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Back in the 1950's as a 10 year old boy I asked my Mum about her Greek ancestry. I was curious about all her family background and that of the Greek island, Castellorizo, where she was born. She was only too glad to tell me of the importance that the Greek race had in the development of modern civilisation but she left it there and did not expand the information down to family level. This made me proud of my Greek heritage but I wanted to know more about our immediate family and their story! However I was too young to really appreciate just who my family origins were and my Mum knew it. I looked in the school atlases for Castellorizo and it wasn't even shown on the maps. I looked in my encyclopedias at home and again it was not mentioned. At school I located the Encyclopedia Britannica and there was a small single column listing on the island, but very little detail was given. And at that stage the desire for more knowledge was to be held in abeyance for quite some years.

Cynthia Cresswell 2001

Photograph courtesy Allan Cresswell

It was over thirty years later that my Mum and I sat down and discussed what being a Greek and a Cassie meant to her. But I was still confused! Mum had walked away from the safety of her family and all their traditions, all their beliefs and even their religion and had assimilated into the Australian community. She had left all her heritage behind for the love of an Australian man. Why was she still proud to be Greek and why did she still hold so many of the Greek traditions and ways so dear to her heart? It was because she had never really ever left them, in her heart she was still a Cassie born Greek and would always be so. I could see in her behaviour towards others at Greek weddings, funerals and christenings, she did so enjoy their company. Nothing would ever stop her from being Greek, it was in her blood.

This then became my search for identity and my attempt to try and understand what she and her parents went through to migrate to a new country in search for a better life. And this also became my search to also understand what being even half Greek meant to me and my attempt to comprehend where I fitted into the whole picture. I had lived most of my life knowing something was missing............but what was it?

During this search I later became involved in genealogy research from about 1983 and so all the right questions were being asked to my mother and her Cassie family and cousins. But between the names, locations and dates I realised that my Mum did have a story to tell about her assimilation and her knowledge of her family background and that there was a need to document what information she and her cousins had shared during those early years. This is the result of my search for more information about my mother's family and is a legacy to future generations. Cynthia Pamela Cresswell, nee Xanthi Panagiota Karasavas, passed away on 27th April 2005 at Nedlands Western Australia. I only wish she had an opportunity to see the result of those various interviews over so many years.

Allan (Agapitos) Cresswell 1995

Photograph courtesy Allan Cresswell