Alexander Armenis (Alex)

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Alexander Armenis

Greek: Αλέξανδρος Αρμένης
Also Known As: "Alex"
Current Location:: Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Spyridon Armenis, SV/PROG and Christina Johanna Armenis, Chrissie
Husband of Marie-Therése Armenis
Half brother of <private> Clur (Kellerman)

Occupation: Clinical Psychologist, Businessman
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Alexander Armenis (Alex)

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I am a volunteer curator for Geni.com, with a current focus on South Africa, Namibia and the Ionian islands.

Don't be surprised if you find me in parts of the World Family Tree near to you. It's part of my work as a Geni curator to help clean up the World Tree, so I might end up in branches close to you. If you see my work in the tree near where you are working, say hello! I'm delighted to meet you, and happy to be of service. And, of course, if I've made any mistakes, please let me know, and attach sources to the profile or in a Discussion under that profile. All of us, curators and users alike, work together here on Geni.

If you would like to learn more about the concept 'World Family Tree' on Geni, please visit the Geni project: Connecting to the Big Tree for more information about it.

Main interest: Genetic genealogy

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mtDNA lineage

1. Christina Johanna Armenis (Alberts)

2. Christina Johanna Alberts (du Plessis)

3. Cecilia Johanna du Plessis (Grobler)

4. Johanna Susanna Hendrina Grobler (du Plessis)

5. Cecilia Johanna du Plessis (Potgieter)

6. Johanna Susanna Hendrina Potgieter (Steyn)

7. Cecilia Johanna Steyn (Grobler)

8. Maria Margaretha Grobler (de Bruyn)

9. Aletta Johanna de Bruyn (Oosthuizen)

10. Maria Anna Oosthuizen (Coetzer)

11. Maria Coetzer (Botha)

12. Anna Botha (van der Merwe)

13. Anna van der Merwe (Prevot)

14. Marie Prevot (le Febre) SM

15. Elisabeth le Febre (le Bleu)

  • Anna Prevot - Confirmed T2b1 by triangulation of full mitochondrial sequence (FMS) from Shirley Norris & Alexander Armenis.

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How many family members the world over have I tracked down?

If we consider for a minute that we have 2 ancestors in the first generation, namely our parents. Then there are 4 ancestors in the second generation, this includes our grandparents. We end up with 8 ancestors in the 3rd generation, 16 in the 4th, 32 in the 5th, 64 in the 6th, 128 in the 7th, 256 in the 8th, 512 in the 9th and 1024 ancestors or great-grandparents in the 10th generation.

A generation is between 25 and 30 years. It is therefore reasonable to assume that within the space of between 250 and 300 years we will have 1024 great-grandparents. If one considers that each pair of great-grandparents had on average two or more children, our cousins can easily run into the tens or hundreds of thousands. Take a minute to ponder this number.

In the village of Giannades on the Ionian island of Corfu, where my paternal grandparents lived, there are very few local inhabitants that are not related to me in some way or another, whether a 1st or 5th cousin, almost every member of the community is a relative of mine.

The district was historically known as 'Potamogeitonon' meaning the suburb of Potamo and neighbouring settlements. The village of Giannades, a traditional agricultural settlement, was the largest in the district.

With the use of DNA testing I confirmed whether my paternal Armenis lineage was related to the Armenis family in the suburb of Potamos, approximately 15km from my grandparents’ village of Giannades. I was introduced to a distinguished gentleman who had a remarkable personal journey, an elder in the community of Potamo and Corfu Town who had lived and studied architecture and fine art in Paris and Belgium. Armenis from the suburb of Potamos was a retired architect, an accomplished painter and engraver of personalized rifles. His career took him to Europe, Canada and South Africa and over the course of many months we became close friends. We shared family information and had our Y-DNA tested.

It took approximately two weeks for the test kits to arrive on the island of Corfu. After a quick and easy cheek-swab we sent our samples back to the return address on the envelope and waited anxiously for the results.

Six weeks had passed when we were informed of the DNA test results. The test we had purchased was a 12-marker STR starter kit. The results were a 100% match, it was 12/12 on both our test results. This confirmed that the Armenis family in the village of Giannades on the West-Coast of Corfu and the Armenis family from the suburb of Potamos on the East-Coast, both shared a common paternal ancestor. This was how I met a good friend and a mentor, who also happened to be related to me.

Where has my family research taken me?

I have made many good friends along the way and experienced more than I could have hoped for. The hours I spent sitting in the reading room of the National Archives at the old fortress in Corfu Town placed me around the same table with numerous intellectuals, playwrights, poets, genealogists and writers. The intellectual community on Corfu allowed me to share the knowledge I had gained and learn from genealogists and researchers that had an intimate knowledge of the history of the island.

I traveled throughout the island of Corfu collecting information from a number of interviews I had with locals who had worked as secretaries in the local district municipalities before the Capodistrias system of centralized governance was introduced after 2000. I visited old monasteries and churches where the Armenis family had established, together with other local families, the cultural institutions that provided the economic and cultural lifeblood of Corfiote society.

The most interesting documents in the National Archives that I managed to study were the land registries and population census records created by the Venetian administration on Corfu. The Venetian administration governed the island for over 400 years, leaving behind a vast archive of historical and administrative archives.

The island was divided into Baronies with each Barony possessing its own illustrated land registry and census record with each parcel of land designated a mapped location with a brief genealogy alongside it. To a genealogist this was manna from heaven.

Where have I tracked people down to?

Most of my family were located in the vicinity of the village where my father was born. This included some of the surrounding villages where family members had settled as a result of marrying a member of a neighbouring village. In these cases, it only took a generation or two for members of a family branch to lose touch with their relatives in their village of origin, in most case a neighbouring settlement nearby.

I have contacted cousins living in Venezuela, Denmark, Canada, England, USA and Australia. Their grandparents had left the village of Giannades and relocated to the Greek capital of Athens, after which their parents had married and continued to live in Athens or gone on to immigrate overseas.

On one of my visits to the National Archives on Corfu, I met a gentleman who was also interested in genealogy and happened to be researching his maternal family with the surname Leftheriotis. His name was Christos Rantos, an exceptional athlete, the Greek National indoor-cycling champion and a career Air Force fighter-pilot based on the island of Crete. To our astonishment, the family he was researching happened to be my grandmother’s Leftheriotis family from the village of Giannades. We collaborated and shared information and we have since become good friends.

Another valuable experience was how I managed to find a fourth cousin whom I got to know by watching him as a TV journalist. He is named Nikolaos (Nikos) Armenis, ex-political commentator for Skai News Channel in Athens who currently has his own television show that focuses on the sport of running in Greece. I first got in touch with his father, a maritime engineer in Venezuela, named Petros Armenis. After confirming the family relation I spoke to my father who told me that when he was a little boy visiting his grandparents in Giannades, there lived next door to his grandfather’s house a cousin of his grandfather, named Petros Armenis … and his wife Nikoleta Asoniti. My father could only remember Nikoleta’s nickname or ‘paratsoukli’ as ‘Kokolia’ and how she gave him sweets whenever he went over to the house next door.

I passed the above information onto Petros Armenis and he confirmed that it was his grandmother ‘Kokolia’ and his grandfather Petros Armenis. We have since become good friends and share information about the village and our lives abroad.

For more go to Greek City Times, 2 August 2016

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Presentation delivered on the 7th and 9th of March 2017 at the Genealogical Institute of South Africa (GISA). The event was sponsored by the University of Stellenbosch and the Genealogical Institute of SA as part of 'Die Woordfees 2017'.

Venue: GISA, 115 Banhoekweg, Stellenbosch.

Theme: Die Dorslandtrek / The Thirstland Trek

Overview: The use of genetic genealogy, history and conventional genealogy were discussed with examples within the context of the Thirstland Trek and more specifically, Angolan Afrikaner ancestry.

Speaker: Alexander Armenis