Croatian Genealogy
Online Newsletter

Issue No. 1; April 11, 1998

New Books:
Croatians on the Titanic (March 30, 1998)

(Extract from the Croatian Information Centre, Zagreb, based on the publication by Ivana Ivancic, ’Titanic’, Hrvatska Rijec, Sarajevo, March 29, 1998, p.26.)

The glamour of the premieres of the movie blockbuster ‘Titanic’ took place in Zagreb on March 13. A party was thrown for the representatives of Croatia’s high society, including the diplomatic corps and numerous politicians, in the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel.

However, it seems that this - we could say bizarre and decadent glamour - also indicates that the majority of those on the Titanic were practically abandoned. The story of Titanic also reanimates the story of the differences between rich and poor. The story about the lower class passengers on the Titanic, who were stopped in realising their ‘American dream’, is also a story about 30 Croatian passengers.

‘Search for a Better Life’

Most of the Croats worked on the Titanic as stokers and a small number of them came on board to get to America, ‘the land of prosperity’. Most of them were originally from the Croatian regions of Lika and Posavina (Sava Valley region). One of them was Ivan Jalsevac from Topolovac, near the town of Sisak. He managed to escape the jaws of the Big Blue. His family still keeps written details of his memory on that fatal night. Ivan, who always spoke about that night to his family, died in 1945. The disaster affected his life as he witnessed the death of his friends, visions which haunted him for life.

His nephew told us the stories: "My uncle told me that a strong crash awakened him. That was the moment when the Titanic hit the iceberg. Everyone was shocked at first, but after a few minutes, when the passengers and crew realised what had happened, panic ran rampant. Passengers, suddenly facing the possibility of ending their lives in the cold Atlantic Ocean, were petrified. The lower deck passengers were not allowed to come out. The ship’s staff locked all the exits from the lower decks. There was no room for lower class passengers to be saved. They were crossed out automatically for a rescue. A terrible noise was heard from the deck of the ship and the occasional gun shot, probably to make some order among the panic stricken mass.

"My uncle and two of his friends, Drazen and Stankovic, tried to save as many women and children as possible. That was their last meeting alive. Ivan Jalsevac never saw his friends again. He managed to escape through to the main deck and to jump into the cold Atlantic. That was his only chance out alive. In the cold ocean, next to the sinking Titanic was one of the lifeboats full of women and children. He reached for it and thankfully the women helped and took him into the boat because the sailors showed no interest in saving him.

"They managed to paddle to the ‘Carpathia’ steam boat that took on most of the survivors of the catastrophe. There were twenty Croat sailors from Dalmatia working on the Carpathia.

"The White Star Line Company, which owned the Titanic, decorated survivors and presented them an ironic award - free life passes to travel with the company. The ones who were reimbursed were mostly the rich and second class, excluding the third class - including Croats.

The Croats on the Titanic were: Ivan Stankovic, Ivan Jalsevic, Josip Drazenovic, Franjo and Ana Korum, Ivan Markun, Ljudevit Cop, Branko Dakic, Ivan Bartoli, Mirko Dika, Stevo Pavlovic, Matilda Petrinac, Milan Karasin, Stevan Turcin, Ciro Rekic, Marija Cacic, Janko Vuk, Ivan Strimic, Petar Calic, Manda Calic, Tomo Pakrevic, Tomo Uzelac, Luka Oreskovic, Mate Pokrajac, Marija Oreskovic, and Janko and Mile Smiljanic.

Recent Online Telephone White Pages for Croatia and fomer-Yugoslavia
(Internet access to Croatia Telephone Listings)

HPT the Croatian Telecommunications company, which regulates telephone and mail service in Croatia, has made accessible the entire countries white pages telephone listings on the Internet. Now it is possible to search the entire country for surnames in one simple and quick search, as opposed to searching through a myriad of telephone directories for each city and region, the only option available until a few months ago.

With special characters for the unique Croatian letters, which are not found in the Roman alphabet, the new HPT telephone listings database makes it is possible to search for any Croatian surname. Special instructions are provided on HPT's main page on how to represent Croatian characters on an ASCII-type keyboard. The only drawback is that the display of the names is in special characters. For example the 'ic' ending of many Croatian names is displayed as 'iae'. As long as users of this new telephone listing are aware of these character issues, then the new HPT database becomes a very useful tool in genealogy research.

Along with HPT, the Yugoslav Telecommunications company has a Internet site called the Yugoslav Phone Book listing 1.5 million residential listings in Serbia and Montenegro (Crna Gora). This site is useful as a genealogical search tool, since many of us have relations and ancestors in other republics of the former-Yugoslavia. It too uses special characters to represent the Serbo-Croatian alphabet, and like the HPT database, will located a surname or individual with one search, with no need to search separate city listings.

The HPT and the Yugoslav Phone Book now join the Slovenian Telephone Directory of Telekom Slovenije, which has been online for over a year, in offering coverage of Croatia and other former-Yugoslav republics. For access to the HPT and Yugoslav databases see the Croatia pages.

New Church Records Microfilmed by FHL
(To be Available This Year)

The Family History Library (FHL)of the Latter-Day Saints have recently completed microfilming of various church records from Dalmatia and Rijeka regions of Croatia filmed in 1997. As of February of this year the FHL operation in Europe has added many new Croatian parish records to it collection of microfilms from Croatia. The new microfilms are not yet available for distribution in the U.S. and Canada, but by the end of this year they should be added to the FHL catalog. First the films have to go to the FHL Germany office for checks on quality then they will be transported to Salt Lake City. There the library staff will catalog the microfilms and finally they get added to the FHL collection and become available for distribution to FHL around the globe.

The new microfilm includes a number of records kept in the Historical Archives in Rijeka. They include parish records from the Rijeka region including some of the islands. For example the microfilms for Mali Losinj includes seven films (Births: 1749-1890; Marriages: 1746- 1820, 1835-1901; Deaths: 1732-1811, 1835-1859). A partial list of the Rijeka microfilm was provided by Tom Edlund of the FHL and is provided below. Also provided by Mr. Edlund are a list of microfilmed parishes for Dalmatia especially for the Zadar region. They are also listed below, but do not contain dates.

New Croatian microfilming from the area of Istria/Rijeka

New Croatian microfilming from Dalmatia

History of the Maraschino in Zadar

(Extract from the Croatian Information Centre, Zagreb, based on a report entitled ‘Liker za Napolena’, Jutarnji list, April 10, 1998, p. 40.)

ZADAR - Half a century after WWII, on Wednesday, April 8, the Italian language book called ‘La Fabbrica di Maraschino Francesco Drioli di Zara, 1759 - 1943’ (The Francesco Drioli Maraschino Factory of Zadar, 1759 - 1943) was launched in Zadar.

The authors, Giorgetta Bonfiglio-Dosio, Francesca Salghetti-Drioli and Rita Tolomeo, along with Dr. Boris Juric from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zadar, Prof. Marijan Maroja from the National Archive in Zadar, Dr. Giorgio Roverato from the University of Padova and Giovanni Luigi Fontana from the University of Venice, spoke about the book and the rich tradition of the Zadar Maraschino Factory.

Dr. Juric stressed that the tradition of Liqueur production, from the Venetian period through history grew into a large industry with a high quality product sought after throughout Europe. The high quality is reflected in the fact that numerous European royal households enjoyed Liqueur from Zadar, especially maraschino. Furthermore, between 1795 - 1800, 30 varieties of liqueurs were produced in Zadar. After the beginning of the 19th century, when the Drioli Factory began industrially manufacturing liqueur, only its maraschino went out to conquer the world. This product was the reason King George IV of England routed his ships via Zadar. Others who enjoyed this liqueur were: Russian Tsar Nikola I, Napoleon I and his marshal, Marmont.

Croatians in Central Europe

(Extract from the Croatian Information Centre, Zagreb, based on the publication by Z. Valentic, ‘Hrvati u Srednjoj Europi’, Vecernji list, March 30, 1998, p.19.)

In the Istria Cultural Centre in Devinsko Novo Selo, near Bratislava, where there exists a large Croatian community, the book ‘Croats in Central Europe’, written by Dr. Kvetoslav Kucerov, was presented yesterday. The publishers of this monograph are the renowned literary institution ‘Matrix Croatica’ (Matica Hrvatska) and ‘Matrix Slovakia Zagreb’.

Dr. Jan Botik, head of the Istria Centre for the Croatian minority in Slovakia, said that despite being first published in 1976 the monograph of Dr. Kucerov is still an important to the current times, pertaining to the arrival of Croats to Central Europe.

The President of ‘Matrix Croatica’, Dr. Josip Bratulic, reiterated the historical reasoning for why Croats fled their homeland, in order to save the lives during the Ottoman invasion. He stated that despite all the exiles from Croatia from the 15th to the 20th century, its language and cultural identity has survived. Today the new political changes have made it possible for Croatia to pay careful attention to its minorities world-wide.

Accomplishments of Seven Croatian Scientists in the US

(Extract from the Croatian Information Centre, Zagreb, based on a report entitled 'Dostignuca sedmorice', Vecernji list, January 29, 1998, p.15.)

In co-operation with the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the renown Croatian literary institution, 'Matica Hrvatska', and the Croatian American Association, have published the book entitled, 'Distinguished Croatian Scientists in America'.

The book, edited by Prof. Dr. Janko Herak and Dr. Sonja Nikolic, was the product of a specialised meeting which was held in June of 1996 and is the reflection of the works of seven Croatian scientists who were born and educated in Croatia but became renown for their work in the US. The book was officially launched last evening in Zagreb at the premises of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

The seven scientists are : Milan Randic, Egon Matijevic, Petar Alaupovic, Branko Leskovar, Vladimir Katovic, William Feller annd Luka Milas.

New Books about Istria

(The following books by the Italian publisher "Alcione" are described in an article by Alessandra Norbedo, entitled "Atmosfere istriane e dalmate", Voce Giuliana, n. 671, 16 January 1998, p. 3).