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Organizers: Topsy Douris and Irini Karimali

Just a bit about myself, Topsy Douris. I was born in the UK of Greek parents but now live on Ikaria. My mother was from Syros and Evia but my father was from Evdilos.

Many years ago I became very interested in genealogy, compiling not only my own family trees but also those of friends and family. For the most time these were trees with roots in Ikaria but I have also researched and compiled trees for my UK family and friends. I quickly learned that finding records in Greece, especially Ikaria, is not an easy task.

A few years ago Irini Karilmali, a good friend and Koubara, showed a keen interest in researching and compiling her own family tree. On starting the project she got so involved that she ended up including her husband's tree as well. All the information she has put in her tree has been collected orally with no reference to documentation. Irini is from Yialiskari but now lives in Karavostamo with her husband, Foti Raptis. I am also aware and in contact with Fani Mavrogeorgi who compiled the Mavrogeorgi tree in the same manner.

While we were socializing one evening I suggested to Irini that we should organize and host a Genealogy Convention here on Ikaria, not only for those Ikarians abroad but also to engage the locals in recording their family histories, and so what started as just an idea has been moulded into reality. The first ever Ikarian Genealogy Convention will take place from the 25th May to 29th May 2020.

Once we decided to organize the convention I needed to reach out and find speakers. I knew that here on Ikaria we have Ilias Gennidis from Karavostamo who is a keen historian and has a superb presentation on the history of Ikaria. A few years back we had a seminar on recording Oral histories and we have an active group on the island. Angeliki Kontaxopoulou who was also in charge of the Ikarian Archives is part of that group.

These things tend to snowball and so it came to our notice that there are a couple of gentlemen who have for years been collecting information on the surnames of Ikaria. Having spoken to one of them Irini learnt he was only too happy to come and share his findings at the convention. So what we needed now was an expert on Genealogy and the Diaspora.

Through a Facebook site I contacted Carol Kostakos Petranek who is a professional genealogist in the USA with roots from Sparta. Carol put me in touch with Greg Kontos. Greg is studying for a Masters in Migration in Holland but is also My Heritage's Greek Projects Manager. At the moment his team is working on four big projects in Greece. In September he will also initiate Support Greek Archives! In addition to all this experience in 2014 he conducted the research for PBS Finding your Roots Greek Episode. As you can understand, I was elated that he was pleased to share his knowledge and expertise with us at the Convention next year. He has already put the dates in his diary. He has also mentioned coming and digitising the Ikarian Church records. This might take a few years but how great would that be?

This website,, will be dedicated to information about the convention. A detailed programme will be available, hopefully by the end of September, together with the progamme of social events.

Our aim for the Convention is to hold English-speaking seminars in the mornings, the evening sessions will be a mixture of some solely Greek language topics (which will be repeats of the morning sessions) and some evening, bi-lingual sessions covering topics like history, surnames and old photos.

We hope to hold the morning sessions on the most convenient side of the island to those attending which will be either in Evdilos or Agios. More on that once the registrations come in. The evening sessions will most probably be in Karavostamo.

We hope to help everyone find accommodation if there are no family homes for them as well as maybe some discounts on things like car rental and eating out. More on this early next year once we have an idea of your requirements.. Numbers will play a big role in negotiating discounts. So there you have it. We are extending the seminar to those on Samos and Fourni due to the fact that this is the first time anything like this will be attempted and we feel that there are common areas that will benefit everyone. The emphasis will however be on Ikaria and Ikarian records and Ikarian family trees.

So please go to the Registration Form and make this happen. There will be no charge for the Convention seminars just for the social events.

Both Irini Karimali and I look forward to meeting you all and helping you find those missing links on your family tree.

Topsy Douris
Kerame, Evdilos

Go now to the Registration Form!
Please use the Contact Form for any queries or clarifications.

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