IDTG http://www.idtg.org Kimon Andreou's blog on heraldry, genealogy, history and other things Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:04:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!http://www.idtg.org/archive/2049-nobody-expects-the-spanish-inquisition/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/2049-nobody-expects-the-spanish-inquisition/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:12:38 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=2049 Escudo_inquisicion

What makes genealogy fascinating is not just finding out who your ancestors were but also making discoveries that make you take step back and really think about the times and lives they lived. I made one such discovery not too long ago while expanding the tree on my mother’s side of the family.

What I discovered was that the younger sister Ines of my 8th great grandfather Miguel de la Peña Lillo y Estrada was prosecuted and convicted by the Spanish Inquisition in Lima, Peru! This was totally unexpected.

On Page 56, Article 4 of the “Anales de la Inquisición de Lima” by Ricardo Ricardo Palma we find the following text:

Ines de la Peñalillo, limeña, de 40 años y dueña de una mazamorrería. Era una mujer blanca y que poseía una decente fortuna. Sus criadas la acusaron de hechicera y de que meneaba la mazamorra con una canilla de muerto. La infeliz dió un paseo á medio vestir y pasó á condimentar mazamorras á Valdivia. Abjuró de leví y fueron confiscados sus bienes.

Not much more is known of this 9th great-aunt of mine but, using today’s understanding of the human mind, it appears that she was probably suffering of some sort of mental illness. I am also convinced that there were some in her environs that probably wanted to get hold of her material assets so, why not use the Office of the Holy Inquisition to help? Naturally, all this is pure conjecture on my part.

In any case, let’s focus on some of the interesting tidbits we see in the text above.

I won’t go into the description of the Spanish Inquisition because all of that can be easily found by looking at online resources like Wikipedia or any number of encyclopedias. Just be aware to separate fact from fiction.

Something that will be hard to find, I know it was for me, are the different types of outcomes for those convicted:

Absolution

The rarest of all outcomes because as opposed to what we are all accustomed to in 21st century modern societies, those taken before the Inquisition were presumed guilty until found innocent.

Suspended process

This was the case when the guilt of the accused could not be unquestionably supported yet the person remained under suspicion. At any time the Inquisition can resume the tribunal against him or her with an eventual conviction. In practice, this was a great loophole for the authorities to get out of prosecuting someone innocent while not admitting error.

Penitence

This required the convicted to publicly denounce (abjure of) his or her crimes. There were three types:

  1. Abjuración de levi: This was a sentence meted out to those that were convicted of “minor” crimes such as bigamists, blasphemers, or those that under a “light” suspicion of heresy. The typical penalties here would be a fine, forced pilgrimage to a holy site, isolation in a convent, or forced fasting of all solids and rarely of even liquids for a period of time.
  2. Abjuración de vehementi: This was for those for whom there were serious suspicions of guilt or there were only two accusing witnesses or the person refused to confess. Typical penalties here would be exile, public flagellation, become a galley slave, or imprisonment.
  3. Abjuración “en forma”: This was in those cases where guilt was proven and the person had confessed their crimes. This was the typical result for those practicing Judaism, especially those that had made a public conversion to Roman Catholicism but continued being practicing Jews in secret. Like with the type above, the typical penalties here would be exile, public flagellation, becoming a galley slave, or imprisonment.

Subsequent convictions of the first type (levi) did not carry extra penalties. Subsequent convictions of the second and third types would mark the person as having relapsed and may even be condemned to death. If the person confessed his or her sins, then they would be strangled before being burned. If they did not confess, they would be burned alive. It should be noted that the actual execution was not carried out by the Church but by the State’s secular authorities to whom the convict would be transferred over after the sentenced was pronounced.

As one can see, the death penalty was reserved for repeat offenders and only in extreme cases, at least in the American Colonies. Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish Inquisition did not automatically burn at the stake everyone that came before it but rather had a range of penalties. Having said that, torture was commonplace and for the non Roman Catholics in Spain, it was a terrifying time with thousands being burnt at the stake during the Inquisition’s existence. Interestingly, as violent as it was at time (at least by today’s standards), torture was not as frequently applied as in the rest of contemporary Europe since even they were of the opinion that confessions brought about during torture are not dependable.

It should also be noted that the Inquisition in the colonies was not as severe as in Spain.

Links of interest:

 

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Agustin Edwards Eastman. Una Biografia Desclasificadahttp://www.idtg.org/archive/2054-agustin-edwards-eastman-una-biografia-desclasificada/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/2054-agustin-edwards-eastman-una-biografia-desclasificada/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 01:28:31 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=2054 cover of book on agustin edwards

Earlier this year a book was published titled “Agustín Edwards Eastman. Una biografía desclasificada del dueño de El Mercurio” by Víctor Herrero, a Chilean journalist with an international background. For those that don’t know, Agustín Edwards Eastman is arguably one of the most powerful men in Chile and has been that for the better part of a century. He is the current owner of the media conglomerate of “El Mercurio” and it is alleged that he was the driving force behind the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende and installed General Augusto Pinochet as the Head of State of Chile.

Normally, I wouldn’t write about a book published that writes about such a public figure. However, this is an exception because (a) Agustín Edwards Eastman is a relative (3rd degree cousin of my maternal grandmother) (b) I was contacted by the author last year while he was doing his research and my name is listed in the book.

The book was the #1 best seller in the non-fiction category in Chile for several weeks and, as of this writing, it is still in the top 10 after 7 weeks. It has had a mixed reception in the country with a broad range of reactions on either side of the political divide. I know that the reception among the Edwards family members hasn’t been entirely positive.

I won’t go into the “meat” of the book which is the actual life of the man but just the genealogy listed. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him though I think my grandmother probably did. In any case, let’s move on.

I have written several articles about the Edwards family of chile:

On pages 102-113 of the first edition of the book, the author goes over the origins in Chile and the family legends that are prevalent in the Edwards family. As the author says, though the founder George Edwards was humble about his origin, his descendants created many stories about a noble past and an exotic origin.

Herrero starts with the story of how George Edwards arrived in Chile in the beginning of the 19th century and then goes into several of the myths that exist. The principle of which is the claim that George Edwards was really the 4th son of Lord Hugh Mostyn, Baron de Vaux and of Elizabeth O’Higgins and not the humble son of the working class George Edwards and Elizabeth Brown.

One of the tantalizing details written in the book is how the first Agustín Edwards in Chile (George Edwards’ 6th born child) married his niece Juana Ross Edwards who was his elder sister’s daughter. It caused a huge scandal at the time considering that the Edwards family was one of the richest in the country and Agustín the richest man. Because they were to marry in the Roman Catholic Church, they needed to get a special dispensation to be allowed to marry. Even though they were very rich, it was not easy (and it shouldn’t be) but they were eventually successful. Juana Ross Edwards, was a very religious woman and there have been many books written about this extremely interesting woman.

Herrero accurately recounts the conversation I had with him regarding the origins of George Edwards, at least according to the available documentation and my 4th great-grandfather’s own words. George Edwards was of humble origin, the son of a carpenter, and grew up in a working class family. He was a barber/surgeon (they were the same thing in the 18th century) and sailed with various ships serving the Crown against the Spanish. There are various stories of how he ended up in Chile, most very romantic speaking of love at first sight, etc. Whichever the truth he deserted his shipmates and chose to stay in “enemy” territory and after spending some time in a Chilean prison, he ended up marrying the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the area and becoming a very successful businessman himself. However, he never forgot his enmity towards the Spanish Crown and when the Chilean Revolution broke out, George Edwards was one of the principle financiers of Bernardo O’Higgins’ enterprise and because of that was granted citizenship in the new republic.

He also summarizes well my refutation of the Mostyn de Vaux myth where I demonstrate that not only is the legend false, it’s also a really bad story that has all facts going against it. As the author states, the particular branch of the Edwards family was among the richest and its scions studied at Eton and Oxford, their members were regulars in the highest aristocratic circles of London and socialized with members of the Royal Family there. The author speculates that they felt they needed a backstory to make them fit in better and, considering it was the late 19th century/early 20th, it may or may not be true. What is true is that when a professional genealogist was hired to research the family, the findings were discarded and never spoken of again because, presumably, the findings were not liked.

What was news to me and pleasantly surprised me was that the famous writer Joaquín Edwards Bello (1st degree cousin to my grandmother’s father) shared the same opinion as I. If someone like him reached the same conclusion as I did, I know I am on the right track!

Now to the disappointing part…

Section from page 104 of the book “Agustín Edwards Eastman. Una Biografia Desclasificada”

 

However exciting it was that my name was in such a popular book, it was a bit of let down to see that my name was written incorrectly (my name is “Kimon Andreou” and not “Kim Andreou”), had my nationality wrong (I am not English but an American of Greco-Chilean parentage), and I am not a distant relative of the Edwards.

However, the citation in the bibliography has my name correct.

To the author’s credit, when I reached out to him he did commit to working with his publisher to correct the mistakes in the next edition. Hopefully, the edits were submitted in time.

Again, as mentioned at the top of this article I am only discussing the sections relevant to the subject area of the blog and not the rest of it. I leave that criticism to others more qualified than I and I will keep my own personal opinions to myself, though my family is aware.

In any case, I would recommend to anyone that is interested in the subject matter to pick up a copy regardless of one’s personal political affiliation and opinion on Agustin Edwards Eastman.

Links of interest:

 

 

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2015 Gala Fundraising Event for the Royal House of Portugalhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/2071-2015-gala-fundraising-event-for-the-royal-house-of-portugal/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/2071-2015-gala-fundraising-event-for-the-royal-house-of-portugal/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 17:40:23 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=2071 IMG_5057.JPG

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Further on the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalemhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/2021-further-on-the-order-of-st-lazarus-of-jerusalem/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/2021-further-on-the-order-of-st-lazarus-of-jerusalem/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:37:00 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=2021 lazarus_cross

I have written before about the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem several times and my personal opinion on their status is on public display right here on this blog. Since writing that original article I have been contacted over the years by many individuals that are members of the various factions of the group. Some have been unchivalrous but most have been very kind in their communications. All, however, tried to prove that the particular Lazarite faction they belong to is legitimate and some even tried to recruit me!

In any case, I have decided to put together a quick reference guide in response to some of the most common arguments presented by the Lazarite supporters.

Fons Honorum

The fundamental requirement for any chivalric order is to have a fount of honor (fons honorum) backing it up. The requirement exists because the chivalric order is a conferral of a distinct kind of honor that elevates the recipient. Such an honor can be granted solely by one that has the capacity to do so, in other words a source for the honors. In practical terms, this means that founts of honor are:

  • Regnant Monarchs of Sovereign States. Examples are the King of Spain, the King of the Belgians, etc.
  • The Head of State of a Republic of a Sovereign State. Examples are the President of the USA, the President of the Hellenic Republic, etc.
  • Heads of formerly regnant Sovereign Houses. Examples are the Royal House of Portugal, the Imperial House of Russia, etc.
  • The 5 Ancient Apostolic Sees of the Christian Church:
    • Holy See of Rome, in the person of the Pope. Note: The sovereignty of the person of the Pope is through the recognition of the sovereignty of the Holy See and not that of the Vatican City State
    • Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the person of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Note: beyond the Apostolic See, he is also co-sovereign of the State of Mt. Athos
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in the person of its Patriarch
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, in the person of its Patriarch
    • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, in the person of the Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria
    • Note: Though not widely known in the Roman Catholic and Protestant West, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates are considered sovereign in their own right, particularly the Ecumenical Patriarchate, based on the same principles as those of the Holy See only in a different geographical area.

There is also the unique case of an Order being in itself sovereign: The Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta. They are today known simply as the Order of Malta or SMOM.

So, let’s examine the Order of St. Lazarus today and their main factions starting with the “Paris-Malta Obedience”, generally referred to as the “Spanish Branch”.

The “Spanish Branch” is currently headed up by its Grand Master Don Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, de jure uxoris Marquis de Almazán. However, he is not a fount of honor and cannot confer honors. Now, if the Order of St. Lazarus were placed under the Spanish Crown, it would become a Spanish Royal Order and effectively a new creation.

I should also note that Francisco de Borbón y de La Torre, de jure uxoris Duke of Seville, under whose Grand Magistry the Order of St. Lazarus was allegedly reconstituted in 1930 (after deciding in 1910 that they are to be governed by its knights without the need of a temporal protector), was also not a fount of honor.

The other main faction is known as the “Orléans Obedience“, under the Royal House of France (Orléans). This one would be considered as a legitimate and valid chivalric order since the Royal House of France is indeed a fount of honor. One can even argue that it would be a sort of revival of the ancient Order that was merged with the Order of Mt. Carmel by the French Crown in the 17th century. However, in a statement made by Henri, Count of Paris & Duke of France, on January 31, 2014 in his capacity as Head of Royal House of France (Orléans) the temporal protection of any group named as “Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem” has been rescinded since Easter 2012. I am including an image of the declaration from the website.

Statement by Count of Paris regarding the Order of St. Lazarus

This means that today, there is absolutely no group with the Lazarite name that has any sort of fons honorum to back it up.

Recognition by the Spanish Crown or any other State

This has been brought up so many times that it never ceases to amaze me how some people just don’t understand what they’re saying. Having a registered legal entity in any jurisdiction does not mean State recognition. It simply means that the proper paperwork was filed and the fees paid to set up a corporation (for-profit or non-profit). Nothing more and nothing less.

Then there are the examples brought forward of certain States, for example the Republic of Hungary, thanking or in some other way acknowledging the Order for something. This is interpreted as recognizing the Order as being a valid Chivalric Order. It’s not. This is the same sort of acknowledgement given to such organizations as the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, etc. and using the name the group uses for itself. It does not mean anything else.

However, let’s hypothetically accept that the group is recognized by a sovereign State. What exactly is being recognized? Is the Order of St. Lazarus claiming to be a sovereign entity in its own right like the Order of Malta? Is the Order of St. Lazarus being recognized as an Order of the sovereign State doing the recognition? What exactly is being recognized other than there exists a group that calls itself “Order of St. Lazarus”?

Finally, many insist that by having Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, de jure uxoris Marquis de Almazán, as the Grand Master of the Paris-Malta Obedience it means that the Royal House of Spain approves the Order. This is a preposterous claim! Carlos Gereda y de Borbón is the 6th cousin once removed on his mother’s side of HM King Felipe VI of Spain, not exactly a close relative.

Protection by the Melkite Patriarch

The Melkite Patriarch has repeatedly confirmed his protection of the Order of St. Lazarus and its various factions. Nobody can dispute this fact. However, this does not make the order anything more than an ecclesiastical honor for the simple reason that the Melkite Patriarch is not a fount of honor and is subordinate to the Roman Pontiff. The Melkite Patriarch has asserted that he is “equal” to the Bishop of Rome but, it is patently clear that is not the case:

  • The Melkite Patriarch has accepted Roman Supremacy and being fully subordinate to the Holy See of Rome
  • Pope Gregory XVI granted Patriarch Maximos III Mazloum the titles of “Patriarch of Alexandria and Jerusalem” in 1838, an action no typically done to one’s equal.
  • In around 1891/2, during Melkite Patriarch Gregory II Youssef’s visit to Rome he was forced to the floor in front of Pope Pius IX and the latter placed his foot on the Patriarch’s head, reminding him of his place.[1][2] The Melkite Patriarch continues to this day to be subordinate to Rome.

This protection is also referenced to cover the gap in the Order of St. Lazarus from 1830 when the Royal House of France decreed it no longer offers its protection to either 1910 (when the Order of St. Lazarus decided it no longer needed a fons honorum) or 2004 (when the Orleans branch of the Royal House of France granted temporal protection, rescinded Easter 2012). It should also be noted that there really isn’t any documentation to cover the period between 1830 to 1910 and much of what is claimed about the period is based on interpretations of insignia seen in paintings that resemble (under certain angles, lighting, and discoloration assumptions) those of the Order of St. Lazarus (maybe).

Finally, support and/or protection of a bishop or archbishop or even the head of a particular Church that makes up the Roman Catholic Church does not grant a group any status above that of ecclesiastical decoration for the simple reason that the fons honorum is not present.

References
  1. Zoghby, Elias (1998). Ecumenical Reflections. Fairfax, VA.: Eastern Christian Publications. p. 83. ISBN 1-892278-06-5.
  2. Parry, Ken; David Melling (editors) (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 0-631-23203-6.

VIP Membership

Another argument put forward to support the legitimacy of the Lazarite groups is the very impressive list of members they have. Nobody can argue that having Grandees of Spain, Flag Officers of the Military, Peers of the UK, and Bishops is not a big deal; it definitely is. However, regardless of the length and breadth of the VIP member list, it does not make it a chivalric order. It makes it a great club for networking but not an order of chivalry.

 

Closing remarks

In closing this article, I will repeat what I have said many times before. Most of the Lazarite groups do amazingly good charity work, moreso than many legitimate chivalric order or even NGOs. I am first to recognize this work and commend them for that; they surely deserve congratulations and admiration for that work. However, they could do that same work without the trappings of a chivalric order and losing their credibility.

 

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A Coat of Arms is a big dealhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1984-a-coat-of-arms-is-a-big-deal/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1984-a-coat-of-arms-is-a-big-deal/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:38:02 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1984 I’ve said it before and will say it again: don’t adopt a coat of arms lightly!

Arms serve, primarily, an identification function i.e. identifying the bearer/owner of the arms. This was true in the legendary beginning of heraldry, recognizing one knight from another from a distance on the battlefield, to today where the arms are more likely to be used as an online profile pic. An equivalent of sorts is an identifying tattoo or your unique signature.

However, what makes a coat of arms particularly special is that it is inherited. Using the tattoo example, think of a coat of arms as a tattoo that will be inherited by your descendants until the end of time (or the line dies out, whichever comes first). Just like you would want to be absolutely sure about the tattoo you’re going to get, you need to be absolutely sure about your arms. Even more so because of the hereditary nature of arms.

The inspiration for this post comes after reading the entry of October 9th on the blog “Crónicas heraldicas” by José Juan Carrión Rangel whereby someone is announcing publicly that he no longer wants his adopted arms as they no longer represent him. He is essentially going through a tattoo removal process, something most everyone wants to avoid happen.

The lesson learned from this story is to take it slow, do your soul-searching, take your time, test different versions, take your time, think hard and deep, and did I mention take your time?

 

See also:

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Giakoumeloshttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1921-giakoumelos/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1921-giakoumelos/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:23:32 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1921 On my paternal grandmother’s side I descend from one of the older families in the Hellenic region, that of the Giakoumelos (Γιακουμέλος) of the island of Zakynthos also known as Zante (Ζάκυνθος). According to the definitive book on the families of the island, Λεξικόν Iστορικόν και Λαογραφικόν Zακύνθου (Historical & Folkloric Dictionary of Zakynthos) volume 1 by Λ.Χ. Ζώης, the family has been on the island since before 1478. However, the family was not listed in the Golden Book (Libro d’Oro) of the island, maintained during the Venetian rule.

The family were the founders of the village of Gyri (Γύρι), located at the highest point on the island. For centuries, the family has led the village in a form similar to a señorío in Spain. Over the centuries, the family broke out into branches each with its own nickname but maintaining the surname:

  • Camberi (Καμπέρη)
  • Colovieni (Κωλοβιένη)
  • Cousoula (Κουσουλα)
  • Dairis (Νταΐρης)
  • Darios (Νταρίος)
  • Gialia (Γιαλιά)
  • Malouchos (Μαλούχος)
  • Roros (Ρωρός)
  • Roupa (Ρούπα)
  • Vardakastani (Βαρδακαστάνη)

The above are those I know about and there may very well be several more. In any case, of the ones listed above the Dairis and the Roros branches seem to have risen to the headship of the seignure and to have maintained that over the centuries. For example, the Roros were treated as the aristocracy of the village of Gyri. What is fascinating is that to this day, the family leads the small village and has a leadership role in the regional administration.

It should be noted that Gyri has always been a tiny village, out of the limelight and there back in the day it was very much isolated from the hustle and bustle of the islands capital, let alone the rest of the world. Marriages were usually with families in the neighboring, also tiny, villages such as the case of my paternal maternal great-grandmother who was a Moraitis.

Now, there is ample documentation about the Giakoumelos going to the mid 15th century but, what about before that? The family didn’t spring from out of nowhere so we need to see what was going on at that time on the island.

After the 4th Crusade of 1204 what was once the Eastern Roman Empire, better known as the Byzantine Empire, got split into a number of small kingdoms under the rule of the Western European Crusaders. As the Crusaders were all Roman Catholic and the general name for them in the Eastern Orthodox lands they conquered was “Latins” or “Franks”, the period during which these kingdoms existed is known as Francocracy or Frankokratia (Φραγκοκρατία). The rule ended truly in the 20th Century when Italy returned the Dodecanese to Greece after World War 2 though most would put the end in the early 19th Century when the Napoleonic controlled Republic of Venice ceded its Greek territories to the British Crown. To complete the story, the British gave those same lands to the new Kingdom of Greece with the coronation of King George I of Greece.

So, where does Zakynthos fit in this whole mix? Zakynthos was always treated as a package deal with Cephalonia (Κεφαλονιά), the latter usually having more noble families. This pair of islands has a particular history that starts diverging from their Greek Orthodox brothers in 1185 when the King of Sicily created the County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos for the services rendered to the Crown by Margaritus of Brindisi. After the first Count Palatine, the title went to the Orsini family in 1195. In 1325 it goes to the House of Anjou-Sicily and in 1357 to the Tocco family who kept it until 1479. This year was the first time that the two islands split rulers: Cephalonia was occupied by the Ottomans while Zakynthos went to the Republic of Venice. I should point out that 21 years later, Cephalonia joined Zakynthos and also came under the Venetians.

Notice the year that the Republic of Venice took over the island of Zakynthos and the year the Dictionary above uses as a mark for the family. This means that the Giakoumelos were on the island, with the name “Giakoumelos” before the Venetians took possession of the island. Unfortunately, there isn’t much about Zakynthos on the pre-Venice years, especially regarding its minor nobility or other genealogical records.

So, where does this leave us regarding the origins of the family? This is what we know:

  1. The family were the leaders of their village and treated like aristocracy however, they were not listed in the Golden Book (Libro d’Oro) of the island maintained by the Venetians
  2. They have been on the island for over 5 centuries and we don’t know much from before the mid 15th century
  3. Greeks of “Frankish” descent hellenized their names. For example, Capo d’Istria became Kapodistrias (Καποδίστριας).

Now that we have some background let’s try to take each item, one at a time.

The family was the equivalent to medieval seignures or señores (in the Spanish sense) or, to anglicize it, like a feudal Lord of the Manor. Not only that, they were of a village in the middle of the island and effectively, the middle of nowhere. So far removed they were from the center of power in city of Zakynthos (capital of the island) that many had never even been there! If one examines the Golden Book of the island one finds all the major players in the capital but none of these families were from the hinterland representing the less cosmopolitan parts. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Giakoumelos are not listed there as I’m sure dozens of other families of similar stature aren’t.

 So, where did they come from? The bibliography doesn’t say that they are native to the island nor does it say where they are from. This is where we can come up with hypotheses based on some circumstantial evidence.

As the island was under “Frankish” rule for 300 years prior to Venice taking over and the bibliography is silent about any families from Constantinople with a similar name migrating there, we can assume then that the family has a Western European origin. It’s the only alternative. Where, though, did these people come from? Considering that the Orsini and the Tocco were of Italian descent and that their County was under the protection of the Sicilian or Neapolitan Crowns, the most likely case is that the Giakoumelos come from what is today Italy. This prompted me to do a simple Google search restricted to Italy with the search word of “giakoumelos”. What I found was amazing!

I discovered that there is an ancient Italian family with the name of Giacomello that has had a long history in their region of origin. What is their region? Venice! It’s all now coming together. A family with a notably Italian sounding name, without any mention of them in the Greek lands other than on Zakynthos, an island under Venice’s control for 450 years, is probably related to a quintessentially Venetian family with almost the exact same name. It is self evident that Giakoumelos is an hellenization of Giacomello, following the pattern of so many other hellenized surnames.

The hypothesis is a good one but, can it be proven? This is the hard part. This is a research project that must be attacked from both ends: the Giakoumelos end and the Giacomello end. Is there documentation proving descent of the Giakoumelos from the Giacomello? Did the Giacomello go to Zakynthos and if so, when? If they were notable in Venice why do they not appear in the Golden Book of the island? Why did they decide to live in the most remote part of the island?

So many questions but, not many answers.

Searching backwards, from the Giakoumelos to Venice may prove to be the most difficult since there are sparse records today about the island. Unfortunately, as per the curator of the archives of the island told me, almost all the records were destroyed in a fire caused by the major earthquake of 1953 that ruined most of the island. I hope one day to find a definitive answer.

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Advice on genealogical researchhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1913-advice-on-genealogical-research/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1913-advice-on-genealogical-research/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:56:20 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1913 I am frequently asked by people how to go about their genealogical research. Many have not started at all while others have some bits and pieces of data but, not at all organized and mostly in their head.

With this blog post, I’m going to try to share the same advice I’ve given friends and others that have contacted me with this same question. It may be of value to you or not but, I have found it works for me.

Write down everything you know or think you know
This is very important. Be as detailed as possible. It will give you a good idea of what it is that you know about your family tree, relations, legends, stories, etc. This will allow you to identify gaps in your knowledge and will help create a road map of what you need to tackle. You may discover that you don’t know the birthdays of any of your cousins or that you don’t have the names of your mother’s cousins.

Attempt to put it in the form of a tree, what do you get?

After you’ve analyzed what you already know, you will be able to start asking the right questions

Don’t discount family stories/legends

We all have that family story of the great-great-grandad who was the King or Prince or was the richest person in town or owned all the land in a region or something like that. More often than not, this is complete hogwash. However, within these stories are grains of truth. It may be that great-great-grandad was not a prince but he was an officer that worked for him or worked at the prince’s favorite bar. Examine the story and see what can be discovered. You will ultimately prove or disprove the story, which is an achievement in itself, but you will also find the truth and some fascinating stories about your family.

Talk to senior family members

The only certainties in life are death and taxes. This is why it is important to make the most of the time we have with the eldest members of our family. They can be parents, uncles, grandparents, cousins, whatever they all have a story to tell. Spend some time with them and just have a conversation about the family. Don’t make it an interview or an interrogation, just let them talk. You’ll find that all they need is a reason to tell their stories and off they go!

I would recommend having a recorder handy to record the conversation, this way you won’t be worried about committing it memory or keeping notes and can focus on the actual story, asking questions when needed and steering them away from tangents.

Don’t worry about inconsistencies or contradictions. Have them go back to the same event from a different path and see if they say the same thing. You will also, hopefully, have the chance to compare with other elder family members.

Document, document, document

Did I say document already? Everything you do or find should be documented. Try to find proofs of whatever it is you are examining. These proofs can be birth/baptismal certificates, death certificates, marriage certs, wills, court decisions, video, pictures, anything. Pretend that your genealogical research will have to be presented in court, that should give you a good feel of how well to prepare.

If you ever plan on petitioning to join any sort of hereditary society, you will need at least a birth/baptismal, marriage, and death certificate for every person in every generation in the line in question, going back as far as possible.

Use good software

If you are doing it all in pen and paper, more power to you. For the rest of us that live in the current century, we like computers. I won’t go into the benefit of using a computer for this as it should be self evident but I will go into the importance of using the right software.

Some may prefer to use Word or Excel and some may have even gotten creative and are tracking things in an Access database you’ve built yourselves. Great! But, it’s not good enough. You need specialized software that can handle all the aspects of genealogical research, handles backups efficiently, is easy to use, can generate reports, perform searches, organize sources, and can support the standard data interchange formats that have been developed specifically for genealogical research.

There are a lot of options out there ranging from desktop only solutions to iPad apps to web based ones. Some are completely free while others are paid for and still others are in between. The choice is yours. I do strongly suggest that you try before you buy, to make sure it does what you need.
Supporting the standard data interchange, called GEDCOM, is crucial. Especially if you’re going to transfer your data from one application to another or what to share with another researcher/family member. Re-entering 10-20 people is a pain but doable. Re-entering 10,000 is reason enough to crawl into a corner and start crying.

Use online sources cautiously

Sites such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com are amazing resources. However, one must exercise caution when using them and really examine the source information. If there are scanned images associated with the text, examine them. Never take anything at face value because mistakes can and do happen. This is more prevalent on sites such as Ancestry.com and Rodovid.org since individuals may basically enter whatever they want. For example, according to Rodovid.org I am a direct descendant of Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea!

Also, Google is a great tool. You never know what you may find simply searching on a name. Give it a try!

Patience

All the other stuff is important but, perhaps the most important thing to have when embarking on the journey of genealogical discovery is patience. This is a lifelong project and probably even longer. Disappointment abounds as do brick walls. However, patience and perseverance will help you push forward and make the discoveries that will make you feel it is all worth it. It IS worth it!

I hope this helps and I am open to discussing your own experiences. Feel free to post below in the comments section or shoot me an email.

 

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Reunión de Tejada en Antequerahttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1906-reunion-de-tejada-en-antequera/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1906-reunion-de-tejada-en-antequera/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 02:51:02 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1906 Solar de tejada

By Javier Alfonso de Somalo y Mendiola:

La Junta de Gobierno del Antiguo e Ilustre Solar de Tejada, informa que el próximo 18 de Mayo de 2013 se celebrará en la ciudad de Antequera (Málaga) unas jornadas de convivencia del Solar, como se acordó en la Junta General de 2012.

La jornada comenzara con una recepción protocolaria en el Salón de Plenos del Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Antequera a las 11:00h, donde habrá una conferencia sobre “La Colonia Camerana en Antequera y su vinculación con la mesta” impartida por Doña Pilar Jiménez y Casaus, Profesora de Historia y descendiente de los Hernández de Tejada de Laguna de Cameros.

Tras la conferencia se hará la visita a la Iglesia de San Juan de Dios y a la Iglesia de Los Remedios (Iglesias muy vinculadas al Linaje de los Díez de Tejada)

A las 14:00 se hará un almuerzo en los Salones Pura Valle.

El precio del cubierto y de la visita al Museo Municipal es de 36€, habrá que ingresarlo en la cuenta 0081 7470 33 0006201134 de Banco Sabadell, poniendo en el concepto la familia que hace el ingreso y luego enviar al correo electrónico jjc.antequera@hotmail.com del Divisero Joaquín Jiménez y Casaus el nombre completo de los asistentes correspondientes a ese ingreso.

El número de plazas del salón es de 160 personas, por el aforo limitado del salón se ruega la confirmación lo antes posible.

A las 16:30 iremos a visitar algunos edificios civiles vinculados a Diviseros del Solar y terminara la jornada con una visita al Museo de la ciudad (Palacio de Najera).

Para aquellos que necesiten hacer noche en Antequera se recomienda los siguientes hoteles:

  • Hotel Coso Viejo (en una típica casa señorial antequerana, en pleno centro de La Ciudad)
    Teléfono: 952 70 50 45
  • Hotel Antequera Golf
    Teléfono: 951 06 04 00
  • Parador Nacional de Turismo
    Teléfono: 952 84 02 61

Javier Alfonso de Somalo y Mendiola

Teniente Diputado por Almarza de Cameros

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Arms of the Royal House of House of Karađorđevićhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1878-arms-of-the-royal-house-of-house-of-karadordevic/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1878-arms-of-the-royal-house-of-house-of-karadordevic/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2012 04:01:38 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1878

The arms above are a new emblazonment of the arms of the Royal House of Karađorđević (Karageorgevich) as created by Royal Heraldic Artist Ljubodrag Gurjich.

Below is the text on the work coming from the artist himself:

Performing my duties as the heraldic artist to the Royal House of Karadjordjevic I worked on the new emblazonment of the house coat of arms of the House of Karadjeordjevic during December 2011 and January 2012. The Herald of the House, Mr Dragomir Acovic, graciously gave me initial advice and his detailed reconstruction study of the Order of Saint Prince Lazar done in 1982, and then granted me full autonomy in execution of this work. The emblazonment was approved by the Head of the House, HRH Aleksandar II by the end of January, and was officially used for the first time on 14th February 2012.

This heraldic composition was first used in Serbdom in 1917 and the same blazon version was reconstituted in post-Yugoslav period.

As it is well known, Crown Prince Alexander is the current head of the dynasty and pretender to the Serbian throne.

Official website of the Royal House of Serbia: http://www.royalfamily.org/

Official website of Royal Heraldic Artist Ljubodrag Grujich: http://www.ljubodraggrujic.com/

 

 

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Orders of the Serbian Orthodox Churchhttp://www.idtg.org/archive/1779-orders-of-the-serbian-orthodox-church/ http://www.idtg.org/archive/1779-orders-of-the-serbian-orthodox-church/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2012 12:25:21 +0000 http://www.idtg.org/?p=1779  

 

Like her sister churches in other countries, the Serbian Orthodox Church has a number of orders of merit it gives out to deserving people, in recognition for their services. Though there are a number of decorations the process for awarding them is similar across: the candidate needs to be recommended by a diocesan bishop to the Holy Synod that will, in turn, confer on the matter and decide.

For those who are not familiar with the Orthodox Communion, the highest authority within any particular Church is the Holy Synod and not any particular individual.

 

Order of St. Sava

The creation of these awards of merit started in 1985 with the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its first Archbishop. It was at this time that the Holy Synod decided to create the Order of St. Sava in three classes:

  • The first class has the colors of the order being white
  • The second class has the colors of the order being red
  • The third class has the colors of the order being blue

To qualify for the next higher class, one must be in the previous one for at least three years. The brevet for the order is signed by either the Patriarch or his deputy.

 

Order of St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming

This award was created in 2009 in honor of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja who lived in 12th century Serbia and was canonized under the name of St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming due to the reported miracles attributed to him. The award is given to statesmen that have contributed to the improvement of relations between Church and state. This award is open to both Serbs and foreigners.

 

Order of St. Emperor Constantine

Honoring the life and enormous contributions to the Faith that St. Constantine the Great made, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church created the Order of St. Emperor Constantine. This high distinction is reserved for thos that have made great contributions to the freedom of religion and the promotion of human rights. There aren’t any nationality restrictions for the award

 

Order of the Holy King Milutin

Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia was king of Serbia between 1282 to 1321 and managed to elevate his country to one of the most powerful states in the region. He also introduced much of the Byzantine culture to the kingdom and founded a large number of monasteries. Since King Milutin was such a great benefactor for Serbia, it is in his honor that this particular order was created in 2009 and it is meant to reward great philanthropists.

 

Order of St. Peter of Cetinje

Named after Petar I Petrović-Njegoš, this order was created in 2009 by the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It should not be confused with the order of the same name that is under the Royal House of Petrović-Njegoš (Montenegro).

This distinction is awarded in recognition of missionary work, evangelism, promoting peace and personal sacrifice.

 

Order of the Holy Empress Milica – Venerable Jevgenija

Named after Empress (Tsaritsa) Milica, wife of Serbian Prince Lazar, who is most famous for her poem of mourning for her husband “My Widowhood’s Bridegroom”. After the death of her husband, she became a nun under the name of Jevgenija. This particular award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions for the improvement of the lives of the poor, the sick, and the helpless.

 

Order of the Holy Despot Stefan Lazarevic

Named after the ruler of the Serbian Despotate between 1389 and 1427, he was the son of Prince Lazar and Empress Milica. He was an enlightened ruler and can be considered the one to have brought the Renaissance to the realm.

This distinction is awarded to those individuals who have made significant contributions to culture, where it be literature, poetry, the arts, etc.

 

It should be noted here again that the Holy Synod reserves the right to revoke any honor previously bestowed if the awardee violates in some way the Serbian Orthodox Church. It should also be stressed that the awarding of any Church award is not a form of salvation as the awardee must remain committed to the path of Christ and be an example to others.

All awards by the Holy Synod are gazetted in the official journal of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

 

Source: Very Reverend Protopresbyter Savo B. Jovic. “Ордени Српске Православне Цркве које додељује Свети Архијерејски Сабор, односно Свети Архијерејски Синод“. “Orthodoxy” newspaper of the Serbian Patriarchate.

 

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