IN SEARCH OF MY CASSIE HERITAGE

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EARLY XANTHIS AND KOMNINOS FAMILIES

NOTE: Many of the Australian Xanthis and Komninos descendants have been discussed elsewhere in this article.

Mum discusses her mother's family........My mother, Anastasia Xanthis, parents were Zafiris Xanthis and Maria nee Komninos. Zafiris had a previous wife, Rose nee Fermanis, and Uncle George was their only child. My grandfather, Zafiris, then married Maria and they had five children. Mum’s elder sister, Xanthi, who I also mentioned before and who I am named after, married Kyriakos Makriargirou when my mum was about fifteen years old, then died in childbirth the following year. Then eleven days later the baby died. My grandfather, Zafiris Xanthis, died three years after that, when my mother was 19 years of age.

George Xanthis Perth 1936

Photograph courtesy Angela Karasavas

The next daughter, Anastasia, died just before my mother was born, so they named my mother, Anastasia, after her sister. Agapitos was the eldest boy of the second marriage. When my mother was 23 years old she married Agapitos Karasavas. As her father was already dead her elder brother, Agapitos, gave her away. Immediately after her wedding ceremony her brother, Agapitos, also married. He married Helen Pitsikas. After my mother’s wedding ceremony she had gone home and changed her clothes then went back as matron-of-honour for her brother’s wedding. Agapitos remained in Castellorizo, then later moved to Rhodes. He was Lord Mayor of Castellorizo for many years. Mum's youngest brother, Komninos, then married four years later in Castellorizo. Both Komninos and Uncle George came to Perth before we arrived.

Wedding Komninos Xanthis to Elefantiani Kailis Castellorizo 13th September 1915

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Photograph courtesy Cynthia Stavrianou

My grandmother's parents would have been Agapitos and Anastasia Komninos based on how mum and her brothers and sisters were named. I do not know Anastasia's maiden name. My grandfather's father also on the same basis would be George and perhaps the mother, Xanthi but I am not confident that either is correct. I do know that Zafiris Xanthis had at least one brother, Nicholas and one sister, Katerina. Nicholas is the father of Uncle Sios Xanthis who cousin Despo Malaxos (nee Xanthis) has given you information on that side of the family. Katerina married Nicholas Lazarakis and are the parents of Lararus and Nicholas Lazarakis, who migrated to Perth.

When my mother was about 5 or 6 years, just before she was to go to school, her father decided to go to Turkey and open a shop. The family was over there for about eight years, until mum was about 13 years, then her mother died. Her mother had stayed behind in Castellorizo, raising the family, but the Xanthis family went back and forward between Turkey and Castellorizo. I don’t know the town, it may have been Smyrna (now Izmir), but I don’t really know. Mum didn’t go to school but sat on a stool in the shop and was the interpreter as she spoke Turkish. Her mother died back in Castellorizo whilst she and her father were in Turkey. I asked my mother why her parents were apart but she never offered an explanation. Perhaps she was sick in some way.

From Mrs Christina Panos (nee Kakulas) these wonderful stories passed down from her family.........My grandmother, Chrysaffina Komninos, married Pappa Mihalis Mallis but they were already related in some way through the Komninos family. Before they married the priest worked out that they were one point over for the eight point relationship system, calculated when cousins were to marry. He was convinced to approve the marriage by donations made by the family to him and he ignored the one point difference.

My mother, Triantafilia Kakulas (nee Mallis) always said she was first cousin to your grandmother, Anastasia Karasavas (nee Xanthis) and we are related through her mother, Maria (nee Komninos) and my grandmother, Chrysaffina Mallis (nee Komninos).

Marriage Evangelos Kakulas to Triantafilia Mallis Castellorizo 1910

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Photograph courtesy Nicholas Papas

The earliest we have on the Komninos family is that there were three Komninos brothers who lived in Russia, John, Doulos and Constantine. Both our families descend from Doulos. My Mallis grandfather’s connection with the Komninos family is through John and my grandmother through Doulos.

Doulos first married a Galifila Lucas who died during childbirth. The child lived so he named the baby Galifila, after his wife, a break with the usual naming tradition. He then married Chrissie Gumalis and they had five daughters and one son. This second wife died and Doulos arranged for a sixteen year old girl who had come from the island Lesvos to look after his younger children. She was from the town of Mitilini. Both her parents had died. It was suggested to Doulos that he should not have a young unmarried woman in his home as it was not the correct thing to do. He solved the problem by marrying her, he must have been about 75 years old at the time. This third wife had another five sons and three daughters to this old man. This is the family that we descend from. Doulos lived to 110 years of age. He went to the opening of the Suez Canal all dressed up in a specially made English suit.

The children of Doulos Komninos from the third marriage are, for the boys, Hatziyannis (John), Agapitos, Constantine, Anastasios, Komninos. The girls were Katina, Chrysaffina and Evthokia. It would appear that Cynthia’s great grandfather, Agapitos and my grandmother, Chrysaffina were brother and sister, the children of old Doulos and his young third bride.

My Mallis grandparents had five children. Agapitos went to Egypt, he married a Longarezou but had no children. Next was Maria who married Anastasios Papanastasiou. She came to Perth in 1936 after the death of her husband. Spiro Mallis came to Perth in the 1920’s and he married Galifalia Zempalis. Hatziyannis (Harry), married and went to South America, but had no children. My mother, Triantafilia Kakulas (nee Mallis), married Evangelos Stavrianos Kakulas and they came to Perth in 1926 with us children.

Note: Doulos Kominos would have been about 65 years of age when he married for the third time and not 75 years as has been nominated down through the years. This is based on the estimated birth date of his daughter, Chrysaffina (1840), and that he attended the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

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