Croatian Symbol/Hrvatski Greb: courtesy of
Tomislav Mikulic

Croatian Genealogy Newsletter No. 11, January 2005

Searching for your Croatian Roots : a Handbook

The fifth edition of Robert Jerin's Searching for your Croatian Roots: a handbook is the latest version of general handbook for use by English speakers researching Croatian genealogies. It includes a CD disk with a Croatian font for computers with the Windows operating systems, along with a list of Web sites of relevent Croatian genealogical information.

New to this edition are a list of microfilm records of Croatian places with vital records, and the CD disk which contains Croatian fonts, postal codes, and pictures. The microfilm list contains over 1,200 parish and other records microfilmed at the Family History Center Library up to time of publication. Although no indication is given as to type of microfilm record, most will be parish records and therefore essential to Croatian genealogical research. The postal codes list is arranged alphabetically on an Excel spreadsheet and contains 6,000 postal codes for Croatian towns and village. The list is searchable by using the Find option in the Excel pull down tab. Along with the Excel file a PowerPoint software file contains 194 photographs, illustrations, and post cards of Croatian towns, ethnic costumes, and historical images.

However, one of the most useful files on the CD disk is a set of seven fonts (2 Garamond, 4 Helvetica, and 1 Times font) which will download onto a Windows XP operation system and allow the use of nine special characters used in the Croatian script to write Slavic language sounds that are not found in Latin or Germanic languages. The fonts come with a sheet with brief instructions on how to install the fonts. Once on your computer, the fonts can be used in Microsoft's Word program, and together with some of the sample form letters in the Handbook, are a unique tool for managing Croatian genealogy correspondence.

The handbook begins with a brief history of Croatia from ancient times to the modern period along with an assortment of historical maps. A "Getting Started" section in the Handbook provides helpful tips on how to begin a genealogical search and how to contact the typical genealogical sources for the United States and Canada, such as the Family History Centers of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, the U.S. Census data, and contact information for the Croatian Fraternal Union and the Croatian Catholic Union for Croatian-American families. Vital records in the U.S. are described by listing over a dozen such addresses for state records where Croatians are known to have settled in large numbers.

Unique Croatian documents are illustrated and outlined in translation format. These documents include civil birth certificates, parish baptismal records, and marriage certificates. Sample U.S. naturalization and citizenship documents are illustrated, along with census record page and an explanation of the Soundex systems used for U.S. census records. Similarly, U.S. typical ship manifest records, along with a description of the columns are shown. Another useful feature of the Handbook are the translations of common Croatian document terms, and the translation of a variety of Croatian male and female given names.

Peppered throughout the Handbook and a separate seven page listing at the end, contains a large assortment of Web or Internet links related to Croatian, American, and personal family genealogy sites.

There were other alphabets used in Croatia and the Handbook provides sample Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. Although, the Cyrillic alphabet is used in Greek Orthodox parishes, the Glagolitic alphabet was used in some Croatian parishes during the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries in place of the now standard Roman script, no mention of this is found in the Handbook, except for mention of an archaic Croatian Glagolitic script used in Dalmatia. Unfortunately, the Glagolitic script shown in the Handbook is not the typical handwritten form used in parish records.

Suggestions for any new edition forth coming editions of the Handbook would include a list of Croatian parish records on microfilm from FHC with the dates of the records, type of record, and language script. Building on the use of the Excel postal code list, a microfilm list would work well in a searchable Excel spread sheet.

The Handbook is available from the author at the following mailing address:

Robert Jerin
17317 Lomond Blvd.
Shaker Hts., Ohio 44120

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