If you are concentrating your genealogical search in Croatia and you need to pinpoint a location, then you can start with the new telephone listings which have recently been established. The Croatian telecommunications company HPT has added a central Internet site for Croatian telephone listings.
At this point be as precise as possible and narrow down the location by country, county, town, and village or city district. Use atlases to pinpoint target locations. Gazetteers are useful not only in locating places, but older gazetteers are helpful in locating places whose names have changed over the course of time, or having a nomenclature in several languages. Skolska Knijiga of Zagreb has put out a modern atlas of Croatia in 1993 in both Croatian and English versions. The Croatian title is Zemljopisni Atlas Republike Hrvatske. For the period between the two world wars you will need both atlases or maps showing the old Yugoslavia and parts of eastern Italy, and for the period before World War One you will need atlases or maps of covering south-western Austrian-Hungary. When examining locations for any of these periods, consult a gazetteer for that region. Allgemeines geographisch-statistisches Lexikon aller ostereichischen Staaten has coverage of the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary, mainly Istria, Dalmatia, and parts of Slavonia. For internal parts of Croatia before 1919, the Hungarian gazetteer Magyar neve: Hatarokon Tuli helysegnev-szotar might be useful.
If you are searching for genealogical information for a particular location within Croatia, vital records (births, marriages, and deaths) need to be located. Much of the current records going back to 1945 are in local civil administrative offices, and parish records from this time period should be found in local parishes. Prior to 1945 there were no civil registrations, so records need to be sought from archives and churches. Luckily, many 19th century and earlier church records have been moved to Regional Archives. Parts of the earlier records have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
For records kept by a parish church or a local archive, you can write a letter expressing your interest in a particular individual. Include the dates such as birth, marriage or death along with the name of the person. A sample letter in Croatian can be used as a guide. Most parish priests will reply and though no monetary funds are asked, it is good practice to include a small contribution for the effort of searching old records, typing a reply and postage. Croatian archives are the other main source for church records prior to this century. Croatian archivists will normally charge you for their work, and rates can vary, but be prepared to pay a little more than for professional research carried out in North America. The Croatian National Archive (Hrvatski Drzavni Arhiv) located in Zagreb is main depository of old church records for many parts of the country.
Organized genealogical research essentially involves the location of records which verify family connections. Most Croatian material will of course be located in Croatia. The type of records available are described in Tom Edlund's presentation of Croatian Records at Family History Library.
Some Croatian records generally from about the 1700s through to about 1850 have been microfilmed by the Latter-Day Saints Church and are available on microfilm through the Church's Family History Centers. Microfilming of Records for Croatia also by Mr. Edlund, gives an overview of the records available. There are numerous Family History Centers around the world, in particularly in North America. Usually, it is a good idea to check if there are any Centers in your community, since the Centers offer a convenient place to order microfilm and to used other genealogical resources. For Croatian records from about 1850 to the present, you will find there are few microfilmed sources available. For this information you will have to write to the original source of the records.
Some reference which provide an overview of resources for those engaged in Croatian genealogy can be found at the Foundation for East European Family History Studies. Additional readings are available through Adam S. Eterovich'sA Guide to Croatian Genealogy. Though this 1997 publication contains some references are out-of-date it remains a good summary on Croatian genealogy. Another reading source is Thomas K. Edlund's Croatian Research at the Family History Library, especially for its exhaustive list of different types of documents used in a genealogical search.
Croatian Parish Records
For researchers in North America, Croatian parish Birth/Marriage/Death microfilms are available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). For a partial list of Croatian parish records that have been microfilmed see http://grantkarcich.ca/CroGenNews/newsltr1.html#microfilm.
For researchers who can hire a professional genealogist or are able to travel to Croatian, parish Birth/Marriage/Death records can be found at the national Croatian State Archives are located in Zagreb. Microfilms and originals are available at this central archives. More details are available at: http://zagreb.arhiv.hr/en/hr/hda/fs-ovi/o-hda.htm. Several regional state archives contain more municipal and early genealogical records. Consulting regional archives for a specific community is recommended. Regional archives are found in the towns of Bjelovar, Dubrovnik, Gospic, Karlovac, Osijek, Pazin, Rijeka, Slavonski Brod, Split, Varaždin, Zadar, Zagreb. Regional centres can be contacted by telephone or e-mail.
A variety of census data is available for Croatia. The modern period covering the last 50 years is covered by two prime printed census listings. These are the: