Project Methodology


Through triangulation of family stories, historical research, and results of family genetic testing, we attempt to validate knowledge of family origins and position our story as part of the larger story of the Greek Christian diaspora to the United States. Each of these three approaches has strengths and limitations.


  • Historical scholarship provides the most credible factual sources; but lacks specificity to determine relevance to one obscure family.


  • Family stories reveal how a family chooses to identify itself — what details are retained and how they are framed provide understanding of that self-definition. Family stories may be correlated with historical facts. Relying on collective memory transmitted over long spans of time, however, does not produce reliability.


  • Genetic test data can be established as reliable where comparisons are made among family members. Interpretation of these genetic tests, however, may be contested on multiple grounds.


In the following sections we focus on this three-pronged approach, to mitigate the weaknesses of the individual methods. We are vigilant for intersections among the three sources of data, which imply greater possibility of validity. For example, when a family story, a genetic finding and historical fact align, we interpret this conjunction as a strong indication that we have discovered credible information about our family origin.


Greek Army Crossing River

Painting based on family stories