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Discover Your Greek Roots by Typing Your Surname

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Most Greek names are patronymic names that add a suffix to the first name of the father. Credit: Greek Reporter

A search engine is promising to identify the region of Greece one may come from by simply typing one’s Greek surname.

Once the name is typed in Greek, a map of the country appears with the regions where the particular name is prevalent.

We tried Papadopoulos, a very common Greek surname, and here are the results:
Greek Surname
Another example we tried is Christakis:
Greek Surname
You can give it a try by clicking here

Greek surname

Most Greek names are patronymic names that add a suffix to the first name of the father. Many Greek surnames end with “-opoulos” meaning “descendant of” or “son of.” So for example, the surname Theodoropoulos translates to “son of Theodoros.” Theodoros is a common Greek given name that means “God-given” or a “Gift of God”.

In other regions of Greece, different suffixes are used more often. For example, in Crete, the -akis suffix is very popular and means diminutive of “child of.” The suffix “ou” also means “of” and is part of many popular Greek last names. For example, Christoforou translates to “son of Christophoros.”

Many Greek surnames are also occupational surnames derived from a person’s job or role in society. For example, “Hasapis” is a word of Greek origin meaning “butcher.”

Some surnames derived from place names can offer clues about where a family originated. For example, someone with the surname “Petrakis” might have ancestors from a place called “Petra.” However, these connections can be quite loose, as people often migrated and surnames weren’t strictly tied to place of origin.

Before the 1980s, Greek women traditionally used a feminine version of their father’s name until they got married. Then, they used a feminine version of their husband’s name.

However, in 1983, the feminist movement in Greece passed legislation that made it a requirement for women to keep their family names for life. Since this time, women have kept their birth names after marriage rather than adopting the surnames of their husbands.

Papadopoulos is considered a typical Greek surname. Stemming from the Greek words “papas”, which means priest, and “dopoulos”, meaning son of, Papadopoulos translates to “son of a priest”. This common surname reflects a significant segment of Greek history, where the church played a pivotal role in society.

Other typical and popular Greek surnames include:

Laskaris – This surname has historical significance, being the name of a Byzantine noble family from the 13th century. The name means “a kind of soldier”.

Markos – Markos is a Greek variation of the Latin name Marcus, meaning “dedicated to Mars”. Mars was the Roman god of war, making this a strong, powerful name.

Sideris – Sideris signifies “he who is made of iron”. It typically conveys strength and resilience.

Papandreou – The name’s etymology (derived from “papas” meaning priest and “Andreou” meaning son of Andrew) suggests a connection to the Greek Orthodox Church, which could point towards a wider, national distribution.

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