Still searching for paperwork that proves my father was born in Naousa, so a few days ago I went back to the Town Hall to ask again. I say again, because last year I was told that all the town documents were burned in 1949 during the Civil War. But I decided to try again, what the heck. These administrative chores here in Greece often take hours if not days, so my strategy was let's get started...
The office staff was both cordial and patient. Again I was told that there would be nothing, but make an application anyway in case the head archivist can find something. Then I noticed that on the same application you could also seek a death certificate. So I added the name of my father's grandmother, Aikaterina Koutsiouki. She died in 1955.
Bingo! Her death had been recorded in the book, and her death certificate was in the computer. Within minutes I had a copy of a document that recorded the date and time and also verified the address that I had come to know -- even though the home was bought subsequently and torn down to be replaced by a new one. The doctor of record was her grand nephew Giorghos Koukoulas (now 91), who noted that she died at 90 of old age.
My pro-yiayia's birthplace is Pyrgos, Kozanis, known then as Katranitsa. Her father was Georgios Lalas, paterfamilias of a large clan still thriving in Naousa. And Her husband Kostantinos was a Makedhonomachos (Macedonian freedom fighter) who died in an Ottoman prison in 1904. They had four kids: Antonis (Tony Gust), Eleni (Huntalas), Paraskevouda (my Yiayia), and Maria. All except Maria went to the states. She married Nikos Theofilos, a soldier from around Corinth who subsequently became mayor -- only to be asassinated by Communist guerillas in 1949 and hung in the town square (as reported by TIME Magazine). They named a street leading to that square after him. I come down that street often...
Here's a photo of "RiRi" Koutsiouki circa 1924 with her grand children Georgios and Soula Theophilou. Yes, the Soula that we in the family know as Thea Soula in Paleion Faliron (Athens). She has lived there since 1949 except for a few years in Salt Lake City and LA where her late husband Mario -- also a soldier stationed in Naousa who fell in love! -- studied and worked. She is my favorite Greek relative in Greece, and I have quite a few.
Before I left the Town Hall, I also had a letter to prove that there is no record of Efstathios Xanthopoulos because the town records were burned. Not sure how that helps -- but I do now unexpectedly know more about my great-grandmother to help trace back to my grandmother and then my father, as I build my case for a Greek identity card.
And the whole transaction took only about 45 minutes, surely some sort of Greek bureaucracy record -- opa!
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.