Jennifer Aniston’s great-grandfather fought in the Cretan uprising of 1878

Jennifer Aniston’s Greek ancestor fought in the Cretan uprising of 1878. Credit: Angela George, CC-BY-SA-3.0

While most fans know Jennifer Aniston has Greek roots, most would be surprised to find out that her Greek great-grandfather actually fought in the Cretan revolt against the Ottomans in 1878.

The discovery was made by a team of professional historians and genealogists from Greek Ancestry, a Greek genealogy service founded by historian and genealogist Gregory Kontos in 2020.

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The Greek-American star’s father, John Aniston, was born Yiannis Anastasakis in Chania, Crete, but moved to the United States when he was very young.

The roots of the star in Crete

Like many Greek immigrants to America, he decided to shorten his name from Anastasakis to Aniston.

John Aniston is best known for playing a Greek character, Victor Kiriakis, in the NBC television soap opera “Days of Our Lives”.

His father, Antonios Anastasakis, was born in 1889 in the village of Pervolakia, near Chania, Crete.

The genealogists were able to access this information from the village’s “men’s register”, an important document showing the name, father’s name, date of birth and place of birth of every man in the village.

The Men’s Register was used to keep track of all men in the area for military purposes, so it’s an incredibly useful document for those looking to explore their family history.

Greek ancestry holds a large collection of records of men from many parts of Greece. Their collection extends from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.

Antonios, Aniston’s grandfather, had three brothers who also appeared in the village men’s register, Eleftherios, Stavros and Andreas.

Using information from this register, genealogists of Greek ancestry discovered the name of Antonios’ father, Ioannis Anastasakis, born in 1858.

Jennifer Aniston’s great-grandfather fought in the Cretan uprising of 1878

Antonios Anastasakis arrived in the United States from Naples, Italy, in 1910 aboard the SS Regina D’Italia. He arrived at New York Harbor and said he was visiting a cousin who lived in the city.

According to the port register, Aniston’s grandfather was six feet tall, with black hair and eyes. The same year he arrived, Antonios joined the military and became a United States citizen.

He then returned to Greece, returning to America in 1928 with his wife, Stella Anastasakis, and two of his children, Helen and Constantinos. John, Jennifer Aniston’s father, was born in Crete five years later and then taken to the United States at the age of two.

It was thanks to Stella, Aniston’s grandmother, that genealogists discovered an unlikely link between the Hollywood star and the Cretan revolt of 1878 against the Ottomans.

Stella Anastasakis was born Stella Koumis around 1900 in Charvata, a village near Chania, Crete. His father, Markos Koumis, was born in 1858.

At just 20 years old, Markos, Aniston’s great-grandfather, fought for the liberation of Crete from the Ottoman Empire during the Cretan uprising of 1878.

Although the island remained under the yoke of the Ottomans until 1898, the revolt twenty years earlier resulted in the creation of the Halepa Pact, which granted more autonomy to the Cretans, making it a major step in the freedom of the island.

Jennifer Aniston very proud of her Greek roots

Although born in the United States, Aniston has a strong connection to Greece. When she was five, Aniston lived in Athens and then Crete for a short time with her family.

She is even linked to other famous Greeks in Hollywood, like Telly Savalas, most famous for playing “Kojak”, who is her godfather.

Often listed on the lists of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, Jennifer Aniston is known for her ageless beauty and radiant smile.

Her beauty, and in particular her lack of age, are things the actress attributes to her Greek heritage. In an interview, Aniston said:

“My father is 100% Greek; he was 81 years old and barely a wrinkle. And neither did my grandmother, who was 95 when she died.

Greek ancestry helps Greeks discover their family history

Greek ancestry offers Greeks in the Diaspora unprecedented access not only to countless genealogical records, but also to the help of professional genealogists with years of experience in exploring Greek genealogy.

The Greek company has access to more than 750,000 records and will soon earn more than a million. In addition to providing genealogical services such as free consultations and professional research services, Greek Ancestry also hosts educational conferences.

Last year, their international virtual conference on Greek ancestry featured outstanding guest lectures and discussions including historians Alexander Kitroeff, Gonda van Steen, Roderick Beaton and former AHEPA Greece Governor Stathis Kefalidis .

The next conference will take place from January 28 to 30, 2022.

Greek Ancestry also offers a number of educational resources such as articles, webinars, and live presentations.

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