A. All the following information has been provided to me by elderly persons. I have not personally investigated the authenticity of the information that was given to me, about the history and the previous generations other than my own immediate family. As we progress in time and I find more credentials to justify certain facts, I would be more than happy to present them here. The story about the old village came down from generation to generation. According to the people I was talking to, the probability of how the old village was destroyed been true, is about 50/50. The rest of the story should be as close as possible to be authentic. There are also some assumptions that are made under certain circumstances that make sense. If anyone else can shed some more truthful light to this subject, is welcomed. However, any additional information or corrections to this subject need to be accompanied with credentials. Additional information about family members or family tree information are always welcomed, however all the information again need to be accompanied with some kind of credentials.
B. My father, Stavros Tsakanikas has changed his last name from Tsiakanikas to Tsakanikas to avoid confusion with the "i". Most times when you tell people your name, they do not put the "i". With that in respect, all previous generations should be either Tsiakanikas or Tsakanikas, depending on the individual. Personally I think it's the same, and according to pronunciations, some person(s) in the past has changed it by adding the "i" or removed it. I will entertain the idea to publish anything about the name history, if anyone provides me with credential information about the change and it's origin. For our genetic tree purpose though, I will use the last name without the "i".
The Tsakanikas family name exists in many places in Greece. However there is something strange about the proximity of the places. Most of the them are very close to each other and very close to Sarkini, Evritanias, where my family tree is coming from. One of them is Agrinion, where I came from, another one is Thermo, a village in the eastern part of Agrinion, another one is called Dokimi, a village south of Agrinion, another place close to Sarkini called Proussos, a city called Arta in the western part of Greece, a city called Patras across the Rio port, again close to Agrinion, the capital Athens and Thessaloniki a city in the northern part of Greece. I am sure there are more in many other cities that I don't know of at this time. However, I don't know exactly what the relationship is with the people from these villages and towns. Most of them, including my family tree persons claim don't have any relationship with the other people from different villages, towns and cities. To my knowledge, these are the only places in the whole Greece that this name exists. Outside of Greece there are people in Australia, Italy, Canada and USA. Many people these days and before, did move to other places, such as Athens, or outside of Greece, but their origin is still one of the above mentioned places. Who knows, because of the proximity of the villages and towns, maybe we all came from the same village one time or another. Maybe not the above mentioned village, but also maybe yes. Throughout the years, even before, during and after the Turkish occupation, people had left the original village because of hard times or other reasons unknown at this time. Records are hard to find because of the lengthy past, not kept or destroyed. Also during the Turkish occupation records were not kept because they were not allowed. People were not even suppose to go to school during those years, only in the monasteries such things were done in secrecy, as they were always under close surveillance.
Map of Sterea Ellada
Claim B. Most of the family names in Greece have their own distinct ending. For example the majority in the north is (s) the Cretans is (akis), the Cyprians and the north east people is (ou), the east central Greece is (os) and so on. There is also a mix of names in every place. Again people do move around. Most of the names that reside in the western central Greece end with the letters (as). Under that assumption, then the Tsakanikas name is authentic central Greece name. Where exactly, unknown at this time. The only fact that I have is I know where my ancestors came from, Sarkini.
The Tsinias family name again exists in only a few places. The following story makes a lot of sense under the circumstances and the relationship with the people from different villages is there and is true.
This is a story of a person who claims he visited the original village where the name Tsinias derived. This person is my uncle Panagiotis Tsinias who resides in Patras at this time. The whereabouts of the original village was also confirmed to me by another person living presently in a close proximity of this location. This person also told me that the people of this village use to live a very nomadic life. They were living fine with their herds and they did not belong to anyone or any place in theory. The Turks did not like that and tried to make these people pay tax duties and other fines. The people were very proud and did not want to comply. This brought them to the decision to take whatever they could and leave. Go somewhere where the Turks could not find them.
|Map of Sarakina|
There is a village in Thessalia called Sarakina of the county Elasonos. That's the original claimed place. During the Turkish occupation people moved throughout Greece to either hide or get away from prosecution from the Turks. Keep in mind the county Evritania is very mountainous. Perfect place to hide and get away. So some of the Tsinias family, or persons moved to a place called Agalianos in Evritania. Some of the people stayed and some moved to another village called Tserkova. There is a known person today from that place called Leontokostas. The name derived from Leon Tsinias. The Kostas part I don't know. After that they moved to a place today called Palio-Sarkini. And from that place they moved to Sarkini. See the close relation to the village name? Sarakina-Sarkini. Today there are still people in Agalianos and other places nearby, such as Agrinion, Patras and Athens. There are even a few of the Tsinias family around the world. The ones that I know of, are here in the U.S. and we are all related somehow, in our past lives.
|Map of Evritania|
A long, long time ago there was a village called Sarkini in the county of Evritania, in Greece. Evritania is a very mountainous county in the central part of Greece. According to the information that was provided to me by elderly persons, that village was up in the mountains and it was not found by the Turks almost throughout the 400 years of occupation. The village was naturally hidden from the view of the outsiders. People were living fine, under the circumstances and they were keeping everything secret about their whereabouts. Most likely run away from prosecution from the Turks.
Even today with only ruins barely standing up in the old village, access to the village is very difficult. There is no road nor can a rider can get there riding. People have to go through conditions worst than jungle from the bushes and trees. Also take in consideration that the village is in the mountains and there are a lot of very sharp cliffs with no place not even to walk through it. Only people from the nearby villages who have grown up nearby there and know the territory very well, can get through, but I don't know too many people who want to do that anyway. Conditions to get there are torturous. I personally have not been there yet, but I have been in the new village many times.
|Click to Enlarge Map: Perfecture of Evritania|
The actual people (the legend claims) were raiders of other villages. Mainly they were hitting Turkish houses or businesses. They were more or less like Robin Hoods with a twist. Whatever they were stealing, they were keeping everything to themselves. They were doing this to survive. Those years were hard times for everyone. People were dying from starvation in many cases. And since the villages could go and do anything outside of the immediate locations they had to hide form the Turks and live from other people's richness. The village was rich, very rich. At the same time again, they were very secretive about their whereabouts. They were so secretive that they did not allow anyone from their village to marry anyone from another village or move to any other village nearby.
Somehow though, a young woman married a person from another village. The young woman was living in an another village when the tax person came to collect taxes during the Turkish empire for the Turks. The woman was not written down as one of the villagers to pay taxes so the collector asked her where is she from. The woman to avoid penalties and punishment told them where she is from. The collector was not aware of the village and he requested from her to tell him where exactly the village was. Then he went there to collect with no avail, as the people refused to comply. Then he told the Turks and they came and they destroyed the village.
The young woman told her husband that her old village was rich and had lots of almost everything. The husband went back requesting money, but with no avail. He had a heated argument with the villagers and relatives and left. For revenge he went and exposed the village location to the Turks. The Turks came and destroyed and burned the whole village down to the ground.
|Click to Enlarge Image: Sarkini Village|
All their fortunes and belongings have been taken away, money, gold, animals, tools, etc. According to elderly people some got enough time to burry and hide some of the gold and money they had, because of the weight, they couldn't take it and run. Most of the people had also been killed during the raid.
The legend has it that the village was haunted. The haunting came about because the villagers were very rich and selfish persons and some of them bad persons under the circumstances to other people. When the Turks burned the village, a giant bull came about the end of the village and roared loud enough where the villagers 10 miles away heard it. Then the bull left and disappeared. Superstitious or not some believed that the roaring was a sign of an end of an era. Some also believed it was the end of a bad era, because they were raiders and they brought pain and suffer to the nearby other villages.
My own estimate of the village been destroyed about 200 years or more ago of today the year 2000. The movement from their original place to today's Palio-Sarkini should have happened during the Turkish occupation 200 years ago.
Anyway after the raid, few people survived and moved to different locations. Some of the survivors moved to a new location and they still called it Sarkini, thus the previous Sarkini now is called Palio-Sarkini. Palio means old. One of the families that moved in the new location was called Tsakanikas. Another family was called Tsinias. The two families took over some land, with some other families from the old village, build new houses, and created a new community. Other families joined them eventually from other villages, either through marriage relation or moved there.
Tsakanikas: The generation Tsakanikas family (as far back as I know) was known as Ioannis Tsakanikas who had a son called Stavros Tsakanikas, who had a son called Panagiotis Tsakanikas (my grandfather). Panagiotis Tsakanikas had a wife called Maria (my grandmother) with two children. Eleni and Stavros Tsakanikas (my father). The wife died he remarried to his new wife called Sofia and had more children, John, Fotini, Elias, Maria, Toula (my step uncles and aunties).
Tsinias: The generation Tsinias family (as far back as I know) was known as Nikolaos Tsinias. He had a son called Konstantinos Tsinias (my grandfather). Konstantinos Tsinias had a wife with 4 children Nikolaos, Alexia, Evangelos, and Efthymia. His wife died, he remarried and had more children with a new wife called Eleni (my grandmother). Eleni and Konstantinos had more children, Panagiotis, Ekaterini, and Ioulia (my mother).
|Map of Agrinion|
Eventually my parents immigrated to Agrinio in 1956. Agrinio is a city in the western central part of Greece in the prefecture of Aetoloakarnania. It is build on one of the few flat lands in Greece. It is surrounded by mountains. The tallest mountain is called Panaitolicon and it is usually top snowed most of the year except summer for couple of months. It also has 2 lakes and one of the largest rivers in Greece called Achelous. Greeks build a dam by this river which provide electricity for a large part of Greece.
Most of the land was used primarily for tobacco. One of the biggest manufacturers of cigarettes owner came from Agrinion, named Papastratos. The main street in Agrinion is named after him. He was a big donator of land and money. He donated the main park and the old museum. He also created the Papastratia long time ago. Papastratia was a gathering of people from different countries of the Mediterranean in a showcase of culture, dances and singing. Agrinio was the central economic capital of the western part of Greece called county of Atolia and Akarnania through the golden era of tobacco between 1925-1935. These days most of the fields are growing olives, corn, vegetables and fruits.
Agrinion has its own civilian airport plus the NATO airport and also has a state funded hospital, including multiple other clinics and private nursing homes. Also has dozens of schools, private schools, technical university and multiple technical schools. Also has its own basketball team and football team including stadiums for both teams. The most recent major project was the creation of the Rio/Antirion bridge connecting Sterea Ellada and Peloponeese. It finished in 2004. Also a major highway is in development for the western part of central Greece between Rio- Agrinion-Ioannina.
|Click to Enlarge Map: Perfecture of Aitoloakarnania|
It's original name Agrinion is ancient and probably was taken from a hero in ancient history called Agrios son of king of Plevronas Porthaona or from the protector of the people of Etolia Agrio Apolona or from the ancient gatherings that was taken place in respect to then Agrioniou Dionisou. The name has changed multiple times throughout its history. Throughout the Turkish occupation was called Vlahohori, then became Vrahori for the rocks in the north side of the town or Imvrahor (Turkish name) and after that, Agrinion. It has multiple ancient sites going back thousands of years. Recent excavations have brought up priceless sculptures and statues going back at least 2500 years. The city also played a big role in recent years, under the Turkish invasion and 1st and 2nd World War.
Most of the people came in the last 150 years from the surrounding villages and towns including people called Micrasiates from the west coast of Turkey in the 1912 war when the Turks expelled the Greeks occupying the western part of Turkey. They are all hard working individuals with some specific customs and ethics even a slight dialect not found in any other part of Greece.
A couple of those immigrants from the nearby villages was my father and mother. They worked and purchased their own land, in the north area of Agrinion, across from Klepaitika, build their own house and created my family. Klepaitica is a neighborhood named after the people who resided there, who originally immigrated from Klepa.
I am the son of Stavros Tsakanikas and Ioulia Tsinia (Tsakanikas). I am one of six siblings. We were all born and raised in Agrinion. My father immigrated to the United States in 1971. My brother followed him in 1973 and I followed him in 1974. Eventually my whole family immigrated in 1980. We are all living here in New York except my father who died in 1991.
I, Pete (Panagiotis) Tsakanikas participated in the educational system in Greece till 1974. In New York, I attended High School (Charles Evans Hughes High School), Baruch College for business administration and management and eventually I entered the computer industry in 1980.
And so, we go on……