Croatian Genealogy
Online Newsletter

Issue No. 2, December 30, 1998

Articles: New Books: Upcoming Books:


Peljesac Rodovi (A Compilation of Families from the Dubrovnik area)

A recent publication (1995/6) called Peljeski rodovi is a compiled history of families and surnames for southern Croatia. This is a tremendous resource for anyone researching families in the Dubrovnik area in extreme southern Croatia. This two volume work describes the families of the Dubrovacko - Neretvanska district, which includes the town of Dubrovnik.

The author, Nenad Vekaric, has researched church parish records, and other sources for over twenty years to compile this work of southern Croatian families. The first volume Peljeski rodovi (A-K) contains three sections. The first chapter examines the special character of Croatian first names. A summary of both male and female first names is provided along with a frequency of their use over the last few hundred years. The second chapter discusses Croatian surnames, both their origin and the use of second names and nicknames.

The third and final chapter is the heart of this publications which lists alphabetically by surname, all families Dr. Vekaric extracted from his research. Families from A to K are list in one volume, while L to Z are founded in a separate volume.

The historic and genealogical wealth found in this work is comprehensive. Each family is described as to its first occurrence, surname changes, and history over the last few hundred years. Much of the information derives from parish records from 1673 to 1900, but another substantial area of information comes from other supplementary documents, some from as early as the 16th century. Extensive footnotes are used in this publication to fully indicate the sources.

This reference work is not only a valuable resource for family histories of southern Croatia, but can provide answers as to when a family is first found in the records; where they may have come from and where multiply lines of a family settled or immigrated.

For example the Franceskovic family is listed in Peljeski rodovi. It comprises of two families around 1600, one in Zupan Selo and another coming from Pijavicina. Present day descendants no longer use the original surname but rather use the surname of Bosic and Vicelic. For the Franceskovic family of Mali Losinj in northern Croatia which originally descended from a family from the Dubrovnik area Peljeski rodovi provides not only a origin for the family but current know families who are ancestral to them.

The families described in Peljeski rodovi extend from the Peljesac peninsula to the north of Dubrovnik, many of the towns around Dubrovnik itself, and the area south of Dubrovnik to the Montenegro border, as well as the island communities of Lastovo, Sipan, Lopud, and Kolocep.

Peljeski rodovi lists the following parishes as sources for its references: Banici, Brgat, Cavtat, Crna gora, Cilipi, Doli, Dubravka, Dubrovnik, Gruda, Janjina, Karmen, Kisevo, Kolocep, Kuna, Lastovo, Lisac, Lopud, Luka sipanjska, Majkovi, Mali Ston, Mandaljena, Mlini, Mokosica, Orasac, Osojnik, Oslje, Plocice, Ponikve, Pridvorje, Rozat, Slano, Smokovljani, Ston, Stonska ravnica, Stravca, Sudurad, Topolo, Trpanj, Trstenik, Trsteno, Viganj, Vitaljina, Vrucica, Zaton, Zuljana.

Peljeski rodovi is published by the Zavod za Povijesne Znanosti Hrvatske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti u Dubrovniku. The author of Peljeski rodovi can be contacted at Vekaric Genealogical Research Service, Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU, Lapadska obala 6, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Mali Losinj Surnames

An examination of the families listed in the parish records for Mali Losinj has revealed how far back family lines extend in the town. The parish records show a continuity of surnames and families dating back, in some cases, over 400 years.

The town of Mali Losinj on the island of Losinj has been inhabited at least since 1389. The island is located in the northern Adriatic due south of the port of Rijeka and to the southeast of the Istrian peninsula covering 75 square km. in size with a length of 31 km.

The first settlers are reported on the island in 1280, and Veli Losinj gets its own start in 1389 when the island obtains autonomy from Osor, which according to legend was settled by several families lead by a man named Obrad Harnovic. The first mention of the town of Losinj appears in documents from 1384.

Few continuous records exist prior to the 1500's, and it is from this time period that the oldest Losinj families can trace their ancestry. In order to study the families of Losinj the parish records from 1670 to 1901 were examined. Many of the oldest families, such as Cosulich (Kozulic), Haljic (Haglich), Martinolich, Nicolich (Mikolic), Taraboca (Tarabochia), Skopinic (Scopinich), Skrivanic (Scrivanich), and Vidulich are found in the parish record from 1670 to 1700, and they also appear in wills of a century earlier.

The parish records reveal a use of second family names along with the surname. These secondary names were used to distinguish between different family lines carrying the same surname. The secondary names denoted a separate family with a common ancestor. The use of secondary names was appears often in the parish records for the 1600 and 1700's, but was used less extensively after about 1800. Nevertheless, these secondary names persisted up to the present time, and their use demonstrates that some family lines in Mali Losinj extend back more than three hundred years.

Not all second names are that old. Some came into existence after 1670, at times, splitting from other second names, so that a son could have a different secondary name than his father. The new secondary name would then be adopted by the family's descendants and passed on in that family.

The surname and secondary names for the families of Mali Losinj are listed below. Each name is described as to how long it was used in the parish records and some of the first individuals shown to have carried that name.

The family of Busanic (second name, Francinic) dates from before the 1700's. The surname Cosulich or Kozulic had several secondary lines. The Cosulich (second name Grubessa) is one of the oldest know families in Losinj dating back to a Martino Cosulich in the late 1500's. But other Cosulich lines are found with the secondary name (Sucich) and (Miculich).

Other families, such as Franciscovich, Giuricich, Haglich, Ostroman or Osterman, Radoslovich, and Stuparich do not appear with second names in the parish records. The Haglich family is found in the records starting in the early 1700's, while the Franciscovich family dates from 1694 when Ivan Franciskovic from Dubrovnik married in Losinj. The Ostroman's of Losinj can trace their ancestry to a Andrij who settled in Mali Losinj around 1700 from Rijeka. Descendants of all these families are still to be found today.

Several families of Morin dating from the late 1600's are found in Losinj. The Morin families had the second names of (Cuban) and (Gresich or Grezik). The families with the surname Nicolich had several second names. These names include (Mikulicich), (Morich), (Muskardin), (Salata), and (Sapet).

One of the most numerous surnames in Losinj is Taraboca or Tarabochia. This surname at some point in time developed several lineages. The second family names for the Tarabochia's were (Matulich), (Pilicar), and (Svirac). The Matulich branch split into two. One which carried the new secondary name of (Rosso or Rosic), and the other which continued to use the name (Matulich).

Another older surname from Losinj is that of Vidulich. In the late 1600's one family carried the secondary name of (Gotic or Gotovic) and in the early 1700's the secondary name (Oparich) came into use. There was also a Vidulich family with the second name of (Sidrich) which can trace its name from Jivan Vidulich, who lived in Losinj from 1717 to 1757.

During the latter half of the 19th century many Losinj families moved to others centers. In 1889 one branch of the Cosulich family began a large shipbuilding and merchant marine operation, the "Fratelli Cosulich Navigazione" in Trieste, Italy. Several families of the Cosuliches reside in Italy today. The largest population decline occurred during and after World War II when many of the families, both Italian and Croatian left Mali Losinj because of the uncertainty of the new Yugoslav communist government, which had annexed the islands from Italy. The population for the island of Losinj decreased from 9,738 in 1910 to 5,449 just after the war.

Indexing of Istrian Names

A ten year index (1988-1998) of Istrian surnames from issues of the periodical Voce Giuliana has been constructed by the author of this online newsletter. The index is taken mainly from the obituaries and provides a good cross-section of surnames found in Istria before the Second World War, many who immigrated afterwards or removed their families to Italy. Voce Giuliana is published twice monthly from Trieste, Italy.

The surnames in Voce Giuliana provide a view of the surnames of many Istrians who were born at the beginning of this century. Many of these surnames are still to be found in Istria and attest to the long standing history of Istrian surnames in the region.

The obituaries in Voce Giuliana contain birthplaces, dates of either birth, death or both, and family members. A photograph of each person in the obituary is included in the publication.

Also found in Voce Giuliana are full article biographies and histories of Istria. Many of these references were also included in the index. There are no plans, as yet, to publish this index.

Of special interest for families whose origins are in Istria are the changes in place names that have taken place since 1945. The examples given are the current name first followed by the previous name in brackets. Some changes are superficial in that the original meaning of the name is maintained, such as in Nova Vas (Villanova del Verteneglio) and Novigrad (Cittanova) where the Slavic term replaces the Italian. Others place names appear to have unrelated name changes such as Plomin (Fianona), Buzet (Pinguente) and Zavrsje (Piemonte). But the bulk of the name changes try to maintain some consistency between present and former names such as Koper (Capodistria), Groznjan (Grisignana), Izola (Isola). Motovun (Montona), Pazin (Pisino), Piran (Pirano), Porec (Parenzo), Pula (Pola), Rovinj (Rovigno), Triban (Tribano), Umag (Umago), Vizinada (Visinada), and Zminj (Gimino).


Croats in Chile / Resumes (Croatas en Chile - biografias) is a biographic lexicon of Croats in Chile. Resumes (Croatas en Chile - biografias) was written by Dane Mataic Pavicic. It describes the most prominent people among 130,000 Croats in Chile. This 223 page book was published with the assistance of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

The book has two parts: the first is more detailed and includes many resumes; while the other describes the history of the Croatian ethnic community in Chile. There are 268 chosen detailed resumes of influential Croats in Chile, as well as useful etymological and onomastical information such as Croatian surnames in the book Alfabeto Croata, while Ljubomir Antic wrote a detailed account of the arrival of Croats to Chile. Academic Petar Simonovic wrote about the names and surnames of Croatian ancestors in Chile. Mataic’s Croatian immigration to Chile from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to the period of the first and second. (Source: Croatian Information Centre, Zagreb, 23, 1998)

Komiza - Land of My Forefathers is the second edition of a book on the town of Komiza, on the island of Vis. It contains useful genealogical information. The book describes Komiza through the ages from prehistoric times to the present. Komiza, had early Greek settlement before the Romans arrived in the eastern Adriatic, and attests to its long history as a settlement.

This edition of over 60 pages includes photographs and maps. The price with postage is $5 (United States) and $8 (Canada). Copies may be ordered from: David Felando, P O Box 8080, Fountain Valley, CA 92683.

Smokvica Anthology about Smokvica, a town on the island of Korcula is a 400 page volume with photographs and maps. The anthology was published by the Parish Office in Smokvica and edited by Don Stanko Lasic and Miljenko Foretic.

Smokvica has preserved its cultural heritage partly due to the Smokvica parish church. This was the village home to a theology doctor 320 years ago and a well known scientist, Jakov Salecic, and had a school with a library since 1891. This anthology mentions many important people and events of interest to families from Smokvica. (Source: Vjesnik, August 24, 1998, p. 10)

Discussions on the Language of Backa’s Croats is one of two books by historian and writer Ante Sekulic released in June. The other book is entitled the Art and Architecture of Backa’s Croats. Both are published by Matrix Croatica. These publications provides insights into the Croatian communities of eastern Slavonia. Participating at the book launch were Dr. Josip Bratulic, Viktorija Gruncic, Dr. Marko Samardzija and Ante Sekulic. (Source: Vecernji list, June 18, 1998, p.30)

Croatian Biographical Lexicon a new publication by the largest Croatian publisher of lexicons and encyclopedias, the Lexicographic Institute ‘Miroslav Krleza’ is a valuable genealogical resource. Vladimir Pezo, the general manager of the Lexicographic Institute, mentions that the fourth volume of the Croatian Biographical Lexicon is expected to be released this autumn (1998) together with the long awaited Croatian Dictionary, which is expected to be launched in association with ‘Skolska Kniga’ from Zagreb. (Source: Vecernji list, April 15, 1998, p. 47)

Vodic- Crkve u Hrvatskoj a "Directory of Churches in Croatia" is a useful guide for genealogical research into Croatian parishes. Published by Narodne Novine of Zagreb in 1996 it contains data on parishes found in the towns and villages of Croatia. An import feature of the guide are founding dates given for most parishes. This will provide at least a starting point for when church records would have been available. Although, I am not aware of a North American distributors for Narodne Novine books, they can be contacted by phone at 385-01-4551-666.

Krbava Battle and its Consequences released by the Croatian Institute for History, discusses the role of the 15th century battle on the history of Croatia. The book was published by the Croatian Homeland Foundation and the Institute for Croatian History at the Zagreb University Faculty of Philosophy. The anthology is a collection of 19 papers composed from the scientific congress held in 1993 in Novi Vinodolski. The topic is the 500th anniversary of the battle under Udbina. The anthology is a historical document arranged in three chapters, which include geopolitical, social and economic data.

Topics include events in the Krbava parish, the Church mechanisms, contemporary records and chronicles of the battle and how the defeat was portrayed through oral literature. (Source: Vecernji list, April 23, 1998, p. 31)


New Books from the U.S. and Australia
A couple of new books are due to be released next year. A history and description of Croatian immigration to Australia, and a book on Croat immigrants to the United States should be due out in the new year.

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