What’s “Aromanian?” Is It An “Arvanite?” The Mysteries of DNA
During the course of the DNA testing, we’ve run into an unusual match with two groups of ethnic Greeks. One match is with people who carry the “Aromanain” genes – a group of shepherds who can be found along the Romanian-Greek border. Anecdotally, P. Kamoutsis says that a group of Kamoutsis who live in Thiva (a town halfway between the ancestral village Plessa and Athens) may be part of another Greek ethnic group: the Arvanites (Greek-Albanians). Our DNA connections to both groups are distant, possibly pre-dating the 1700s.
Kathy L’s family tree (to which we are also connected) has a distant connection to a Arvanite-Greek family from Sevediko. Their last name was “Arvanite” and they lived in a small town called Sevediko (Doriko today). The village was founded in the late 1700s by 8 families who fled from Northern Greece. 4 families went to Sevediko and 4 went to Strouza, another town nearby. The village of Sevediko was first registered in 1832 and by 1925 it had 370 people. Many of them emigrated to the US in the early 1900s.
Both ethnic groups have their own spoken language. They do not have a written language. Both settled in the mountainous areas of northern Greece with some settlements in central Greece (which is where our family come from).
Many Arvanites arrived during the 14th and 15th century when invited by the Franken rulers :”when they arrived they built a village directly on the vacated site of Delphi using the marble columns, structures etc. as support beams and roofs for their improvised houses. Later on toward the end of the 19th century the Greek state, wanting to cash in on the emerging tourism, invited the French archaeologists after a bid, to clear the site and transform Delfi into an open air museum. In 1893 the French archaeologist finally located the actual site. The Arvanite village of Kastri (now renamed Delphi) was moved several miles off the site of the temples on a new location.”
In 1907 authorities counted 410 Arvanite villages with a total population of 236,000 people. They estimate that between 2%-10% of today’s Greek population have Arvanite heritage.
In Greece these ethnic groups are sometimes collectively called “Vlachs” which, at times has also been used as an insult (meaning “hillbilly” or “jackass”).
You can read more about the Aromanians here: