Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Help from unexpected quarters

In the week that brought me dozens of new (old) photos, including Charles Vangelios in his WW1 uniform (see left) and a re-worked cheese biscuit recipe, I have had another offer of possible help from some unexpected quarters.

My brother Ken made contact with the Rossolimo clan and Constantin (Taki) and Effie have been a great help ... most particularly with Effie’s offer, if she has time, to have a look for my family names when next she is in Ithaca and can access the Ithaki archeion.

Like most ‘opportunities’ in ancestry research nothing may come of it ... but then again it might.

Constantin wrote: In our family tree there is a Caralambo Rossolimo born 1770 died 1840. He was a ship owner and a sea merchant.

He was the son of Basilo Rossolimos (1743 - 1802). He had a brother Nicolo (1780 1865). Caralambos had 2 sons Spirodon (1820) and Panaghi (1829). Panagi had three children Caralambo (1863 - 1908), Georgio (died young) and Dr. Andrea Rossolimo (married Maria Saltzi from Constantinople).

According to our records the first Rossolimos to set foot on Ithaki was Nicolo Rossolimos who was appointed as the Governor in 1634.The records in the Ithaki archeion start around 1740. So there is about a 100 year void in data. This branch of the family are recorded in Cephalonia and obviously do not appear on the Ithaki name list.

Effie made the point that Charles could derive from HARALAMBOS, HARILAOS, HRISTOS, HARIS or KAROLOS. This is exciting because previously I had only had a translation of Karolos or Carolus and it seems to me, as I said to Ken, Constantin and Effie, Hristos could well be the origin of Christie which Charlie Ross gave as his father’s name when he married in Gladstone in 1888.

One thing of which I am fairly certain, or as certain as one can ever be when trawling the ancestral past, is that whatever the Greek name might have been, it began with ROS and probably ROSS given that on the marriage certificate Charlie corrects the Greek R (which looks like an English P) to an English R, writes an O, writes a Greek S and then 'remembers' and writes an English S. I would have 'expected' a T not an S at this point if it really was Rostopolous which is our other option.

The other problem is that my Auntie Jessie, who is my father’s sister, is adamant that he came from Ithaca and Rostopolous is a name found only on the mainland. It is possible that she mixed Ithaca up with Kythera since they both sound similar to anglo ears but this leaves the same problem of there being no Rostopolous on Kythera, only Raftopolous which is now excluded.

Conjecture, conjecture, conjecture and so it goes. I still think it makes sense to work with Ithaca before heading to the mainland. Given that Rossolimo and the various spellings of the name were only recorded on Ithaca in 1740, some 110 years before Charlie Ross’s birth, and the Rossolimo family records are still sparse, it is likely that there were other, no doubt poorer members of the family on Ithaca, who ‘slipped through the cracks.’ Or Charlie’s family may have been late-comers to Ithaca. These are all the things I do not know.

Given Greek naming traditions the names of the children are still useful 'guides' in trying to find a family: Constantinus John, (eldest son) Charles Vangelios, (second son) Chrysanthous Christus, (third son) Georgina Anastasia (eldest daughter) and Spiros Andrew (youngest son). Some of these names are certainly found in the Rossolimos family but then they are common Greek names. Charles is distinctive as a Greek name but then so probably are Vangelios and Anastasia and this might be useful in linking with a family.

Some seeds have been sown with the Ithaca Philanthropic Society and the Rossolimos clan and I can only wait to see if they sprout.

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