The Genealogy of a Cretan Family

Crete travel guide

The Genealogy of a Cretan Family

A Kouklakis / Angavanakis Family History

Part II - Family Trees

( Part I - The Island of Crete / Part II - Family Trees)

Father's Family Tree: Kouklaki & Saatsaki-Giannikou

Rev. Paraskevas's father was Emmanuel (Manolis) Kouklakis (born about 1821) who had three brothers: Giorgios, Giannis and Petros. Manoli's other children in addition to my great-grandfather Paraskevas were:

  • Nicholas (moved to Hania),
  • Emmanuel,
  • Georgios Kouklakis.

Nicholas Kouklakis had a daughter and three sons: Maria, Emmanuel, Ilias and Epaminondas.

Epaminondas's children were: Irene (Vancouver Canada); Vasiliki; Katina (Athens); Maria; Nicholas (Hania) [Nicholas's children are Maria and Epaminondas]; and Emmanuel, Hania (died 2000), his wife Irene,(children: Ioanna, Fotini, Epaminondas, (all in Hania), and Michael (Paris).

The senior Emmanuel Kouklakis's father was Konstantinos Kouklakis, born in Kefalas in 1781.

Epameinonthas Kouklakis

Great Grandfather

Reverend Paraskevas Kouklakis (born 1854), shown here with his wife Maria Marousakis (born 1855). Maria was the daughter of Ilias Marousakis (born 1830) of Kefalas and [first name possibly Areti] Tzeiranis of the nearby village of Drapanos. Rev. Paraskevas was known to have visited the Holy Land. Rev. Paraskevas's and Maria's children, in addition to my grandfather John, were: Mihalis, Angeliki, Katina, Evanthea, Eleni, Efthimis (Canonsburg, PA [?]) and Aphrodite. Efthimis and Eleni immigrated to America; the other siblings moved to Piraeus, Greece.

My Grandmother Maria Saatsakis-Giannikou's father was Captain Ioannis "Giannikos" Saatsakis (born about 1850), pictured right.

He was a leader in several of the numerous insurrections in the late 1800's that led to Crete's independence from Ottoman Turkish rule and ultimately union with Greece. Because of this, he was given the title of "Captain", and today there is a street, "Odos Gianikou", named after him in Iraklion, the capital of Crete. On the street signs, below his name is also written "Hero of the city".

Captain Giannikou's wife's first name was Aspasia.

My paternal Grandfather was Reverend Ioannis Kouklakis, who was born in Kefalas in 1883.

Father Ioannis went to theological school in Iraklion, Crete's largest city. There he met a beautiful young woman from a prominent, wealthy family named Maria Saatsakis-Giannikou (born 1885), pictured right.

As the story goes, they fell in love, and she ran off with him to Kefalas where they were married. Her family disapproved, and they didn't have much more to do with her after that.

Life in a small village, like Kefalas, was a new and difficult experience for Maria, a well-bred city girl, and running a household was not her strong suit. She did however entertain her children with her musical talent - playing the mandolino (mandolin).

Rev. John was not only the priest of Kefalas, but also the teacher. (photo)

Maria's and Rev. John's first child was my father, Costas, and their other children were: Efthihia (died 1933), Katina (Galanakis, died 1997 in Athens), Nikos (died 1975, children John and Lefteris in Piraeus), John (died 1950), Aspasia ("Soula", died 1999, Athens), Eleni (Koutroupis, living in Athens), and Efthimios (died 1962, children John and Christos, in Toronto[?]). Here are separate photos of Efthimios, Katina, and Nikos.

Rev. John Kouklakis died in Kefalas 1942; Maria died in Piraeus in 1954.

Mother's Family Tree: Angavanakis & Papadakis/Angisoulakis


As noted above, Maria Papadakis's father was Dimitrios Railakis (born 1840), whose nickname was "Papadakis", hence the last name; he was also known as "Ananias".

He was married to Katina Angisoulakis (born about 1840; died about 1928), and his brothers were Georgios Railakis and Rev. Stilianos Railakis (known as a man who "loved to have a good time (glendi) and an excellent singer - but a very good priest as well").

Dimitrios's and Katina's children, in addition to Maria, were:

  • Phillipos (Canonsburg, PA),
  • Smaragdi (Piperakis),
  • Garifalia (Tsinitakis),
  • Evlambia (Voutetakis), Argyro ([Daveronas], who lived in Davenport Iowa),
  • Christos (worked as a postman).

When my grandmother met me, in Kefalas in 1968, she asked my mother if I was named after her brother mother replied "yes", although I'm not sure that was entirely true...


Dimitrios Railakis was called "Papadakis" because his father was a papas (priest), Rev. Christodoulos Railakis, known as "Papachristodoulos" (born 1814).

Here is a picture of Papachristodoulos's communion chalice, which has inscribed on it a cross, his name and the year "1870".

Katina Angisoulakis was the daughter of Phillipos Angisoulakis, nicknamed "Anagnostis" - deacon; he was reputed to be about 100 years old when he died (born about 1825; died about 1925).

Phillipos's other children were Nikolis, Petros and Sprios [married to Terpsichori Koufakis].

Phillipos Angisoulakis is pictured here:

Phillipos Angisoulakis was married to Maria Spiridakis (born about 1840, whose original family name was Gaidakis). Maria's father was Spiros Gaidakis (born in Kefalas in 1817). He took on the surname "Spiridakis". Spiros was the son of [Emmanuel ?] Gaidakis born in Kefalas in 1793.


John Anganavakis' s father was Georgios Angavanakis (his wife's maiden name was Mantoudakis). Their children, in addition to John were Mihalis, Chrisy, Dimitri, Anastasia, and Penelope. Giorgios's brothers were Nikolas and Mihali; Mihali died in 1868 in the battle of Vafes.

John Angavanakis was my mother's father and he is pictured right.

In the photo, he is wearing the traditional Cretan outfit, complete with baggy britches, boots, and his knife sticking out of his cummerbund.

He was born in Kefalas in 1878, and went to Utah, USA in 1909 and worked in a mine; he returned to Crete a few years later.

Ioannis (John) Angavanakis married Maria Papadakis, (born 1887) daughter of Dimitrios Railakis (Papadakis, born 1841) and Katina Angisoulakis (born 1841).

In her youth, our yiayia (grandmother) Maria was known in the village by her nickname, "Marigo". Like many Cretan villagers, she knew by heart hundreds of verses of the epic poem "Erotokritos" , and she would sing it to her children when they were young. The "Erotokritos" is a poem of over 10,000 rhyming lines, written in 1587 during the Venetian occupation, during a period called the "Cretan Renaissance". The poem is written in the distinct Cretan dialect still spoken today, and it has become part of Cretan folklore over the centuries, handed down from generation to generation. Thia Chrysoula (my aunt) relates that when John Angavanakis would go to the village square, holding his young daughters by the hand, people would look at brunette Catina and blonde Stella and say, "John with daughters so beautiful, you will never have to put up a dowry!" [author's note: they were right].

Maria's and John's children were:

  • Catina, my mother
  • Stella [Papidakis], died 1998; She got married to Mihalis Papidakis and they had two children: Magda (married to Lefteri Hatzioannou, with children Hari and Fani) and Spiros (married to Roula - - children Stella and Rena), all living in Hania, Crete).
  • Irene [married Gus Gellepes], living in Pittsburg, California (son Dan married Stacey Young [Yeronikakis], daughter Maria). Dan is an author; his works include two books of poetry: "Wildhoney" and "And All the Rest of It", and a verse play entitled "Hat in Hand".
  • John (died of meningitis 1946, in his twenties);
  • Eleni "Lilika" [married Kosta Kasiotis], living in Athens
  • Chrysoula [Christodoulou], in Athens with daughter Mary and Dimitri "Mimi" who died in 1992. Mimis was married to Voula (Paraskevi) Tzangarakis (of the village of Souri) and they had two children: Maria and John (married to Christina [Leivadas], sons Dimitri, Panayoti and Giorgios), all living in Athens.
  • Another son, George, died at less than a year old.
    Here are photos of Chrysoula, Dimitri (with wife Voula), and Stella (with son Spiros)

John Angavanakis died in 1943; Maria died in January, 1969.

PREVIOUS: Part I - The Island of Crete

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