Friday, August 29, 2014

The Demoulas Family Tree

Did you feel like you needed a scorecard to keep track of the Demoulas cousins during their latest Market Basket family feud that aired in front of the public?  I know that when I read historical novels, I love authors that put genealogies right in the front cover so I can keep track.  Sort of a cheat sheet for genealogists.  Authors like James A. Michener and Edward Rutherfurd were especially good at including a family tree, which was handy because their books would go on for generations.  Just like the Demoulas saga.

So, here it is!  This is the Demoulas clan chart, showing both Demoulas brothers who started the supermarket chain, and both cousins named Arthur who continue to feud. The names and dates here were gleaned from, vital records, and New England newspapers.

George Demoulas                                                          Evangelos Souleimanis
m. Ecaterine Athanasoula                                               m. Marina
                  |                                                                         |    
Anthansios"Theoni" Demoulas                                        Efrosine  Soulis
b. 3 Jan 1883 Kalambaka, Greece                                b. 27 Aug 1899 Kalambaka, Greece
d. 30 Apr 1958  Lowell, Mass.                                     d. 12 Aug 1964 Lowell, Mass
                          |                                                                                      |
                              |                              |                                    |
Telmachus "Mike" Demoulas                4 other children             George A. Demoulas
b. 10 Oct 1920                                                                         b. 1919
d. 24 May 2003 Boston                                                            d. 27 June 1971 Greece
m. Irene Psolinos                                                                       m. Evanthea Koukias
                   |                                                                                          |
  ------------------------------------------                                      ---------------------------------------
|                    |            |                  |                                  |               |                  |                      |
Francis    Glorianne   Arthur T.    Caren Lee                  Fotene       Evangelos       Diana     Arthur S.
b. 1950   b. 1952    b. 1955     b. 1959                        b. 1954      b. 1955          b. 1956    b. 1958
                                                                                                      d. 1993

Athanasios Demoulas opened his first store in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1916.  The store was sold to two sons, Telemachus and George, Demoulas in 1954.  The Demoulas brothers expanded the chain to 15 stores before George died in Greece on vacation in 1971.  Today the chain has spread out of the Merrimack Valley to 71 locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

As a genealogist I find this family bickering to be a fascinating case study.  On one hand I like supporting a local, family business, but on the other hand I see how feuding families can absolutely drive a good business into ruin.  Some day the students at Harvard Business School will make this one of their most complicated case studies.

The feuding is not new.  There was a family rift that started back in 1971 when George A. Demoulas died young at age 51, and the evenly divided family shares in the supermarket business had to be redistributed.  There was another scandal in 1991 involving some "questionable accounting", accusations of bugging devices and some of the cousins lost some of their shares.  In 1994, Judge Maria Lopez (of the TV court show fame) found that Mike Demoulas had defrauded his brother's family of shares.

In 1979 some of the Demoulas and Psolinos family members bought the Farragut Hotel on the waterfront of Rye, New Hampshire.  After razing the old building and starting a new one, the hotel sat empty for 24 years as the family members fought over the property.  The derelict building was razed in 2003.  Because of the continuous feuding, the vacant lot on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Central Road is still unimproved.  This lot must be worth millions now in 2014, but remains vacant because the family has not decided how to plan a profitable hotel or condo business here.

To read about the Farragut Hotel debacle, click here:

For another look at the Demoulas family, click on this link by Barbara Poole, a Lowell, Massachusetts genealogy blogger at “Life from the Roots” (some great photos, too!):

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. How is Market Basket dairy buyer Jack Demoulas, described as "another cousin", related?

    1. Randy, according to the book "Illegit: A Memoir of Family Intrigue, Wealth and Cruel Indifference" by George A. Demoulas, Jack Demoulas is the son of John Athanasios Demoulas, one of the 4 other siblings not listed on the chart above. The book is a memoir and has no footnotes or primary sources, but it lists a lot of family members of George A. Demoulas.