Thursday, June 11, 2015

Leaving Kyparissi today, a lot more connected than when we came..

Speeding away from‎ Kyparissi towards Athens on the 6 am (and only) bus, I am trying to absorb everything that transpired on my 3rd trip to Papou George Sarris's village -- this time with my niece Rachel and good friend Wendy. Six days in this gorgeous, semi-isolated, and newly-favored spot by rock climbers were simply not enough. Next time, a month minimum!

Rachel, Kostas & Froso Heliotis, and Me

‎My aim this trip was to gather info and meet Sarris cousins ...and to hook Rachel up with contacts/info so  she could come back to her great-grandfather's village any time. Mission accomplished -- ‎ as we spent a lot of time with my penpal cousin Froso Heliotis (50 year-old granddaughter of Papou's brother Kostas) and her bouzouki-playing husband Kostas. And the Vasiliou clan that owns/runs the exellent Paraliako Hotel are indispensable!

Father Haralambos
Many of my Family Tree questions were answered thanks to the village priest Haralambos Fessos and the other 10 or so people that I grilled relentlessly. It‎ was fascinating to learn that local relatives did not have a complete list of Papou's siblings (8 total), now provided by me as patched together from various sources. Seems like the 3 that went to the States and never came back -- except for a visit by Sofia Sarris Demakopoulos -- we're off the radar, as were the 2 youngest who died in 1923 and 1933 according to church records. That list may now make it into Maria Ioanniou's second book on the area, this one more specifically about Kyparissi.

Land records that Maria studied indicate that Ilias Sarris -- aka Louis, who sold his Crockett Sweet Shop to his brother George‎ -- built "To Milo tou Sarris" above the upper Vrisi portion of Kyparissi after he returned to Greece circa 1920. It was not handed down from his father Nicolaos, who died in 1922, followed 5 years later by his wife Angeliki. No one seemed to know where the Sarrises lived before 1920. But school records have George Sarris registering for 2nd grade in 1899, with his father's occupation listed as "tekton" (construction worker). 

Eleni Ianniou w/her sister's book!

And from which part of the family tree did Vasiliki Sarris Xepolias (aka "Thea Vasilo" or Bella) come from? She and her family lived in Stockton approximately 1920-25. When her husband Panayioti died, they moved to the San Mateo area, and the children are now deceased -- including ‎Panayiota "Ioda" Manolis, who was close to the Demakopoulos/Mellis clan in Santa Cruz and known to many of us. Kyparisioti John Tsiglieris -- who I had encountered on the bus coming in per my last post -- promised to investigate further. There are many Xepoliases in or from Kyparissi. But as the circle widens, it seems to be closing at the same time.

Thanks to Thea Eleni Ianniou Sarris (above photo w/book), I now have a complete list of Ilias's grandchildren (my cousins) a few phone numbers in Athens where most live. To be continued...

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.


  1. My Great Grandfather, John Nick Heliotis was born in Kyparissi in 1874. He immigrated to America in abt 1900. Any relation to Froso?

    John's parents were Nick and Arjia