The primary sources for research in Greece are records of births, marriages
and deaths. The term Lixiarheion is used in Greek to describe any vital records.
Local priests generally records all births, marriages and deaths, although the
amount of information they collected varied greatly. In most cases, for birth
or baptismal records you will find the names, dates of the birth, names of parents and the name of
any godparent. For death or burial records you will find the name of the deceased, father's name, date of death,
age, marital status, cause of death and place of burial.
Marriage applications are more complete as they needed to be sent to the bishop's office [episkopi]
for review. They will typically include the date the certificate was issued, names of the
couple getting married, birhplaces, residence, parents' names, and whether this was the
first or subsequent marriage for either party.
Note: The LDS Church has microfilmed church records from some area of Greece.
In 1925, the national government formed a department for civil registration of vital records,
although the practice was not fully established until 1931. Registration of births, marriages and
deaths are conducted at the mayor's office, and in larger cities at special offices.
Civil registration records are much more complete. Birth records include the name of the
child, date and place born, date and place of baptism, father's name, occupation, citizenship, residence and religion,
mother's name and date recorded.
Marriage records include the date of the ceremony, names, age, birth place, citizenship,
and religion of the individuals married, and parent's names. Death records include the name of the deceased,
date, time and place of death, marital status, residence, birth place, age, occupation, citizenship, religion
and cause of death, parent's names, and date recorded.
You can usually obtain civil registration information by writing to the local Mayor's office.
Certain localities within Greece maintained additional records of the community. Male Registers [Mitroon Arrenon]
were lists of all males born kept for voting and military purposes. In these records you
will find the name of the male child, their fathers's name, year and place
Resident Registers [Dimitologion] are lists of family groups living
in a particular community, recording marriages, deaths and family members who emmigrated
out of Greece.
You can usually get access to the information in the registers by writing to the local Mayor's office.
All legal transactions are recorded by the Notary Offices [Symvolaiografeion], some
having records dating back to the 1400's. These transactions included dowries, wills and
Dowry contracts [Proikoa] provide information about the individuals getting
married, their parent's names, the amount of the dowry and the signature of the father of the bride.
For wills [Diathiki] you will find the names of family members, their relationship
to the deceased, family status and personal wealth of the individual. Land transfers [Ypothikofylakeion] include
the names of the land owners, details of the land being transferred, as well as, any mortgages on the land.
You may be able to get copies of these records by writing to the local Notary, however, in some
cases you may need the assistance of a Greek lawyer. Also, since the Notaries are private, you should
expect to be required to pay a fee for any records you request.
The government took the first census in 1828, and the second in 1830. Then in 1834 the department of national statistics
was formalized and yearly censuses were taken from 1836 to 1845.
Then from 1848 to 1961 the practice
became to periodically (1848, 1853, 1856) take a full census, and then have local officials maintain the records in between,
recording births, deaths and when people moved to/from the community.
Additional censuses were taken in the following years: 1870, 1879, 1889, 1896, 1907, 1920,
1928, 1940, and then every ten years starting with 1951. Occaissionally there were special
censuses taken (e.g. a new area was aquired).
Census records will typically include the name of heads of families, spouses and
children along with their ages, sex, birth places, occupations and duration of residency.
For information about researching census records for genealogy, you will need to contact the
Central Census Bureau in Greece.