submitted by James Victor Prineas on 03.02.2008
Letter from Kythera
Dear Friends of Kythera,
we've had a solid response to our announcement in the last newsletter of our "Discover Your Roots Day" on Kythera in August. So far 35 enthusiastic Diaspora Kytherians - from the US, England, continental Europe and of course Australia - have registered. For those of your who missed the last newsletter, the day will not only be a series of lectures in English by experts and amateurs about their strategies for searching the island archives for family heritage material, other island experts will also be on hand to answer general questions to help us better appreciate the often hidden wonders of Kythera. Perhaps most importantly it will be a chance to meet other Diaspora Kytherians and establish bonds on a personal level which may have been initiated (or neglected!) on our website. If you have any suggestions regarding the day's program or feel that you yourself could give an interesting lecture on a Kytherian topic please don't hesitate to let us know.
The full itinerary will be published in our next Email-Newsletter. If you already know that you'll be coming and haven't informed us yet, please do so. Just send a short mail to email@example.com letting me know if you'll be bringing anyone with you.
For those of you reading about the "Discover Your Roots Day" for the first time, the event is to be held on the 13th of August in the Kytherian capital of Hora and is a non-profit gathering. Each participant must contribute a small administration fee of 15 Euros, which will cover our overheads (printed material etc.). We also plan to organise social events - a dinner, gallery visits etc - to complement the official gathering.
Many of our ancestors left Kythera decades ago not knowing if even they themselves would return one day. They could of course never have imagined that so many of us would be still be in touch with the island and each other via a medium which was inconceivable back then. Our grandparents would certainly have been proud of the fact that their offspring have maintained a link to their island home and are active in keeping the Kytherian flame burning.
Wishing all a wonderful Greek Easter from a sunny Berlin,
James Prineas, Website Team Leader Europe, Berlin
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Spring on Kythera
Letter from Kythera by Rowan Parkes
April: a season of rebirth, rains and rainbow colours. Well, we have the colourful flowers, especially daisies; we have the rebirth, especially goat kids; and we have definitely had the rain, because as usual the island weather is being infuriatingly indecisive. Despite the weather Spring is really the ideal time on Kythera: all the senses are enticed, colour for the sight, gentle breezes for the touch, Lent delicacies for the taste-buds, bird song for the ears, and lots of lovely smells for the olfactory senses.
Lent is well underway and Easter soon to arrive - you can tell by the Easter candle adverts on radio directed at all the long suffering godparents and the way people start drooling at the mention of the word "lamb"! Easter falls on Mayday this year, rather later than usual, and means that the high-school and lyceum children will be straight into exams after the holidays, and summer won't be far behind. Easter is of course the favourite Orthodox festivity, the moving Epitafios procession through the night of Good Friday, the lighting of the candles at midnight on Saturday as a symbol of the rebirth of life, and the joyful happenings all through Sunday, consisting mostly of eating and drinking far in excess of nutritional reason.
This Easter on the island promises to be full of activity, as the well-loved ELLSO (East London Late Starter's Orchestra) is sending teachers over from England with instruments to organize a musical program for the local children who enjoyed their first contact with the violins so much last year. The program's aims are to promote music for the island's children and to prepare them to play with the Orchestra when it returns later on this year.
Also, due to the shooting last year of an international Greek television drama on the island, Kythera promises to be a much bigger attraction to people from the rest of Greece this holiday, a big relief for business here as things went into what could aptly be called a depression last year. The drama meanwhile has been a great success all over the country, could we possibly hope for a sequel?
All the best from Kythera and Happy Easter!
Rowan Parkes, Aloizianika, Kythera
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Guest Book: 27.04.2005
Graham Coghill - Sunshine Coast, Australia
Family village of origin: Karvounathes
This is the most amazing website for someone like me, whose Kytherian heritage would otherwise be almost inaccessible. My grandfather was Manuel Marsellos, born in Karvounathes 2 Feb 1890. He migrated to Australia in 1908 and married in 1914. Unfortunately he died when my mother was only 5 years old, and there was no contact with his family, so we know very little about his background. We believe his father was Peter and his mother was Sarah (she was apparently born in France). Does anyone know anything about the family?
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Guest Book: 19.04.2005
Maria Lurantos - Beverly, MA USA
Family village of origin: Hora
What an incredible website! I am deeply impressed with the amazing amount of work and time invested in creating it! As a descendant of Kythiriotes (but born and raised in Argentina) I can't even begin to express my gratitude for allowing all of us, kids of the diaspora, to stay in touch with our roots.
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Message Board: 27.04.2005
Emmauel Antonios Cassimatis moved to Australia
submitted by Tania Cassimatis
I have the great need to find out more information regarding my grandfather who arrived in Australia on 8th April 1914 at the age of 14. Emmauel Antonios Cassimatis (Cassum) lived his life in a small town in country NSW called Ardlethen where he ran and owned the local cafe. He came to Australia with a cousin, while his parents remained in Kythera. Emmauel was born in January 1899. What I need to know is which town in Kythera he was from and the name of his parents. Hoping some one can help me with this - it would be of great assistance. Thank you.
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Message Board: 21.04.2005
George Kassimatis, New York
submitted by Petro Cassimaty
My father Nikolaos Kassimati who derives from Kato Livathi migrated to Australia in 1922. He had a brother George who lived in New York, Spiro, Emmanuel and Panayioti (who lived in Australia), sisters, Maria and Chrisoula (who lived in Kythera) and Stavroula who lived in Australia.
The family parachoukli is "Tzamourthis". Also my Uncle George Cassimatis left for New York before my father was born in 1904. He passed away in 1958. Can anybody furnish me with any information/photos about his life in the USA?
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Message Board: 19.04.2005
Galakatos in Smyrna & Taganrog
submitted by Ellena Galtos
I am interested in tracking down people who may have known members of the Galakatos family - particularly my great grandfather Kosmas Galakatos who was a merchant in Smyrna. Originally from Kythera, he later moved to Piraeus.
One son - my grandfather Nikolas Galakatos - was sent to Taganrog Russia, where he worked, and met and married my grandmother Eleni Alafouso; they eventually came to Australia. His other son Alexandros Galakatos (Alex Milkton) ended up in Florida USA. One of my great aunts Frosso married Pericles Papast, and they too came to Australia. The other Ekaterini married Spiro Raissis, and ended up in the US.
Some details about my family appear under the family tree section of this web site. There are also some photos here. (In time I will add more.)
I am especially interested in anyone with stories of Smyrna and Taganrog - both places which my relatives - like so many others - had to leave due to political upheavals.
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Message Board: 11.04.2005
Info on St. Cosmos & Damien monastery
submitted by Jennifer Bushaw
I recently learned from my great Aunt (Irene Souris) that my ancestors (the Souris family from Potamos) had, and still has, possession of a monastery in the area, St. Cosmos & Damien. Does anyone have any information on this monastery? Or even the Souris family from Potamos?
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High Achievers: 26.04.2005
Louisa Psaltis (nee, Kritharis)
by Jim Coroneos
Louisa Psaltis was born Louisa Kritharis (Crithary) on 25 September, 1906 in the village of Karavas, Kythera. Her father was Evangelis Ieros Kritharis from Karavas and her mother Stamatouia Panarettos from Potamos, Kythera. Their family consisted of 3 boys - Theodoros, Panagiotis, Haralambos and 5 girls - Georgitsa (Comma), Kanella (Moulos), Maria (Georgopoulos), Kalomera (Zantiotis) and Louisa (Psaltis). The youngest of 8 children, Louisa went to school in Karavas for 5 years until 1918; in those years there some 40 girls and 60 boys in separate schools in the town.
Louisa left Kythera on 14 March 1922 at the age of 15 years to come to Australia with her brother Theo, who was one of the earliest Kytherians to come here. Originally, Theo was to bring Kalomera (an older sister) with him back to Australia, but Kalomera had become engaged to Sarandos Zantiotis and did not want to leave Kythera. Instead, Louisa (with the passport of her sister) came with Theo to Australia, arriving in June 1922. Soon after their arrival, Theo took Louisa with him to his cafe the Marathon Cafe, (at 72 Oxford St., Sydney) for the first meeting of the Kytherian Brotherhood. The organisers of this meeting included Cosmas Cassimatis (who had the Canberra Cafe in Oxford St., Darlinghurst), Theo Crithary, Vassilis Feros, Peter Minoukas and Paul Calopedes (with later help from people such as Cosmas Andronicus, and Nicholas Marcellos). Cosmas Cassimatis was to become the first president of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia. [See entry for the Kytherian Association, at "Community Services/Associations" for more details]
At this meeting, there were some 30 women and 50 men. It was here that Louisa met Nicholas James Psaltis, a prominent business man, and became engaged to him on her sixteenth birthday, 25 September, 1922. They were married on 21 January, 1923 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, in Bourke St., Surry Hills. Louisa and Nick had one child, Anna, born 16 October, 1923.
Nick and his brother John, ran the Psaltis Brothers Cafe, in Kings Cross for some years. They sold the cafe and the building in 1928. Soon after, the brothers lost a fortune in those days (10,000 pounds) by going guarantors for Kytherian friends who set up a business. The business went bankrupt leaving Nick and John with a very hefty debt.
In 1931, Nick and Louisa were forced to take over a run-down shop in the small country town of Blayney, NSW. In the first week they took 30 pounds. They remained there 15 years, before returning to Sydney. By this time, their daughter Anna had grown into a lovely young woman and in 1944, during World War II, she was married to Captain Dennis Mavrokefalos (Black), from Ithica. Dennis and Anna had 4 children - 3 girls and 1 boy.
Nick and Louisa ran a small mixed business in Killara, Sydney, from 1948-1953. In 1954 they made their first trip back to Greece, staying for 18 months. (Louisa went on to make 14 trips to Greece.)
On their return from their first trip to Greece, Nick and Louisa lived in Woollahra, and Nick worked for his his son-in-law, Dennis, who manufactured Convair shirts and pajamas. After Nick died in 1968, at which time Nick and Louisa had been married for 45 happy years, Louisa moved to Double Bay, where she lived for over 28 years. Unfortunately, not long after Nick's death, Anna’s husband Dennis, died, in 1971.
Anna remarried in 1978: her second husband Ted Gowing, the grandson of the founder of the famous Gowing’s store on the corner of George Street and Market Street, Sydney.
Over all her years in Australia, Louisa has been closely associated with the various Greek churches to which she made significant donations. For more than 30 years, she was the patron of the Ayios Haralambos Church Fund; (her grandfather founded the Ayios Haralambos Church, in Karavas, Kythera), and of the Karavitiko Symposium - an organisation devoted to helping people from Karavas and their descendants maintain contact with each other. Louisa did a great deal of work assisting Karavites, both in Kythera and in Australia. In 1996, when she celebrated her 90th birthday, she was the only living person who had been present at the inaugural meeting of the Kytherian Brotherhood.
Louisa Psaltis was a unique and caring person. Her kindness and consideration for others, her determination and courage through difficult times, her love and understanding of the needs of people, endeared Louisa to every person fortunate enough to know her.
Louisa passed away peacefully in July, 2001, age 94 years. The touching funeral service (private at her request) was held at the St George Greek Orthodox Church, Rose Bay - a church that she helped establish - and her body was laid to rest with her late husband, Nick, at Botany Cemetery.
With her passing, so ended an era in Kytherian Brotherhood/Association of Australia history. No person is still alive who was present when the Brotherhood officially begun, in 1922.
May God rest her her soul in peace.
by Jim Coroneos, September, 2001
Former President of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia, Present Patron of the Karavitiko Symposium, Sydney.
From, The KYTHERIAN, October 2001, page 5.
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