Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: It's all Greek to me...

 Photo used under Creative Commons licence courtesy of archer10 (Dennis) on Flickr

And yes for all you Aussies out there, I do realise it is Wednesday - I'm just keeping time with our colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere.  So today's blog post is stimulated by Geneablogger's daily blog prompt.  It's also a bit of professional practice reflection so I'd be grateful for your comments.

"What advice would you give to another genealogist or family historian, especially someone just starting out? Remember when you were new to genealogy? Wasn’t it great to find tips and tricks that worked for others? Post your best tips at your genealogy blog on Tuesday’s Tip. This series was suggested by Susan Petersen of Long Lost Relatives and, in fact, this has been an ongoing series by Lynn Palermo at The Armchair Genealogist and by Miriam Robbins Midkiff at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors."

Yesterday (which was Tuesday for us in Oz) a patron came into the library seeking assistance.  Now I know we need to protect client confidentiality and all that so - no names, no pack drill - but I don't think he'd mind if I told you that he came from Greek ancestry - let's call him the Greek God.

Well, the closest I get to Greek Ancestry is my christian name and it stops right there.  So I cheerfully confessed ignorance in this area and we sat down together and thrashed out a few ideas.

I asked him what tools he had used so far.

Yes he has been back to Greece.  That's always an excellent start but not necessarily an affordable ongoing option.  He had managed to search some Council records but they seemed to come to a grinding halt in the 1800s.

He had also had some success with Facebook - something that I haven't really used yet for family history purposes.

He had tried to use Ancestry but with little success.  There are some records on there but not many.

What else could he use?  

This is what I suggested (and I admit to clutching at straws here and would be very grateful for your advice and suggestions too).
I showed him our library catalogue page with the quick link to our Genealogy page in the bottom right hand corner.  This page has lots of useful links on it.  

The one I suggested he might find useful is the Learning Resources of the Family Search page - in particular the Research Wiki.  If you put Greece into the Search box you get 218 fabulous results here.

I also suggested he join a bulletin board or two through Rootsweb.  Here is a link to the bulletin boards featuring the word Greece.

I checked our catalogue but couldn't find any books on tracing your ancestors in Greece.  We checked Gould Books catalogue but this was about the only general guide we could find.

Last but not least, I did point out that, given I had to ask him to spell his surname several times, it probably got a bit lost in translation over the years and perhaps he should consider different spellings.  There is some free software by Matthew Coombs called the Surname Suggestion List

So - what tips would you have given the Greek God?


Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

Become an orphan?

Luvvie said...

It's all very well for Royalty to be so flippant - you can lie back on your pedigree and let the lackeys run around and do your research for you ;) Looking forward to a cosy catch up soon....

geneabloggers said...

Great work - I do focus on Greek genealogy since I've researched for my in-laws here in Chicago (which has the largest Greek population for a city outside of Athens). I especially like that you pointed out the FamilySearch Research Wiki!

Luvvie said...

Thanks for that feedback Thomas - I was reading Angus Baxter's chapter in "In Search of Your European Roots" today and I must say that his concluding paragraph on the chapter on Greece was a bit glum: "It is not wise to be optimistic about your genealogical research in Greece..."...It did end on a bright note for my Greek God though, as the last sentence was: "If you area is the Aegean Sea and its islands, you may be luckier than if it were on the mainland because there was less destruction of records." which is from where I think his family hails.