Croatian Symbol/Hrvatski Greb: courtesy of
Tomislav Mikulic

Croatian Genealogy Newsletter

Issue No. 13, January 2006                                                   Hrvatski tekst

This issue deals with genealogical books on a variety of Croatian communities. Six books are featured here and cover the town of Varazdin, the islands of Pag and Vis, and the regions of Medimurje, Makarska, and Vukovar.

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Map of CGN-13

Map of locations mentioned in this issue

Tragom Židovske povijesti i kulture u Varaždinu (Tracing Jewish history and culture in Varazdin) by Magdalena Loncaric, published, Varazdin: Gradski muzej Varazdin, 2003.

This volume of 77 pages is written in dual Croatian and English. It contains a 24 page catalogue listing documents and photographs, some of which are reproduced in the book. Also 11 pages of biographies of prominent Jewish community members are included.

This book provides a brief history of the Jewish community and a biographical listing of some individuals who were prominent in Varazdin. The book traces Jewish history and culture in Varazdin with a substantive list of resources numbering over 270. Although most documents are pre-World War II a small number of documents cover the years during the war. The book records the Jewish settlement of Varazdin starting in 1689 to the time of World War II. These early Jewish settlers created the institution called the “God-worshipping Municipality” in 1777. In the 1790 city census for Varazdin there were 13 Jewish families listed. Jews were severally restricted by city and national regulations as to what activities they could engage in. As the Jewish population in Varazdin grew it increased in the 1850 census to 43 families with 243 members. In 1870 there were 476 people, and in 1880 589 people. By 1890 the Jewish population of Varazdin was 639, increasing to 728 in 1900.

In 1941 the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), the fascist war regime, imposed restrictions on the Jewish communities throughout Croatia. Arrests were followed by deportations to camps in Croatia and Germany. The majority of the Jewish population of Varazdin died as a result of this persecution and only a small number survived the war. The Jewish synagogue and cemetery were no longer is use the Jews of Varazdin following World War II. Mention in the book is made to an incomplete list compiled in 1950 of the Varazdin Jews living in April 1941.

Short biographies are found in Table 1 of Varazdin Jews in Tragom Židovske povijesti i kulture u Varaždinu.

Paški Grbovnik (Book of Heraldry of Pag Nobility), by Miroslav Granic, published, Split: Knjizevni Krug 2002.

Written in Croatian this book has an English summary (p.111-115). The volume also illustrates 40 coat-of-arms from Marolauro Rujch’s eighteenth century book Blasone Genealogico are reproduced in Granic’s volume. Marolauro Rujch in 1784 published genealogical data on the noble families of Page including their heraldry symbols.

This volume traces surnames of the nobility on the island of Pag back to the 14th Century. A few of the families from Pag were listed as noble families and their registration kept track of their origins. These families usually had unique heraldry symbols or coat-of-arms. Granic provides a list of the families that were granted noble status on Pag, when they first appeared and a brief history of each family. A 70 page biography listed alphabetically by surname is contained in Granic’s book. For a list of these noble families see Table 2.

The nobility on Pag started out as an elected body in 1339. Later the noble ranks were added to as some surnames became extinct. Granic provides a list of the names added to the nobility from 1453 to 1494. Others were added still later, such as the surname Zorolic in 1534, and Matasovic in 1576. After this last inductee the ranks of the nobility were closed for more than two centuries up until 1787 when the surnames Portada, Rakamaric, and Galzigna were added. One of the last surnames added to the nobility was Chicchio in 1790. By using birth records Granic was able to confirm Rujch’s genealogies which dated back to the fourteenth century.

Povijest stanovništva u Visu (Population history of Vis) by Nevenka Bezic-Božanic, published, Split: Knjizevni Krug, 1988.

The island of Vis lies 45 kilometres off the Dalmatian mainland between the towns of Makarska and Dubrovnik. It has several settlements and the two largest towns are Komiža on the western end of the island and the town of Vis on the eastern side. Povijest stanovnistva u Visu contains 360 pages mainly in Croatian with a four page summary in English.

The earliest vital statistics for Vis are found in the Register of births, marriages, and deaths from 1587. Bezic-Božanic (p.358) writes:

“This first register contains the names of those that were christened until 1628 and it addition to some marriages it cities also the names of immigrants. Though the island of Vis was under those circumstances, rather far away from the mainland, it attracted people from various parts; from the Dubrovnik Republic, Boka Kotorska, the islands of Korcula, Brac, Hvar, Zlarin and other places. A large number of those from Poljica, Krajina (Makarska) and its hinterland and those mentioned as Morlak, Vlah, and Turk should be especially singled out. All of these settlers are recorded by name and place of origin. Their families can be followed through several years as their children were born at Vis. A number of them found refuge on Vis fleeing from the Turks’ invasion, but some came as wage labour [sic] on larger land properties…. It can be seen there that both native and foreign immigrants arrived from various parts. Those were tradesmen from Venice, seamen and fishermen from Puglia, and artisans of different craft needed in everyday life. For example by mid-17th C. Vinko Kuljis a cooper from Crete immigrated and his descendants are living still at Vis.”

In 1647 forty families are listed in documents as having settled on Vis from the Makarska area and migration continued to the island up into the nineteenth century. However, others left the island. During the seventeenth century the wealthier families would send their children to school off the island. Some of these individuals either stayed away for a long period or did not return to Vis at all. But by the nineteenth century population decline began on the island as islanders in large numbers sought work on the mainland especially around Split and in Dalmatinska Zagora.

A considerable number of pages in Povijest stanovnistva u Visu, containing text, graphs and lists are devoted to documenting the names of immigrants and their place or origin. Additional lists, such as a 34 page list of inhabitants of Vis appears in Bezic-Božanic’s book covering the years 1628 to 1797. Also appearing in the book is a 69 page list providing the names of individuals on Vis from 1798 to 1900. Both lists are arranged alphabetically and as there is no separate book index, these lists function as indexes to Vis surnames.

Medimurska prezimena (Medimurje surnames) by Andela Francic, published, Zagreb: Institut za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovije, 2002.

Medimurje is a region in the far northern part of Croatia between the rivers Mura and Drava bordering both Slovenia and Hungary. The first 153 pages of this volume describe the surnames of this region and include a two page English summary. The later part of the book of over four hundred pages, lists the surnames in alphabetic order.

Francic provides the derivation of some Medimurje surnames and describes the variety of affixes and suffixes that are added to these derived roots. The surname Novak probably derives from the name of a new inhabitant to a village. Medimurje surnames reflect the Kajkavian dialect spoken in Medimurje. The most common surnames are Novak, followed by Horvat, Kovacic, Zadravec, and Mesaric. Horvat is the Hungarian term for a Croatian person and it used as a surname both in Croatia and in Hungary. Many Medimurje surnames are derived from Latin, Hungarian, or German origins, and many of these surnames are found in Medimurje during the period when surnames were first adopted prior to the sixteenth century.

Medimurska prezimena is a large compendium listing surnames from the seventeenth century to the present and it is arranged in a dictionary format giving the towns where they were found. Francic includes 1500 surnames all of which dated back at least 150 years and have living descendants in the Medimurje region today. Each surname listing provides the variations on spelling of that surname from the seventeenth century down to the present. For a list of some of the surnames which appear in this volume see Table 3.

Stanovništvo Makarskog Primorja od 15 do 19.stojeca (The population of Makarska coastal region from the 15th to the 19th Century) by Miroslav Ujdorovic, published, Gradac: Poglavarstvo; Split: Knjigotisak, 2002.

In this text Makarskog Primorja covers the coastal region of Dalmatia south of Omiš south to the delta of the Neretva River. A two page English summary is provided with separate summaries in German and Italian.

One of the most useful genealogical tools in this book is a 40 page household census and a 15 page surname index for 1802 covering most of the region of Makarska. The census provides the house number, head of the household and name of the father, followed by the number of males and females per household. The census is followed by a surname index arranged by town.

Other lists and indexes show the families from the Makarska region which moved to the islands of Hvar and Vis in 1673; inhabitants in 1695; inhabitants 1733-1744. These lists contain the heads of households by name with house number and number of males and females per family. Index for locating each household name is included. For a listing of the towns represented in 1673, 1763, 1695, 1733-1744, 1802 censuses see Table 4.

Stanovništvo Vukovara i Vukorvarskoga Kraja (The population of Vukovar and the Vukovar region) by Alica Wertheimer-Baletic, published, Zagreb: Nakladni Zavod Globus, 1993.

This book covers the region around Vukovar in the extreme eastern part of Croatia which borders on the Danube River. For a list of the towns covered see Table 5. The text is in Croatian and its genealogical importance lies in the detail it provides of the population structure and ethnic composition of the region. The book is useful for determining a town’s ethnic majority and the language of the genealogical records for that community. The ethnic mix for the region of Vukovar includes Croatian, Serb, Hungarian, Slovak, German, and Rusyns. Maps show the distribution of ethnic groups in 1948 and in 1991. The genealogical catalogue of eighteenth century Slavonian families by Ive Mažuran entitled Stanovništvo i Vlastelinstva u Slavoniji 1736. godine i njihova ekonomska podloga (Inhabitants and property holdings in Slavonia in 1736 and their economic basis) is a good companion volume to this book for identifying surnames and individuals in the Vukovar region.

Slightly under half of the population in this region of Slavonia is Croatian. The area north of the city of Vukovar and north of the Vuka River is predominately Serb, including the towns of Vera, Ludvinci, Trpinja, Borovo, Pacetin, Lipovaca and Bršadin. The eastern end of the region containing the towns of Ilok, Bapska, Lovas, Šarengrad, Tovarnik have a Croatian majority. The central part of the region is more ethnically mixed with the town of Cakovci is primarily Hungarian and the towns of Petrovci and Mikluševci have a Rusyn majority.

The Rusyns, altnatively known as Ruthenes in English and as Rusini in Croatian originally inhabited the area of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains but later Rusyns migrated to Slavonia during the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some consider the language of the Rusyns separate from other Slavic languages to which it is related, while others consider the language a dialect of Ukrainian or Slovak.

The city of Vukovar and the region sustained one of the heaviest military engagements following the break-up of Yugoslavia. Many residences were displaced during the war and Stanovnistvo Vukovara i Vukovarskoga Kraja deals with this period in a separate chapter covering 1991 and 1992.

Stanovništvo Vukovara i Vukorvarskoga Kraja contains a large number of graphs and tables outlining the population structure of the region. Comparisons are drawn between the city of Vukovar and its hinterland, and the growth of the city is illustrated with using statistical data. Population figures are provided for every decade from 1857 to 1991 for every major town. Ethnic settlements as percentage of the population are presented for 1910 and 1921.

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