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Rízes Reconnects: AHEPA and Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research Team Up to Find a Family's Lost Heirloom



In an inspiring display of community spirit and dedication to heritage, Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research, led by founder John Daskalakis and Chris Floor of AHEPA’s Chapter 146 in Salt Lake City, Utah, have teamed up to assist the Piperakis family in locating a cherished family heirloom: the lyra of the renowned Cretan singer, Harilaos Piperakis. This collaborative effort, supported by AHEPA (The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) and various museums across Utah, showcases the power of unity and the deep respect for cultural heritage within the Greek and Greek American communities.


Harilaos Piperakis, a name synonymous with Cretan music, left an indelible mark on the Greek cultural landscape. Born in the early 20th century, Piperakis was a master of the lyra. His music resonated deeply with the people of Crete and beyond, embodying the spirit and struggles of the Cretan people. Piperakis’ melodies were more than just music; they were a testament to the resilience and rich cultural history of Crete. His performances brought joy, solace, and a sense of identity to Cretans everywhere, helping to preserve and propagate the unique musical traditions of the island.


Founded in 1922, AHEPA has been a cornerstone in the Greek American community, promoting Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence. AHEPA’s contributions are multifaceted, ranging from providing scholarships to supporting local and global humanitarian efforts. The organization has been instrumental in preserving Greek culture and heritage in the United States, offering a support network for Greek immigrants and their descendants. AHEPA’s involvement in helping the Piperakis family locate their family’s heirloom is a continuation of its longstanding commitment to fostering community and preserving

Greek cultural heritage.


Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research, a Greek genealogy research company founded in 2022, has quickly established itself as a trusted resource for Greeks worldwide seeking to uncover their family histories. Under the leadership of Mr. Daskalakis, the company offers a range of services, including genealogical research, dual citizenship assistance, paleographic transcription services, translation of foreign records, photographic services of ancestral homes, DNA test interpretation, and lineage discovery services.


"Genealogy was always an interest of our founder, Mr. John Daskalakis," the company notes. "What began as a weekend hobby while working for Microsoft had slowly developed into having an ‘honest and trustworthy rapport’ among the global Greek community. As a result, he was asked to assist in genealogical research for others in his downtime. These same people suggested that he elevate his genealogical skills and consider a career in genealogy full-time."


Mr. Daskalakis's qualifications include the completion of the Boston University Genealogical Principles course and degrees in elementary education from Dowling College and St Joseph’s University of New York. He holds a permanent New York State teaching certification and is a Microsoft-certified Education Expert. In the very near future, Mr. Daskalakis will pursue a Ph.D. in Contemporary European and Greek History at the University of Crete – Rethymno. He has also been invited to write a book on Greek American History in the United States from 1800 to the present day and he is working on two more books, including "The American Nightmare of John Petro Forakis Death, Bigotry, Sadness, and the Total Disregard for the Burden of Proof."


Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research collaborates with a network of professionals, including members of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B), the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA), the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).


The joint effort by Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research and AHEPA’s Chapter 146 to help  the Piperakis family locate the lyra of Harilaos Piperakis is a touching reminder of the strength of community and the importance of cultural heritage. This initiative not only aims to reunite a family with a precious artifact but also highlights the enduring impact of Harilaos Piperakis’ music and the ongoing efforts of organizations like AHEPA and Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research to preserve and celebrate Greek history and culture. Together, they demonstrate that the bonds of heritage and community are timeless and that by working together, we can honor our past while building a

brighter future.

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