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James Prineas

August 2004

contents of this month's newsletter:
1. Introduction
2. Letter from Kythera
3. Thanking our sponsors
4. Some site statistics
5. Email of the month
6. Entry of the month
7. Frequently asked questions

Dear Friends of Kythera,

as a special newsletter to celebrate Kythera-Family.net's first birthday, this month's newsletter comes to you directly from the island, written by Robin Tzannes, the curator of our website's internationally recognised Kythera Museum of Natural History. Robin, who usually spends half her year on Kythera and the other half in her native New York City, is a Kytherian by choice and marriage. She home-schooled her two lovely boys (now men!) for many years on Kythera and they too return regularly for their dose of Tsirigotiko atmosphere. Like many "foreigners" who live on Kythera, Robin's enthusiasm for the island outstrips that of many locals, and gives us Diaspora Kytherians a fresh view of our heritage.

James Prineas, Website Team Leader Europe

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by Robin Tzannes

We returned to the island late in May, and everyone was still talking about the long, cold winter of 2004. Some said it was the coldest on record, with an unusually heavy snowfall. In many places the ground froze for days, bursting pipes, cracking tiles, and damaging citrus trees and flowering shrubs.

Still, it was said to have been a most beautiful sight: olive trees glistening with frost, fields blanketed in snow, all traffic stopped, the island hushed and muffled in winter white.

Now, in July, new lemon branches have shot up from their sturdy old roots, bright green and full of vigour. The crickets are singing their relentless summer song, and the shining emerald rose beetles are swarming in the purple artichoke blossoms. Follow this link to see one of Nature’s most brilliant colour combinations: http://www.kythera-family.net/beetle

Family Fun
I finally decided to enter the Tzannes family tree onto the kythera-family website. I found the system very user-friendly, and had an easy time with Pappou, Yiayia and all the great aunts and uncles. But I suddenly hit a snag with Thea Kalliope's husband Panayotis, whose name just wouldn't register on the tree. Frustrated, I sent an e-cry for help, and the site administrator quickly discovered my error: I had entered both Kalliope and Panayotis as men! The website knew that couldn't be right.

On my next online session I was more careful, and found the system got easier as I became familiar with it. By the time I reached the 15th relative, I was hooked. To date I've listed 96 family members, and I'm only half finished. The tree quickly blossoms out in so many directions, it's hard to choose which way to go next.

The happiest moment was when I entered the names of my own sons. Seeing their place in the long family line gave me an unexpected rush of pride and – I admit it – brought a lump to my throat. Try it with your own family – it's a surprisingly moving experience.

How to Clean a Skull
Last week I got a call from my good friend Harry Mitchell, who had found a dead turtle near Diakofty and wanted to know, "How do I clean the skull?" Believe it or not, I get this question all the time. The answer is simple: bury the specimen, and let the bugs clean it for you. If it has teeth, put it in a mesh bag to keep all the pieces together. Then simply dig a pit, cover your specimen with several inches of dirt, and put some heavy rocks on top to discourage dogs from digging it up. In about two months your animal skull should be ready to display. There's a picture of the spotlessly clean Loggerhead Turtle skull in the Kythera Museum of Natural History. Here is the direct link: http://www.kythera-family.net/turtle

Best wishes for a happy summer to all Kytherians near and far, from our rocky, windswept island.

Robin Tzannes
Curator of the Kythera Museum of Natural History

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Between 1. July 2003 and 31. December 2003, 791 documents were submitted to the site.
Between 1. January 2004 and the 8. July 2004, 2646 documents were submitted to the site.

Number of total entries on the site over the past year:
July 2003 125 Entries
August 2003 174 Entries
September 2003 310 Entries
October 2003 381 Entries
November 2003 638 Entries
December 2003 765 Entries
January 2004 780 Entries
March 2004 935 Entries
April 2004 1702 Entries
July 2004 3638 Entries

Here is a list of the submitters of 10 or more entries to the site (many thanks to all of them!):

Anitsa Protospaltis 10
Giannis Cassimatis 10
Lindsay Johnstone 11
Vi Malos 12
Michael Mattys 12
Eleni Harou 14
Eleni Malanos 14
Koula Patty 15
Panagiotis Protopsaltis 15
Petros Kominos 15
Maxine (Metaxia) Mitchell 17
Harry Feros 17
Evridiki Spiliadis 19
Anna Avgoustou 20
Steve Fatseas 24
John Stathatos 25
Robin Tzannes 29
Phil Jorritsma 30
Rowan Parkes 40
Peter Makarthis 51
Spiro Coolentianos 53
Kythera Cultural Association 53
George Stamatakos 57
Peter Tsicalas 72
Chrisanthy Comino 82
Site Administrator 83
Alexandra Ermolaeff 95
James Gavriles 95
Ellena Galtos 111
Stephen Trifyllis 114
George Vardas 162
Peter Tzannes 168
Museum Administration (Robin Tzannes) 222
James Prineas 298
George Poulos 459
Telemachos Combes 574

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23. July, 2004

Dear James,

I am currently on Kythera researching the Megaloconomos Family (Caponas) and have been able to successful verify that this family goes back 8 generations from me.

I would like everyone to know that if they want to trace back there families they need to go up to the Kastro in Hora and see Mrs Helen Coroneos. You can normally find her sitting in the entrance of the church of Mirtithiotissa at the Kastro. She is so helpful and I would love her to get a special mention on the website. Her efforts along with a few others has so far resulted in the translation and transcribing of old documents and census books dating back to the Venitians into new books which helped me with my search for my Kytherian roots. I would advise the Aussie Greeks whose Greek is not up to scratch (thankfully I communicate quite well) to take a native or a Greek speaker with them.

If there are families who think they have links to the Megaloconomos (Caponas) family from Potamos & Pelagia, please advise me as I have a few gaps in the Tree.

Thanks and I hope to upload my entries when I get back to Australia in October.


Kalie Zervos

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The British cruiser Gloucester was sunk near Kythera 
submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 17.07.2004

Kythera is a small island just south of Neapolis at the southern tip of Greece. It is also about 50 miles northwest of Cape Spatha in northwest Crete. In the battle for Crete in 1941, the Southampton-class cruiser HMS Gloucester was sunk on the 22nd of May about 15 miles from Kythera, which was already occupied by the Germans. Seven hundred and twenty-three lives were lost, but 78 were saved by small craft manned by Germans, searching for survivors from their own ships. (One report in Britain says that 722 lives were lost and there were 85 survivors).
They were taken to Kapsali where they were placed in a house on the beach front. They were cold and exhausted, and encrusted in salt and black oil. Apart from the clothes they were wearing they had nothing. Food on the island was short and the islanders went in fear of their lives, but from the horror of one of the worst battles of World War II, comes a story of selfless courage. A number of Kytherians witnessed the sinking of Gloucester including 15 years old Nikos Sotirhos and his two friends Yiannis Margetis and Byron Dapontes. Despite the curfew and the danger from the German guns, they planned to help the British captives, by collecting eggs, milk, bread, cheese or whatever food from their families and friends. Byron Dapontes spoke a little German and he set out to distract the German guards at the front of the house while the other two came down through the trees behind the house, climbed into the back courtyard and passed the food through a window to the prisoners. For several days the boys kept up their search for food and their dangerous mission of feeding the British captives. When the Germans eased their guard, people from all over the island contributed food, clothes and shoes for the boys to take to the prisoners. By then a number of other boys got involved in collecting food including my late brother Christos and myself. After 10 days the Germans took the men away to spend the rest of the war as prisoners on the mainland. Two of them died in captivity. But for the courage and initiative of a small group of boys, more men might have been lost during those days on Kythera.

In 1984 one of the survivors, John Stevens, formed the "Fighting G Club" to enable survivors, their families and friends to hold annual reunions. The Club attracted its largest attendance in May 1999, after the televising of the documentary "HMS Gloucester - The Untold Story" based on the book by Ken Otter. It was decided that a party of club members would visit Kythera and that was arranged by Betty Birkby, daughter of Gloucester's Captain Rowley, who was the last to leave his ship, but did not survive. The trip was a time to pay tribute to the courage and warmth of generosity to the people of Kythera for the help they had given to the survivors of HMS Gloucester. On a brilliant cloudless day, the party was taken out in the caique "Alexandros" to the site of the war grave. There, a memorial service was held and flowers were scattered on the sea. Prayers, led by the Reverend Alex Mills were said.
"Prayers for peace and understanding between peoples of all nations, in the hope that the hand of friendship would always be extended to ordinary people to their neighbours in other countries. The courage of the people of Kythera in the face of adversity has not been forgotten. The gratitude of the families of the British naval men who landed on the Kytherian shores in 1941, may be belated, but it is sincerely felt. God bless them all."

In 2001 a party of the Fighting G club that included six survivors of the Gloucester sinking, visited Kythera to present a plaque in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the sinking. The plaque was delivered on the type-23 frigate HMS Northumberland and then attached to the outside of the house where the captives had been held. This plaque was unveiled by the British defence attaché to Greece, Commodore John Milns, RN. During the three day event, Northumberland at anchor in Kapsali, provided a guard of honour for a parade of veterans, their families and friends and a memorial service was arranged aboard ship. The party then went out to the site of the sinking of Gloucester-which is a dedicated war grave, to allow wreaths and flowers to be laid on the water.

A lot of information was provided by the 2000 Summer Edition "Kythera", also by my good friend Malcolm Wright ex British Captain and BBC reporter. A lot of information was also found on the internet, but I witnessed myself the survivors when they were brought in Kapsali and as a nine year old then, this will be remembered forever.

In an entry on this website under the heading of "Island Photography - Gravestones" a photograph of the plaque that the British attached to the house has been contributed by Peter Tzannes, provided by Helen Magiros.
by Spyro Calocerinos (Kalokairinos)

Thanks Spiro from that great eye-witness account. It will indeed be remembered forever.
View this entry and picture on the site at:

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(These questions and answers are always visible on the site - to get to them scroll to the bottom of any page on the site and click on "Help/FAQ" (FAQ standing for, of course, "frequently asked questions"). If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send them to me and I will include them and the answers in the next newsletter".

1. Do I have to register to view the entries on the site?"
No, you do not need to be registered to view the entries. Simply click in the sections and categories on the left. In most cases a second column will appear to the right of the category which contains the names of the various entries. Click on one of those and you can view it.

You only need to register if you wish to:
1. contact an author of a submission to the site
2. submit an entry yourself (except in the guest book - you don't need to have registered to place an entry there.

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2. "How do I submit an entry?"
It is necessary to perform the easy registration process before you submit entries to this site. In the "Login" box at the top left of this page the word "register" is underlined and in brackets. Simply click on it and fill in the short form titled "New User". (We will never pass on your name or email address to anyone for any reason). Once you have clicked on the "submit" button you will be sent an email which has a "link" in it. Click on it or copy it into your browser address row and the registration process is complete. If you wish to log-in again in future you only need to enter your email address and password.

Once registered you can submit entries to almost any part of the site. Just go to the category and you will find the underlined link "Add to ......" in the top right hand corner. Upon clicking on this you will be presented with a form which will accept the details of your entry. When the form is completed press "submit" and your entry will be presented to you one last time for checking. Then either click on "OK" if all is well or "back to edit" to modify your entry. The administrators also get a copy of your submission by email, usually to their great delight.

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3. "How can I edit an entry I have already submitted?"
If you have already submitted an entry and wish to edit it simply log on with your email and password, then click on "Your Personal Page" in the navigation on the left. There you will see a list of all your entries. Click on any one of them and you can edit it.

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4. "How can I scan a picture or document for the site?"
This website is capable of taking almost any picture saved as a jpeg (a digital format which your scanner software can produce). That said, it is still better if the scan you submit is sized correctly, otherwise it might take much longer to upload than necessary. So here is the format which you should try to achieve:

72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution
landscape: 27 x 20 cm or
portrait: 20 x 27 cm

72 dpi
780 x 570 pixels

If you have any questions about scanning or optimalising your pictures, or if you have a large collection you would like us to upload for you, you can contact us via:
[email protected]

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5. "How do I actually send the entry to the site without having to type the whole thing out again. My entry has a photo and text. I thought that all I had to do was to attatch it directly from my computer".

You copy the text from your text-program into the text box on the submit page - takes about 3 seconds. If you aren't familiar with the process, here's how you do it. You open the text you want to submit in whichever program you wrote it in (Microsoft Word?). So that document is open. Then you open your browser (internet explorer?), log-in to the site, go to the category where you want to submit and click on the "add to..." link at the top right of the page. Then you are in the submission form. You go back to your text program and select the text you want to copy by pulling the mouse cursor over the text or by pressing control+"a" (selects all). Then you switch back to the internet browser program, click in the text box, and "paste" the copied text into it (control+"v"). The text should then appear in the box. If you want to place the picture with the text, simply click on the "add an image" button under the text box and you can upload it. Fill in the rest of the form and click on submit. It will show you how the entry will look on site and you can either OK it or go back to edit it.

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6. "I've added a person in my family tree more than once. How can I delete the entries?".

You can delete unwanted entries in your own family tree by:
1. logging on
2. clicking on "your personal page" in the main navigation on the left
3. clicking on "Your Family Tree" which now also appears in the navigation on the left
4. Checking the delete boxes next to the unwanted names
5. Clicking on the submit button at the bottom of the page.

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