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Maps are an important source to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They help you see the neighboring towns and geographic features of the area your ancestor came from. Some Greek maps indicate the county (nomos). Maps locate places, geographical features, transportation routes, and proximity to other towns. Historical maps are especially useful for understanding boundary changes. Maps are published individually or as an atlas. (An atlas is a bound collection of maps.) Maps may also be included in gazetteers, guidebooks, local histories, and history texts.
There are different types of maps that will help you in different ways. Historical atlases describe the growth and development of countries. They show boundaries, migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, and other historical information. Road atlases are useful because of the detail they provide.
Using Maps[edit | edit source]
Maps must be used carefully for the following reasons:
- Often several places have the same name. For example, there are six towns called Loutron in present-day Greece, two of them in the same county (Larisis) but different districts (Elassonos and Larisis).
- The spelling, or even the names, of some towns may have changed since your ancestors lived there. For example, the town presently known as Pelasgia was named Gardiki until the 1930s. Some localities have different names in different languages. For example, Kerkyra is known as Corfu in foreign languages.
- Place names are often misspelled in various sources and the spellings may have been badly changed in transliteration. For example, Hios may be found as Khios or Chios on some maps.
- Administrative boundaries such as counties and districts are not clearly indicated on all maps. Government maps will usually show such information while other maps may not.
Finding the Specific Town on the Map[edit | edit source]
To be successful researching your Greek ancestry, you must identify the town where your ancestor lived. Because many towns have the same name, you may need some additional information before you can locate the correct town on a map. Before using a map, search gazetteers, histories, family records, and other sources to learn all you can about the following:
- The district your ancestor’s town was in
- The county your ancestor came from
- Name of the town where your ancestor was baptized or married
- Towns where your ancestor’s relatives lived
- The size of the town
- Nearby localities, such as large cities
- Nearby features, such as rivers and mountains
- Dates when the town was renamed
- Dates the town existed
- Other names the town was known by
You can use gazetteers to identify the district and county your ancestor’s town was in. This will distinguish it from other towns of the same name, and help you locate it on a map. See the “Gazetteers” section.
Finding Maps and Atlases[edit | edit source]
Collections of maps and atlases are available at numerous historical societies and at public and university libraries. The Family History Library has some good Greek maps and atlases. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:
GREECE - MAPS
The best detailed maps of Greece are published by the Greek government and usually show county and district boundaries. A very good German military map also includes Greece (scale 1:200,000) and uses the Roman alphabet:
Generalkarte von Mitteleuropa (General Maps of 'Middle Europe'''). Wien, Greece: Bundesamt für Eichund Vermessungswesen, 1889–1967. (FHL maps 940 E7bm; film 1181580, item 1)
Another excellent map of Greece shows place names in the Greek alphabet (scale 1:200,000):
Ellas (Greece). Athinai: Ethniki Statistiki Ypiresia tis Ellados, 1963. (FHL maps 949.5 E7e; )
A gazetteer of Greece that goes with the above map is also available:
Ellas (Greece). Athinai, Greece: Ethniki Statistiki Ypiresia tis Ellados, 1965. (FHL book 949.5 E5g)
Not only does this book give the references to where a place can be found on the map, but it also lists for each locality: the municipality or community, district, and county it belongs to, the population as of 1961, and the altitude above sea level. On page 7 of the gazetteer are instructions in English on how to use the references to find a place on the map.
Maps of Greece can also be found on the Internet: