned one alphabet, and you can learn another alphabet!