GrbCroatian Genealogy Newsletter

Issue No. 30, 2021


In This Issue

A new genealogical publication is featured for the families on the island of Vir. The people behind the scenes in genealogy are explored with an interview with genealogy researcher Lidija Sambunjak and a summary of the work of the deceased genealogist Nenad Vekarić is highlighted.

1. And who is your ancestor?

2. Lastest Genealogical Families from Vir (Rodoslovlje Olića i Grlića, Matešića i Orlića iz Vira)

3. Interview with Lidija Sambunjak

4. Nenad Vekarić 1955-2018


Previous Issues

Issue by Number

Subject and Location Index


Genealogy Books

Within Croatia

Outside of Croatia

Genealogy Primer

       In this time of Covid-19's world-wide spread, we take stock of its effects on the publication of Croatian genealogy and historical monographs. Anton Bozanić had his latest book, Grad Mali Lošinj - povijesne mijene i razvoj (The City of Mali Lošinj - Historical Changes and Development), was launched in May, 2021. His publication was delayed by half of year due to Covid health concerns. Last summer (2021) Ive Bašić's latest instalment on the families of Vir "Genealogy of Olić and Grlić, Matešić and Orlić from Vir" due to Covid has been published in completely different circumstances than his previous works. Vir, an island located near the city of Zadar and its adjoining county had a number of infected people this past year and prevented the gathering for a book launch.

       Bozanić did has book launch outdoors in front of the main church in Mali Lošinj in the company of Dinko Zorović and Julijano Sokolić. The audience in attendance sat on chairs in the church square, many with face masks. Bozanić who was the pastor at Mali Lošinj from 1998 to 2008 has a long acquaintance with the genealogy of the town and its outlining areas. Bozanić wrote the definitive monograph on Lošinj and area immigrants to the United States entitled: Iseljenici cresko-lošinjskog otocja u New Yorku i okolici. More recently, he has compiled a genealogy of the families from Omišalj from the island of Krk who immigrated to New York, called Omišalj: Drevna župa i iseljenici u New Yorku.

Bozanić's Book Launch
         Dinko Zorović, Anton Bozanić and Julijano Sokolić - photo by B. Purić

       Title: Grad Mali Lošinj: povijesne mijene i razvoj, upravno, crkveno, kluturno i gospodarsko središte otoka Lošinja (The City of Mali Lošinj: historical changes and development; administrative, ecclesiastical, cultural and economic center of the island of Lošinj)  -  Author: Anton Bozanić  -  Publisher: Grad Mali Lošinj, 2020.

And who is your ancestor?

by Salih Zvizdić

       The following text from Gordan Gledec's 2005 is a reprint of Salih Zvizdić's piece originally published in "Vjesnik" on 16 September 2005 provides an excellent summary of Croatian genealogy up to that time and is worthwhile reading for any Croatian genealogy enthusiast:

The more developed the society, the greater the interest of individuals in the history of their own family lineage, for the family genealogy tree, for genealogy. There is almost no developed country where genealogical societies do not operate, and in neighbouring Slovenia such a society was founded ten years ago. This increasingly prominent aspiration to discover genealogy is somewhere a traditional expression of family culture imbued with a desire for a broader knowledge of its ancestors, and in some places it is an expression of material interest (inheritance, division of estates and the like), and more and more often it is a project of scientific papers. Because knowing as much as possible about your ancestors means knowing more about yourself and your own.

Croatia also entered these waters with full sails in June this year, when the Croatian Genealogical Society "Pavao Ritter Vitezović" was founded in Zagreb with several academics and dignitaries in attendance. The Society is named after the author of Croatiae redivivae and Stemmatographiae, the forerunner of the Illyrian movement and the Croatian national revival.

In 1976, the work of historical anthroponomy Lexicon surname SR Hrvatska was created in the edition of the Language Institute of the then JAZU. Ten years ago, the academic, Petar Simunovic, published his Croatian surnames, and the Croatian Institute of History launched the project "Canon Visitations" with an abundance of material for historical anthroponomy. In the Croatian National Archives Martin Modrušan began recording registry books on the microfilm to assist with genealogy research.

In addition, a number of very interesting studies have appeared: Nenad Vekarić published Peljesac Genera and Population of Konavle, Hrvoje Salopek Old Families of Ogulin-Modrus, Mladen Andreis organized Old Families of the Island of Brac, Vladimir Raguž work Batinik, Tom Šalić's Vinkovci Familys, and Anđela Frančić's Međimurje surnames.

The Croatian Genealogical Society "Pavao Ritter Vitezović", whose president is academician Dr. Petar Strčić, was created on these foundations, as well as on a series of similar papers relevant for genealogical topics published in various proceedings, monographs and professional journals, and covered on regular and postgraduate papers at Croatian philosophical faculties. The idea of establishing this society originated from amateurs who, in search of their genealogical tree, used genealogical material in zagreb's state archives and sought the help of people from the profession.

The main initiator of the foundation of the Society, retired journalist Mladen Paver, author of the Genealogy Manual, launched a workshop "For his roots" in Zagreb, as part of the Open Public University, which was a good reception. All this, like a number of other elements, unequivocally shows that the seeds of genealogy in Croatia are sown on a good surface that promises a lot.

The recently established Croatian Genealogical Society has already received hundreds of letters authored by members of various social groups. Priests, auto mechanics, ambassadors, high school students, housewives, academics and even a prison convict abroad, would like to know how much information about their ancestors go down in history. The genealogical society "Pavao Ritter Vitezović" holds a workshop "For its roots" at the Open University where it teaches the skills of making a family tree and chronicle, leads to the necessary institutions, experts and organizations and points to literature, language and skill in reading old manuscripts.

The goal of is to teach, those who want it, how to explore their family tree. Mladen Paver, vice president of the Society, compared their goal to the famous Chinese saying: You can catch a fisherman's fish and feed him one day, but if you teach him how to catch fish, you've fed him for life. Family trees are made on request by the Society. For example, the family tree of Zvonimir Jambrišak is extensiveness with the earliest traces of the family documented in 1567.

It is observed in us that the more educated a man is, the more interested he is in his ancestors. For a good start to the research, a precise date and parish of the birth of the oldest ancestor is sufficient. The Croatian National Archives has had recorded registers on microfilms since the 16th century. Following the name on baptismal, married and death certificates, meticulous work creates a family tree. Kristina Šober

Genealogy is a neglected auxiliary historical science in Croatia. There is a lack of professional papers not only on "ordinary" Croatian families, but also on, for history important, large families. Perhaps the most famous book on the subject Krk's Frankapani Princes was written by Vjekoslav Klaić in 1901. The book was reissued in 1991. Some can be read about the genealogy of families important for Croatian cultural history. Stjepan Kastropil published the expert article "Genealogy of the Držić family by Jer Vlaho Držić" in Belgrade in 1961.

Genealogy is mainly explored by family enthusiasts. Six years ago, Drago Sumić published an extensive monograph (more than 500 pages) Genealogy Sumić – Podgora. Ive Bašić, who researches the genealogy of the family of the island of Vir, stands out with his diligence. Eight years ago he published Genealogy of Bašić from Vir. A year later, he wrote Genealogy of Žepin from Vir, and last year he published the most comprehensive book (just under 300 pages) Genealogy of Vucetic from Vir. Baić also wrote a monograph on the island of Vir.

The book Raguži – History and Genealogy by Stojan Raguz Gunjinović is highlighted in scope this year. On 800 pages of large format, he published biographical data on thousands of holders of the surname Raguž from the end of the 17th century to the present day. The members of the Raguž family are sorted into tribes and genera, their origins are investigated, and their movement around the world. Gunjinović, who spent his professional career in the wood industry, worked on the book for a quarter of a century. He visited all Raguže families in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, and in addition to his registers, he collected data directly from surnames. His travels took him to America, Australia, and Africa. The result of his work is practically an encyclopedia of one surname.


Lastest Genealogical Families from Vir (Rodoslovlje Olića i Grlića, Matešića i Orlića iz Vira / Genealogy of Olić and Grlić, Matešić and Orlić from Vir)

by Salih Zvizdić

Professor Ive Bašić the author of this work was born in 1944 in Vir. He attended the first seven grades of elementary school in Vir, and the final eighth grade in Privlaka. He completed his secondary vocational education and studied mechanical engineering, becoming professor of mechanical technology, in Rijeka. He showed an early interest in the history of his native island back in 1972, when he began collecting historical material.

After studying mechanical engineering in Rijeka, Ive Bašić worked as a professor of mechanical technology, later director of the School Center "Franjo Pavičić" in Ogulin, and then for two terms he was director of the School Center for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Zadar. He also focused on maritime education, and since 1991 at the Technical School Center in Zadar and its current successors, vice Vlatković vocational school and technical school Zadar.

         Ive Bašić

With the discovery of baptismal, marriage and dead records from the beginning of the 19th century in the parish office of St. George on Vir and the Book of Souls (Anagrafa) from 1852 and 1896, Professor Ive Bašić gives us more detailed knowledge about the families of Vir. The general surname Radovic comes from Montenegro, from two Montenegrin towns. Two families come from Dobrote (Boka Kotorska), or more precisely above the town of Tivat (Tivat), and from the town of Paštrovići (between Kufin and Babina Vir), and a third family is that of Radović (which is a branch of the Line of Režević from "Stara Montenegro"). Today the surname Radovic applies to 1700 individuals split into 800 Croatian households found mostly in Zagreb, the island of Vir, and to a less extent in Rijeka, Split and Karlovac.

In the past hundred years, the majority of Radovic's were born on the island of Vir near Nin, where one in six inhabitants was called "Radovic". At the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, Radovići were not mentioned among the parishioners of the island of Vir suggesting their later arrival. Vir was owned by the noble Crnica family who were also a military family originally from the Montenegrin littoral region in the service of Venice and who defended the sea routes from the Velebit Channel to Trogir. For their military efforts and for the liberation of Vir and other regions, they were granted a noble title and the right to buy and administer the island of Vir.

The list of Bašić's genealogical books on the history of Vir families includes Vir: the History of My Island (2001) for a total of eleven books. A list of titles appears at the end of this article. Bašić latest work the Genealogy of Olić and Grlić, Matešić and Orlić from Vir appeared in the summer of 2021. This book, Bašić says it was one of the most difficult to write. Various family relationships and old land feuds made the work quite complicated. Mutual distrust made the gathering documents and photos difficult.

Bašić's book is richly illustrated with photographs and documents that outline what life was like on the island before the mass construction of holiday homes in recent decades, many of which have turned into a place of permanent habitation of their owners, so that the population of Vir has changed dramatically. Currently, Bašić is working to complete all family summaries for the island of Vir with his last publication on the series which is to include the genealogies of the Subotic, Gržet and Peruz families.

    Basic's Publications
  • 1997 Rodoslovlje Bašić iz Vira / Genealogy of Bašić from Vir
  • 1998 Rodoslovlje Žepin iz Vira / Genealogy of Žepin from Vir
  • 1999 Rodoslovlje Liverić iz Vira / Genealogy of Liverić from Vir
  • 2001 Vir: povijest mog otoka / Vir: the history of my island
  • 2005 Rodoslovlje Vucetić iz Vira / Genealogy of Vucetić from Vir
  • 2006 Rodoslovlje Kaponića iz Vira / Genealogy of Kaponića from Vir
  • 2010 Rodoslovlje Radović, Cepulo, Lavić iz Vira / Genealogy of Radović, Cepulo, Lavić from Vir
  • 2010 Rodoslovlje Buddha iz Vira / Genealogy of Buddha from Vir
  • 2012 Rodoslovlje Kera iz Vira / Genealogy of Kera from Vir
  • 2014 Rodoslovlje Buškulić, Jurćević, Glavan iz Vira / Genealogy of Buškulić, Jurćević, Glavan from Vir
  • 2021 Rodoslovlje Olića i Grlića, Matešića i Orlića iz Vira / Genealogy of Olić, Grlić, Matešić, Orlic from Vir
  • Rodoslovlje Subotić, Gržet, Peruz iz Vira / Genealogy of Subotić, Gržet, Peruz from Vir (publication in progress)

Basic's Books
         Eight of Bašić's eleven books dealing with the genealogies of Vir families are shown above

(Sources: Valdimir Matek Aug 23, 2021;;

An Interview with Lidija Sambunjak

       Lidija Sambunjak is a professional genealogist, an APG member and also a member of several Slovenian and Croatian genealogical societies. She began her genealogical work in her early twenties researching Slovenian records. Later when she moved to Croatia she focused her genealogical research on family history in both of countries. She has been the director of the Croatia Family History Center in Zagreb.

       Lidija reads Glagolitic and gothic scripts and helps on indexing projects at FamilySearch. She has an expertise with Greek-Orthodox Church records, especially for the area of Žumberak on the Croatian-Slovenian border. The inhabitants of Žumberak are predominantly Greek Catholic and derive from a different tradition than their Roman Catholic neighbours and have a unique genealogical record.

       For seven years, she has served as a member of steering committees for the Croatian Genealogical Society “Pavao Ritter- Vitezović”. She also gave numerous genealogical presentations and lectures at Croatian Genealogical Society, the Slovenian Genealogical Society, Family History Centers and local libraries. One of her most recent presentations was Offline sources for Croatian genealogy at the FEEHS 2021 Conference in Salt Lake City.

This interview was conducted by Zvjezdana Živko Fernandes and appears on her website: Her research has focused on the surnames from Croatian parishes of Imbriovec, Djelekovec, and Kuzminec.

         Lidija Sambunjak

The Interview:

Lidija Sambunjak is a very good friend of mine. She is a great professional genealogist and owner of “Zlato drevo,” a firm that does genealogical research in Croatia and Slovenia. Since I wanted to introduce you to the Croatian genealogist, she was willing to answer several questions that explain her job and passion.

Why did you decide to go become a genealogical entrepreneur?

When I started doing my genealogy, I was telling everyone what I found out, where I found it, how interesting it was, and how happy it made me. Very soon people started asking me if I would be willing to do their family tree as well. Of course, at first, I didn’t think of it seriously, but after some time I was able to see that everything in my life pointed to the path of professional genealogy.

How did you start your entrepreneurial journey?

The person that pushed me in this direction was my husband. He believed in me and gave me the wings I needed to make the first flight. At first, I gave him hundreds of reasons and the things that can happen, that will happen, and that I was afraid of. But he never wavered, in the end, was able to convince me otherwise. I have never regretted the decision to listen to him and will be forever grateful for his leadership.

Explain the process you went through while opening your business?

Opening the business in this whole process was probably the easiest thing of them all. In the country where I live, opening a personal small business is not hard and the government is quite helpful in lowering bureaucratic red tape and helps contacts to governmental institutions. I also needed back up from genealogy-related institutions, since genealogy as a profession doesn’t exist in our education system. But after I spend thousands of hours in the archives and after people in charge saw my work, they were ready to back me up in my efforts.

What are some things that work for you in your job?

The biggest reward in being a freelance genealogist is your working time frame. Except for the trips to the archive, where archives have set up working schedules, one has the whole control of working hours and can easily manage between personal family life and professional life.

What was the best thing that happened to you in your job or because of it?

By far the best thing in my profession is connecting families. Being present when families of the same lineage meet each other after family relations were cut for hundreds of years is one of the sweetest experiences, that I have had in my life. And I am grateful for every client that ever allowed me to serve them in this way.

What challenges do you face in your job?

In our countries, the biggest challenge is working with priests. A lot of parishes still have vital church books kept at parish offices, instead of sending them to local State or Archbishop’s archives. So when a big genealogy project is to be done, the priests don’t have the time to spend babysitting someone in their offices. In these cases, working with priests and their schedules is a challenge that is sometimes impossible to resolve.

What was the hardest lesson you learned as a genealogical entrepreneur?

I wish I could learn faster; to say no to some cases. People that haven’t done genealogical or historical research before cannot know the scope of research work that is needed to find information. Because of this, they expect lots of results in a short research time frame, which in most cases is impossible to do since historical documentation needs to be researched page by page.

If you could turn back the time, what would you do differently? Why?

I would have start earlier! I remember when I started doing my genealogy in my early twenties, people in the archives would ask me what will do when I retire, and all I could ever think of was how sorry I am for not beginning sooner and that I had the opportunity to interview our oldest family members, and to visit places that were most important in their family history.

What is your advice for the next generation of genealogical entrepreneurs?

Do not ignore information given by the elderly, for most of the time stories are correct, while dates are not. And be nice to people - a simple smile will open more doors than waiving your rights. Explain what makes you different from other genealogists? (What is your area of expertise?)

I specialized in research in Slovenia and Croatia, two of ex-Yugoslavian countries. We have quite a few excellent genealogists in our areas, but only a few of us cover both countries. I believe this is important, for emigrations between these two countries, especially along almost 700 kilometers long border were very common.
What is your contact preference for clients?

I’ll be happy to reply to your email sent to lidija (@)


Nenad Vekaric 1955-2018


         Nenad Vekarić This article is a summary of Ivanka Rebrović's 2018 piece orginally written in Croatian:

Academician Nenad Vekaric passed away in July of 2018 at the age of 62, after a serious illness. Vekarić had been born at Split, Croatia in 1955 in Split. He received his master's degree in 1980 from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb for his thesis on the "Land Register of Ston: the study of Pelješac settlements in the 14th century" and his doctoral work on the "Migrations to the Pelješac Peninsula 1333-1918", submitted a decade later. He had been employed at the Institute of Historical Sciences for the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts starting in 1984, becoming the Institute's director four years later. In May 2012 he was elected a full member of the Department of Social Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Vekarić's scientific oeuvre includes dozens of books and scientific discussions, and his work was focused on the field of historical demography, especially on the population of Dubrovnik and the Republic of Dubrovnik. He achieved the most important results by researching the process of demographic transition and in the study of various population strata in southern Croatia. He created his doctoral study ‘History of Population’ in 2005, and in 2016 the first doctoral study in the field of historical demography in Croatia and the first doctoral study at the University of Dubrovnik. His work at the University of Dubrovnik opened graduates studies in the ‘History of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean’.

As the director of the Institute of Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, he managed to gather a large number of quality associates and create a circle of historians for whom Dubrovnik became the center of study. He was the editor-in-chief of the journal ‘Annals of the Institute of Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts’. At the beginning of July, the ninth volume of his book "Nobles of the City of Dubrovnik" was published by the Institute of Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the printing of the tenth and eleventh volumes was announced for 2019.

He won the City of Dubrovnik Award in 1989 (for the book 'Pelješac Settlements in the 14th Century'), the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Award in 1997 (for the books 'Pelješac Genera and the Forgery on the Origin of Konavle Genera') and the Free Dalmatia Award for Science in 2005 (together with Vladimir Stipetić for the book 'Historical Demography in Croatia') and the HAZU Awards of 2006 (together with Stjepan Ćosić for the book 'Dubrovnik Nobles between Gender and the State').

Vekarić was an active participant in Dubrovnik's political life. He held the position of Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik and was a city councillor of the HNS, and since June 2017 he has also been an independent councillor.

(Sources: U srpnju preminuo akademik Nenad Vekarić, by Ivanka Rebrović 29 Aug. 2018