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Newsletter Archive > June 2006

Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 30.03.2008

June 2006

Kytherian Jigsaw
By Vikki Vrettos Fraioli with Terry Chlentzos Keramaris

As a young child, I remember my mother telling me stories of my yiayia and papou who had immigrated in the early 1900s from Kythera - via Alexandria, Egypt - to the United States. Spellbound, I listened to the tale of my grandmother's shipboard voyage to America, traveling alone, toting two small children. My papou was the first to make the journey in 1906, and almost a year later, my yiayia followed him. Like many others, Yiannis and Maria Alfieris were seeking a better life in a new land. I'm in awe of these brave immigrants who made this journey, my grandparents among them. What courage and determination they must have had to make a voyage to an unknown land with little money and few possessions. What they did have was a dream for a better life and the determination to make it happen.

Stories like these piqued my interest in my family's history. One of my fondest memories as a young child visiting Yiayia and Papou's house was looking through their old photo albums. The older I got the more intrigued I became with these vintage photographs.

In my research, I discovered that Yiannis and Maria were not the first in the family to venture to America. Maria's brothers, Diamantis and Panayiotis Chlentzos, made the journey as early as 1898. Through the message board Terry Chlentzos-Keramaris and I discovered that our grandparents were siblings. Terry's Papou, Diamantis Chlentzos, was Yiayia's brother, making Terry and me second cousins. We soon discovered that we also shared a passion for family history and genealogy.

Terry and I met for the first time in 2005 at the Kytherian Society Luncheon in Oakland, California. At the luncheon Terry shared her detailed Chlentzos-Coulentianos family tree, which was compiled in 1935 by her Uncle Peter Clentzos. That meeting and the family tree sparked the idea to research and expand the existing family tree for the Chlentzos, Coulentianos and Alfieris families. We were fortunate to have a good start with Uncle Pete's family tree.

Terry and I work as a team. We collaborate for hours online using a Voice-Over-IP program called SKYPE ( as we surf the web for information about our Kytherian ancestors. We scour the Internet, utilizing Google and other search engines,,, the Australian Ryerson index and Out of necessity we have also become astute genealogical detectives. The close-knit Kytherian family trees have intertwining branches, and we find that many families are connected. We've located Chlentzos families in California, Washington, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Maryland, Australia and Greece; Coulentianos relatives in South Africa, France, Australia and Greece; and Alfieris families in Australia, Spain, the UK and Greece. We correspond with these long-lost family members by email and telephone.

Wanting to share our newfound knowledge and hoping to connect with other relatives and Kytherians, I created a website called Kythera Connections ( I update the site frequently with vintage photographs, expanded family tree charts and digital audio/video interviews featuring local Kytherians. Three videos feature 99-year old Stamatoula Mavromatis Chlentzos of San Jose, California, describing the vintage photographs in her collection and sharing her childhood memories of Kythera. A fourth video highlights 96-year old Uncle Pete Clentzos in Palm Springs, California, while he was recuperating from hip surgery.

Working on the family tree has given Terry and me even more opportunities to gain knowledge. Terry's interest in genealogy has led her to visit research libraries and look up Kytherian family history records. I'm building a digital photo archive of many vintage photographs, slowly identifying the people in them and recording the stories behind them. Bit by bit, the pieces to the massive jigsaw are coming together to reveal an intricate puzzle.
Vikki Vrettos Fraioli (
Terry Chlentzos Keramaris (

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Dolmathes for Lunch
by Crissouli

We were sitting at Dad's kitchen table, recalling days long gone, when Dad mentioned names of long ago, and the places we used to visit with my grandmother. I was lost in memories for a while and could actually smell the different homes...strange as that may seem. Souris's smelt of roasted peanuts, they grew them as a side crop. Lahanas's always evoked memories of coffee, strong Greek coffee, and wonderful baking...then there was the aniseed that grew in Langley's garden... there were so many wonderful smells that seemed to be drifting in the remembrances of days gone past.

I must have been about four or five when I was seduced by baklava.. to this day, there is nothing like the aroma of freshly baked baklava... the cinnamon, the syrup, the freshly chopped nuts and of course, the pastry. But more than just the smell of the baking, I recall the floral perfumes that my Aunt always wore... she had a cafe in Sydney and used to send baklava back to us when my father did the run from our home to Sydney markets and back. Baklava and Aunt's perfume always go together, wrapped in such sweet memories. Many coffee shops sell baklava and other Greek treats these days, but how can they compete with home made?

While Aunt wore light florals, I recall the overpowering lavender that permeated the home of a those days, I hated it, or maybe it was the fact that it was mixed with 'eau de kitten...'

My grandmother's home was surrounded by what today we would call a cottage garden..albeit a rather wild one. There certainly was aniseed, and fennel, and rosellas... highly scented orange and lemon blossoms, delicate dianthus, wild climbing roses... they definitely owned the garden and grew wherever they wished, scattering fragrant petals at whim. Not far away, my grandfather had a few bee hives. How I loved it when he would bring wooden framed honeycomb, dripping with rich, sweetly cloying honey... so exciting for a five year old. Even more exciting when an uncle insisted on tasting the first bit of honeycomb one day and bit into a piece, only to yell ever so loudly... he'd been stung by an irritated bee. We children, in our innocence of pain from bee stings, thought it was ever so funny.

Dad's other sister used to make the lightest cakes and the best kourabiethes. The house was then filled with the sickly sweet smell of icing sugar that seemed to last for ages, and cloves. I used to crush the cloves, just to smell them. To me, they always did, and still do, smell so clean and with promises of good things to come. This Aunt was the one who helped us gather flowers in later years to take to my grandfather's grave... delicate roses, heady with perfume, or maybe some vibrant pansies, daring to compete with their cheeky faces.

We would walk along the dusty road, carrying our offerings, and stopping along the way to admire a gum tree, or a bottle brush. If we were wandering in August, there would be glorious wattle lining the way for part of it. It would make my Aunt sneeze, but I loved it, and couldn't resist adding a sprig or two to my bunch of flowers. Wattle always smells of the coming springtime.

The cemetery was never frightening to me as it was to some of my young friends. My mother had told me that was where my beloved grandfather was resting and any place that cared for him had to be alright. He died just a couple of months after I turned five and I miss him to this day. He was tall and strong, yet a true gentle man. Thinking of him, I recall his grey patterned cardigan, and his grey moustache, that always had a faint whisp of tobacco from his pipe. His hands were those of a hard working farmer, but they were safe and loving. He would pick mandarins for me and rub the skin on my hand and bade me smell it.. 'nothing like it, little one'. He was the one who taught us how to crush macadamia nuts in a vice..pick out the meat from the shell and then put the shells in the garden. A macadamia has such a different smell when not quite ripe to when it's outer shell is about to split, revealing the dark brown, woody shell within.. the first is similar to a wet leaf, the second smells of wood, almost dusty at times.

Dad placed a cup of hot, steaming tea in front of me... "Do you remember how the shed smelt of apples?" Another story, another day...

(c) Crissouli May 2006 (

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>Going to kythera.
submitted by Denise Calligeros (
hi fellow kytherians. we are leaving for kythera on the 14th of July, for about 3 weeks (God willing). the reason for this message, is to offer to accompany any one who cant travel alone. either a child, or elderly person etc. we are genuine, and obviously will provide character references. waiting to hear. bye.

submitted by Marea Brook (
Hi I am wondering about relations in Kythera. My grandfather was George Samios and he had a sister Irene. He was born around 1900-1905. He came to Australia with his uncle and eventually they brought Irene over. Irene lived most of the time in Cairns Queensland. George owned several shops over the years one in Rosewood, in Brisbane - Mt Gravatt, New Farm. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

submitted by Fred Elout (
Hi, I am looking for a man from Kythira who I spoke very shortly in Italy on our skiing trip the last week of January 2006. He was with a group and the most people of that group came from Crete.
Can anyone help me?
Fred Elout

greek club sydney circ 1946
submitted by Marie Hoare (
I would like to know if anyone remembers first Greek Club in Sydney, possibly called Athena Club, before 1946, names of first club owners, possibly one man called George Stellios. When it started?, when it finished? anything of its history

Reply - greek club sydney circ 1946
Submitted by Peter Makarthis 09.05.2006
The Athenian Club was situated on the first floor at 208 -210- Castlereagh Street Sydney 1922. The proprietors were Georgopoulos and Anthony Andrew Flaskas.
Please contact for more details
Peter M, Inverell

Reply - greek club sydney circ 1946
Submitted by Marie Hoare (
Thank you for replying. My grandfather George Stellios must have been a part owner of the club in about 1946, as it states on his mortgage his occupation as "club proprietor". I just wondered if it still existed, or what happened to the club as I am doing my family tree, it also stated on his mortgage he was naturalised etc, also where he was born. Serigo, Greece. I recently found and visited his grave, bought back many memories. Marie

Looking for property on Kythera
submitted by Rafi Lichtenstern
looking for land between 4000 and 15000 sq meter in the north part of the island. Please contact

Comino- Dooris - Rockhampton.
submitted by Carole Price (nee Dooris) (
My grandfather, John COMINO, came from Kythera to Rockhampton and married Mabel Esbenson in the early 1900's. Their son, John Leo, was my father and changed his surname to Dooris. I believe that may have been a derivative of the birthplace (Douranikas) of his father. Is there anyone who may be able to help me assist me with my family tree. A friend is leaving for Kythera this Saturday to try and locate some information for me. Looking forward to any information that you can supply. Regards - Carole.

Kassimatis family
submitted by Dean Trearchis (
Hi, looking for any info on the KASSIMATIS family of Kythera and later Australia.
A relative of mine, a Theodosia PANARETOS, married a Ioannis "Jean" KASSIMATIS, and had children Fotini, Stavroula, Stamatia, and Europa.
I know that Fotini, Stavroula, and Stamatia all went to Perth, Australia in 1921. I know that Europa married and died young in Kythera. Any info on them would be great.
Peter Trearchis (age 15)

Alfieris / Vamvakaris Connections
submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli (
I have posted a family register of the descendants of Panayiots Giorgos Alfieris (b. ? d. ?) and his son Giorgos Panayiotis (1860-?). I'm trying to verify the descendants of Maria Alfieris (1887-1960) and Panayiotis Vamvakaris. Any help would be appreciated.

CORONEOS Seeking info on father and grandparents
submitted by Olga Coroneos (
I am endeavoring to trace details of my father Angelo Coroneos/Corones/Koroneos born 1889 arrived in Aust. 1901 with father Peter Coroneos and 2 brothers. Following details are from the Kythera Family News if anyone can assist please contact Olga Coroneos at

Angelo Corones listed as showman age 26 1916 known as the first Kytherian movie mogul. Initially went to Moree NSW established cafe at Goondiwindi about 1906/07 with Peter as principal. Traded as Comino & Co believe was originally Angelo's cafe.
1913 established cafe at Mungindi appears listed in his name until 1930's. Angelo my dad was known as Corones/Coroneos/Crones, Believe he opened a cafe at Mathoura in the late 1930's under the name of A. CRONE.
Angelo originally married a lady called Elsie M Naish in 1914 then in 1944 met my mother Patricia with whom he had 4 children Peter, Nick Olga and Michael. Believe my grandfather arrived as a widower. Please phone Olga on 02 47876506 Fax 02 47875390. I am going to Kythera in 2007 and would like to go to my g/fathers village. Grandfather Peter was also known as "Kambouris" clan. If you can help I would be very grateful. Kind Regards, Olga Greenwood (nee) Coroneos.

Andronikos family
submitted by Dean Trearchis (
Hi I am looking for anyone who knows anything about a Stelios Andronikos who went to Australia. He was the son of George Andronikos (d. 1937) and Fotini Souris.
Any help would be most appreciated.
Peter Trearchis (age 15)

submitted by Theo Koroneos (
Could anyone suggest a good hotel in Agia Pelagia for a 2 night visit in August this year. We have been told that the Romantica Hotel is very good.

Theo Koroneos
Sydney Australia

Locating grandfather's Birth Certificate
submitted by Tania Cassimatis (
I'm hoping someone reading this message will be able to assist me. You see I'm trying to locate whom I would have to contact if I was to locate my Grandfather's birth certificate. Any phone numbers or email addresses would be of help.

Emmanuel Antonis CASSIMATIS was born around 4/7/1899(not too sure on his birth date)on the Island of Kithera, in a small town of Frilinginika. His parents' names were Marie and Antonis CASSIMATIS.

Hoping someone can help me with this and point me in the right direction.
Thank you

Gengos/Tzentzou - Seeking information
submitted by Wendy Frere (
Does anyone have any information on the Gengos/Tzentzou family from Agia Pelagia, before Bill (Vasilios) married Calliope Coroneo(s) and moved to Australia in around 1913? A group of their descendants are planning their first trip to Kythera in Sept, and would like to meet any relatives there. Any information about Calliope and her family would also be greatly appreciated.
Reply - Gengos/Tzentzou - Seeking information
Submitted by Peter Makarthis 03.04.2006
Research indicates the Tzentzos family were located at Potamos when Vasillios came to Australia. See Kythera Cultural Association > Photographic Archive x2

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maria lujan maggi samios - mar del plata argentina
my granfather was born in kithira, i would like to contact someone with the surname "samios" to chat

Theodore Fatseas - Sydney Australia
Family village of origin: Fatsathika
Wonderful site

Maria Loupis - Sydney, Australia
Family village of origin: Mitata
My parents are Evangelos and Eleftheria Sklavos. We came to Australia when I was very young I don't remember much of Kythera but was fortunate to visit 3 years ago. It was a very emotional time for me and my family. My father is a priest in Mitata he is very well known. They are currently living there. My father was in the local newspaper when the earthquake happened, perhaps you saw his picture. It was of two priests discussing the damaged church. My brother is Steve sklavos and we hope to one day visit the island we grew up intogether and perhaps share happy and sad memories.

Alexis Thanasoulas - Paris, France
I discovered the island last summer with my fiance. We were literally stunned by the beauty of the rugged coast, the paradise coves, the fertile central grounds and above all, the kindness of Kytherians. We loved Kythera to the point of getting married there this summer, even though we have no family ties to the island (my Papous is from Andritsena, I was born in Athens, grew up in France and my fiance is French) I understand that economic growth is what islanders strive for (not the sole goal of course) but I am hoping that development can be made sustainable and humane, with green tourism (hiking in the canyons and in the countryside for example) and healthy lifestyle. The last thing I would like is blaring clubs and hordes of noisy tourists. In any case, I am spreading the word that this is a quiet island with many hidden and unknown gems and that needs respect. Let's not make the mistakes of some Cycladic islands or portions of the north coast of Crete. I love your website because I found the family spirit that defines the island. Also, your website helped us as we were looking for a quaint and beautiful vacation spot in the middle of August. So the answer is : yes, your site had an impact: a couple will get married there soon :-) Kind regards and keep up the good work.

Eve Vaggis/Vanges - Dearborn, Michigan U.S.A.
Family village of origin: Karavas
I visited Kythera in January of 2006 with my two grandchildren, Nicole and Nick. We stayed at the 9 Muses Guest House in Agia Pelagia. We visited with friends and distant relatives in Potamos (my mother's home village), roamed about the fields and beaches during the 5 days we were there. I attended church in the village of Karavas and took part in communion. We visited with Mr. & Mrs. Emanuel Pavlakis in Potamos. Very nice people, distant relatives thru my grandmother. I intend to return within the next few years to study further this enchanting island. We experienced a 6.9 earthquake on January 8 while waiting for our lunch to be prepared. Luckily for us we were not hurt, however, if it had hit land rather than in the sea, I know we wouldn't have survived. I loved the quiet nature of the island, no hussle-bustle here. We experienced the priets throwing the cross into the water and the young boys diving in to search for it on St. Stephanos Day. We will return!

Emilie Castrission - Canberra, Australia
Family village of origin: Kastrisianika
My Grandfather was Victor Castrission, I am visiting Kythera at the end of the year.

Katherina Conomos (Megaloconomos) - Tweed Heads Australia
Family village of origin: Kalamos
I came across this site accidently and I think it is wonderful. My Fathers name is Emmanuel Megaloconomos. I know I have a lot of distant relys in Brisbane. So hi out there!

Maria Mazarakis - Arnhem (The Netherlands)
I am Maria Mazarakis (1968), the daughter of Nikos Mazarakis (Athens 1939) and Martha van den Berg. In 1963 Nikos moved to Holland. He is the son of Stavros Mazarakis and Maria Gripiotou who had four children (three girls and one boy). Nikos' grandfather (also called Nikos) once was the director of the central post office in Athens. I am married to Elze Meijering and have two children, Niek (2001)and Isa (2003) Meijering.

Agapi Lianos - Sydney Australia
Family village of origin: Lianianika
Well done on this informative website, creating the opportunity for all Greek/Kytherians to connect and hold high and dear the pride of being Greek Kytherians and sharing our history, stories and questions. My Papou was Georgios Lianos married to Agapi Kominou/Comino part of his immigration story is published in: First section of Chapter XI Australians and Greeks 1 The Early Years Halstead Press Sydney 1992. There are many Lianos names in the phone book and the majority are not related to me. If there is anyone out there that knew any members of my family (Papou and Yaya had 11 children of which only two survive) please contact me I would Love to hear from you. I lived in the UK for 14 years and visited Kythera many times, I love it! Yasou!

Angela Anderson - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.
Family village of origin: Barbakarathika
My Dad is Jack Vamvakaris (dec). IOANIS P. BAMBAKARIS Came out from Kythera at about 16 years of age and died when he was 80 years old. Have ever heard of a Blue Bird Cafe? Well he owned one,from about 1920's to the 1970's in Innisfail, North Queensland. He did a lot for his Local Community and the Greek Church in Innisfail.

Eleni Grady - Queensland, Australia
Family village of origin: Viarathika
My papou was born in Virathika and my Yiayia was born in Fratsia. Their names are Erene and Aleco. They had three daughters: Maria (my mum), Helen and Angela. They used to go to Kythera every summer and are going back this year.

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