The Origins of the name 'Douris'.

The origins of the surname DOURIS are not really known. Greek surnames, just like in other places of the world, sometimes have their origins in professions, descriptions etc. The name 'Douris' does not have any such connection and in fact does not have any meaning at all. It is just a name.


As the Greek language uses a different alphabet than English, some Greek surnames are slightly altered in pronunciation when transliterated into English.

The Douris surname is such a one. In Greek it is spelt DOURIS The Greek letter "delta" (D) is pronounced as a hard TH (as in the word "then") as opposed to it being pronounced as a D (as in "Dog") This has resulted in a slight disparity on the pronunciation of the surname between the Greek ('Thoo-rees') and the English form (Doo-ris).

Another problem, which arises when Greek surnames are translated into English, is that in the Greek language everything is gender driven. For that reason, there are two versions of every surname, one female, and one male. In Greek grammar, it is the ending of the word that communicates to us whether it is male or female.

In many surnames, a "S " (S - sigma) at the end of the surname is simply the only difference between the male and female version. The surname Douris adheres to this rule. It follows, therefore, that male members of the family use the surname DOURIS (Douris) and the female DOURH (Douri).

It is safe to presume, that the first Greeks, with the Douris surname, that settled in Great Britain were males and therefore would have been known by the male version of the surname " DOURIS". Consequently it was transliterated as DOURIS in English. Because the English language is not gender driven, both male and females members of the family subsequently bore the male version of the surname " Douris ".


Ikarians are very prone to giving nicknames and many families can trace their surname to a given nickname. In some circumstances the family might have one branch with the original surname and the other with the given nickname as the surname. For example, the Ikarian name Mavrogeorgis, which translates from Greek as Black George, is well known on the island. That family can trace its origins to one particular extraordinarily dark-skinned George who lived in Droutsoula in the 1800's. Again, though individuals, over the years, have had nicknames added to their Christian names, the Douris family seem never to have been given a nickname in place of their surname.

Whatever the origin of the name, we do know of two very famous Douris's in antiquity, both of whom lived in Greece.

DOURIS - The Vase Painter

The first is a very famous Painter whose work is in many of the major Museums all over the world. He is famous for painting vessels and his work is referred to as "Douris Cup". You can see some of his work in the British Museum as well as the Berlin and New York Museums. You can find further information on the web, starting with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douris_(vase_painter) It is a pleasant thought to believe that we may be descendants of such an illustrious artisan.

DOURIS - The Tyrant

The second famous Douris was a tyrant on the island of Samos, our nearest neighbouring island. It needs to be noted that, in ancient times, the word tyrant did not have the same connotation as it does today. It simply meant some one who ruled on his own. There is also further information about him on the web, again you might start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douris_(tyrant). There are now no Douris' remaining on the island of Samos but it is known that during the Middle Ages the people of Samos use to graze their animals on Ikaria, as at that time it was very sparsely inhabited. Therefore, there is a possibility that the Douris' settled on Ikaria at that time. We will never know for certain.

VENETIAN Connections?

There is also some talk of the surname being of Italian origin because, at some time when the Venetians controlled Ikaria, there were people living on the island called VENDOURIS. This could have been because the Douris family just added a prefix to their name to sound more Venetian. There is no one on the island today with the surname VENDOURIS, which suggests that they might have dropped the prefix when the Venetians moved on.


There is no way to tell exactly who or when the first Dourisí came to Ikaria. We know, however, that there was Dourisí living in Langada, one of the earliest places on Ikaria to be inhabited. Langada is on the far west side of the island. From Langada some later moved into the Christos Raches area and then onto Akamatra, both are mountain villages. The majority of the family by the 1800ís did live mainly in the Akamatra area. Until the 19th century, most of the Ikarians lived in the interior of the island due to sporadic visits by the pirates that roamed the Mediterranean, plundering and kidnapping the islanders as slaves. Though most of the inhabitants at this time lived in the mountains, this did not mean that they did not own and work land on the coast. The Douris family owned a large area around a bay on the north side that is now Evdilos.


We know for fact that Konstantinos Douris moved from Akamatra to Evdilos, in the early 1800's, when he married Irini Kastania who was from Galiskari. Of his children, only two sons, Ioannis and Stamatis, survived. They have subsequently populated the village of Evdilos with enthusiasm. At some time one of Konstantinos' cousins also joined him in Evdilos. Descendants from that branch also still live in the village.

It is therefore safe to say that if you are a Douris and come from Evdilos you are related to any other Douris who also comes from Evdilos in one way or another. You should be able, eventually, to find that connection when the family tree for Konstantinos is posted up on this site. It is equally safe to say, that if you are a Douris from Evdilos, you will also be related to the Douris' from Akamatra, though distantly.

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