Updated: Dec 15, 2022
A very common question we are asked is “what is the greatest number of children any one person had?” In all our research that spans over 400 years of Kytherian history there is one woman who stands out: Smaragdi Panaretou. Over the span of 26 years, she had a total of 19 children, all single births, all with the same father. There are larger families where a husband has remarried and had large numbers of children with each wife, and there are a few women who had 16 children, but Smaragdi outdid them all.
Smaragdi Panaretou was the youngest of the six children of Papa Cosma Panareto (Boloi) and Stamatichi Korfiati. She was born on 18 August 1816 in Panaretianika. She married Anargiros Farodulis (Alai), the father of all her children, on 29 July 1833.
Anargiros was one of the six children of Michalis Fardoulis (Alai) and Thodoroa Panareto (Maragou). He was born 9 January 1810 in Fardoulianika and baptised the following day. He was rather tall with chestnut hair, grey eyes and a thick nose. He was a land measurer and estimator/builder.
The newlywed couple did not waste time starting their family as their eldest child, Michalis, was born only seven months after the marriage on 27 January 1834. They then proceeded to have a child almost every year, often only 12 months apart, until 1860.
This is a list of their children, and everything known about them. The number of children listed are born in Kythera. All were born in Fardoulianika and all baptised in Pandanousas church in Fardoulianika.
Michalis – born 27 January 1834 and baptised 1 February. He was a merchant and worker.
Stamatiki – born about 1835. She married Nikolaos Lourantos (Koliris) in Agia Triada church, Potamos. They had eight children. She died 16 July 1877 in Potamos, aged 42.
Venetzanos – born 31 May 1837 and baptised 7 June.
Panagiotis – born 24 May 1838 and baptised 6 August. He was short and brunette with a big mouth. He applied for a passport to travel to Athens for 12 months in May 1863 and was educated. He married Areti Apatera and they were living in Anatolia in 1870. He was a merchant and confectioner.
Georgios – born 24 September 1839 and baptised 3 October. He was short with chestnut hair and a rather big nose. He applied for a passport top travel to Athens in May 1862 and was educated. He married Stamatiki Kasimati in Potamos, on 19 June 1877. They had eight children. He died 7 November 1922 in Potamos, aged 83.
Kalomira – born 19 September 1840 and baptised 29 September. She married Spiridonas Fotinakis on 2 January 1866 in Potamos. They had 12 children. She contributed a basket for display at the Ioanian Exhibition of 1862. She died 6 April 1898 in Potamos.
Anastasios – born 18 January 1842 and baptised 1 February. He died 2 October 1847, aged only 5.
Nikolaos – born 20 February 1843 and baptised 7 March. He married Chrisanthi Skoulida in Potamos on 11 January 1876. They had no children on the island. He was a merchant.
Theodora – born 15 February 1844 and baptised 17 February. She married Ioannis Korones on 2 March 1869 in Potamos. They had no children.
Kiriakos – born 5 July 1845 and baptised 7 July. He was a merchant. He died 16 January 1910 Potamos.
Minas – born 25 October 1846 and baptised 14 November. He had chestnut hair and a small nose and mouth. He applied for a three-month passport to travel to Athens and he was educated. He was a merchant and farmer in Kythera. Like so many others, Mina left Kythera. He married a woman named Sapho who was born in Turkey. They had at least six children. These children were born in Newcastle, Northumberland, England, Scotland and Egypt, in birth order. The family returned to Newcastle upon Tyne, England circa 1891 where Mina was a restaurant keeper. The family immigrated to South Africa in 1906 where they remained.
Sofoula – born 28 July 1848 and baptised 11 August. She married Emmanouil Tzetzos on 25 August 1873 in Potamos. They had two children.
Marigo – born 25 October 1849 and baptised 29 October. She married Panagiotis Michaletas. After her marriage she moved to Agios Nikolaos in Neapoli. They had several children, one of which moved to South Africa and established the Hellenic Hotel in Pretoria.
Eleni – born 15 February 1851 and baptised 18 February 1851.
Stavris – born 6 February 1852 and baptised 2 March. He died 29 July 1853, aged 1.
Polichronis – born 19 July 1953 and baptised 2 August. He died 1 January 1860, aged 6.
Alexandros – born 13 March 1856 and died 20 April 1856, aged one month.
Melpomeni – born 25 May 1858 and baptised 31 May 1958.
Evthokia – born 18 June 1860 and baptised 16 July. She died 30 January 1877 in Potamos.
Not all deaths of the children have been found, but it is very unusual to have such a high percentage of children survive childhood at this time.
Using the Kytherian baptism certificates and personal information, we know of 36 grandchildren for Smaragdi, but it could be assumed that there were more. It is possible some of the children where no other facts are known except birth dates may have emigrated and there may have been other grandchildren where the baptism certificate does not exist. Imagine how many great-grandchildren there would have been!
Less than two years after the birth of his youngest child, Anargiros applied for a 12-month passport to Constantinople.
Smaragdi died 22 April 1875 in Potamos and was buried the next day. She was 58. With 19 children, she spent over 14 years of her life pregnant, which was almost a quarter of her life.
Anargiros outlived his wife by over 20 years. He died 23 January 1892 in Potamos, aged 82. He was buried the next day.
Smaragdi and Anaragrios have left a lasting impact with very many of their descendants still alive today and their DNA will live on for many generations to come, both on the island and around the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, www.familysearch.org, Kythera Council Baptism Records
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, www.familysearch.org, Kythera Council Marriage Records
The Church University, Newcastle. "Greek Family History." Database. . https://apps.ncl.ac.uk/GreekFamilyHistory: 2019.
Ασλανι, Καρολινα. ΤΑ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΑ ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΕΚΔΟΘΗΚΑΝ ΣΤΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΑ: The British Passports Issued on Kythera. Kythera: Kytherian World Heritage Fund, 2018.
Δρακακις Ε., ΛΙΞΙΑΠΧΙΚΑ ΒΙΒΛΙΑ ΚΥΘΗΡΩΝ Ένορία Παναγίας Ίλαριωτίσσης Ποταμου 1731-1856, Αθηνα, ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ ΚΥΘΑΙΚΩΝ ΜΕΛΕΤΩΝ, 2003