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Military records identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. All men are required to serve in the armed forces in Greece when 21 years of age. Attempting to escape military service is punishable by death. In some cases the service obligation may be postponed for higher education. At certain periods, the first son of a family in which the father was deceased or where there were many children was excused as a prostatis (protector [of family]). Some may also have been excused due to health reasons or handicaps. These exceptions had to be noted in the records.
Evidence that an ancestor served in the armed forces beyond the required term of service may be found in family records, biographies, census, probate records, and civil registration. Military records give information about an ancestor’s military career, such as promotions, places served, pensions, and conduct. In addition, these records usually include information about his age, birthplace, residence, occupation, physical description, and family members.
The armed forces records you may find include:
- Draft lists
- Personnel files
- Regimental account books
- Pay vouchers and records
- Pension records
- Records of leave
Records of military service in Greece are kept by the government in various archive locations. The Family History Library has some military records, for the nineteenth century and more recently. To use Greek military records, determine the year your ancestor would have been called to service (when he was 21 years old). Males are listed in records by the year they come of age for military service. You must also know at least the town where your ancestor was born.
Greece was involved in the following military actions:
1365–1453: Ottoman Empire conquered Greece
1770–1779: Albanian troops dispatched by Ottoman Empire to crush rebellion in Peloponnesus
1821: War of Independence (Revolution) officially declared on 25 March
1821–1829: Revolution in Greece centered at Peloponnesus but involved all of present-day Greece. Ottomans gained Egypt as an ally. England, France, and Russia supported Greek Independence, which was achieved in September 1829.
1854–1856: Crimean War
1841–1897: Revolts against the Ottomans in Crete
1877–1878: Russo-Turkish War
Oct 1912: First Balkan War; Ottoman empire forced from Macedonia
1913: Second Balkan War; the Balkan states fight over division of Macedonia. War with Bulgaria.
1917–191: World War I; Greece defeats Bulgaria, gains territory in Thrace.
1921–1923: Greek-Turkish war settled territorial issues and provided for compulsory exchange of populations25
1940–1944: World War II; Greece occupied by German-Italian-Bulgarian forces, 1941–1944
1944–1949: Civil War, started in Athens and spread throughout the mountainous regions of Greece. Additional military histories may be obtained through public and university libraries.
Military Records of Genealogical Value
The main source of military records is the Ministry of Defense (Ypourgeion Ethnikis Amynis). Although there may be many types of military records available in Greek archives and repositories, only a few have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library, including marriage and death records, draft registers, and pension records.
Marriage Contracts, Deaths, and so on. During the period of King Otto, a Bavarian ruler, records of marriage, divorce, and deaths were kept in German and Greek. These records cover a period from the 1830s–1860s and are listed in the catalog under:
GREECE - MILITARY RECORDS
Draft Registers. Some registers of males, draft records, and pension records from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Library. For example, there are records of military from Nauplion and Halkis. For such records, refer to the FamilySearch Catalog.
A copy of the 1883 draft list of Greece, organized by county, district, and municipality, gives a man’s full name and his father’s name:
Draft List, 1883. Athinai, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL film 1039000 items 6–9)
Pension Records. Records of military pensions have been filmed from the National Historical Archives in Athens:
Militär Pensionen 1836–1862 (Military Pensions 1836–1862). Athens, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL 1038740 item 2–1038844 item) Records in German and Greek.
Military Pensions 1863–1898. Athens, Greece: National Historical Archives (Genika Archeia tou Kratous - GAK), n.f. (FHL films 1038724 item 2–1038740 item 1).
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