Of the Greek Family name "Combis"
from the Island of Kythera (Ionian Islands)
This Greek family name resides almost exclusively on Kythera which is the southmost of the Ionian Islands. In a long period, (1363-1797) these Islands form part of the Venetian Republic. From 1797 to 1814 they change hands between the French and the Russians. From 1814 until 1864 under British protection. In 1864 annexed to Greece.
This research follows the MALE descendants from Theodore = Θεόδωρος (1701-1771) to our days. My ambition is to find and link to the tree all the living Combis descending from the above, whether in Greece, in U.S.A or Australia.
The name Combis = Κομπής appears in the Venetian documents as <Combi>.
The last Will of
"Honoring the Greek Name
in the USA..." c.1909
in St Louis Missouri 1872
1829. Loan contract between
in Brussa (Asia Minor)1897
An Introduction to
Tree of Combis
Or a Voyage from Kythera...
the piles of papers my
father left when he passed away, there was a bulky folder containing
various old documents that looked like wills and deeds, of times long
bygone. The people mentioned
in these documents carried our name and were undoubtedly ancestors. I knew
that my father was proud of his family collection, but for some
reason he had never attempted to show me these papers or get into details.
There was a challenge for me now to search and establish the accurate line
of relationship to them. This sparkle set me off to an expedition that
ultimately took me much farther.
Unlike most genealogists, I worked down instead of upwards, commencing from the oldest person of which I had already significant information in my hands. This individual was Theodore Combis.
Theodore Combis was born in the year 1701 and died on the
13th of June 1771. Just to get an idea of the period, one
should remember that this is
the time of reign of Louis XIV and Louis XV in France. As Kythera,
the island where Theodore was born, was under Venetian rule, we can as
well visualize the Doges of that period, like the illustrious Giovanni
Corner or Aloisius Mocenigo.
My exploration through archives, vital records, deeds and a wealth of Venetian documents provided the essential information to build an, accurate as possible, tree of the descendants of Theodore Combis to our days. In this process I have been tracking only the male members of the family, in other words I followed the name.
It is amazing to see how fast a family grows in numbers. From this one particular individual in early 1700's, I have counted no less than 100 Combis's living in the middle of 1800's. From then on, the number declines for reasons I will explain here. Observing the census figures of the Venetians first and the British later, one notices a remarkable increase of the population on the island. In some villages the population grew 8fold between 1750 and 1850. As it is expected the same goods had now to be shared amongst a far larger community and this lead inevitably to poverty. And then the exodus started.
At the beginning the destination was, ironically, Smyrna and Asia Minor and later America and Australia. Between the years 1870 and 1925 huge numbers of Kythereans left their homeland in pursuit of better life, among which, the oldest brother of my grandfather who, as early as 1872, left to St. Louis in Missouri on a one way ticket...
Nowadays, a vast number of Combis's are scattered across the USA and Australia, compared to the few that are remaining in Greece. Some of them, may not even be aware of their ancestry, many others I am sure, know of their origins and may even possess documents or information that could contribute to the name history.