Croatian Genealogy Newsletter
Issue No. 14, January 2007
This issue introduces two new Croatian societies dedicated to genealogy as well as the FEEFHS society in the United States.
Also featured are new genealogical sources for the region adjacent to Croatia, such as Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the
regions east of Croatia. Another article is provided on Croatian genetics. Click on a heading to view:
Two new Croatian associations have been incorporated in the last year dealing with genealogical matters. The Croatian Genealogical Society (Hrvatskog rodoslovnog društva "Pavao Ritter Vitezović") or HRD, was founded in June 2005. The president of HRD is Petar Strčić. The Croatian Genealogy Society is named after Pavao Vitezović in June 2005. The Society seems to be an active group, consisting of both academic and hobby researchers. A variety of publications of the Society's members was featured at the main Zagreb Public Library last year. During their annual meeting in March 2007 their president announced their coming journal Rodoslovlje (Genealogy).
The study of Croatian coats of arms started in Croatia in the seventeenth century, particularly with the works by Pavao Ritter Vitezović. Pavao Ritter Vitezović (January 7, 1652 – January 20, 1713) was a well-know Croatian writer, historian, linguist and publisher. He was born in Senj to a father of German immigrants from Alsace, and a Croatian mother. In 1677 he wrote a treatise on the clan Gusici, published in 1681. In 1694, he started a printing house in Zagreb printing calendars, leaflets, and books. He named his printing office the "Museum" printing books in both Latin and in Croatian. The Croatian Genealogical Society is located at Cjijete Zurović 53, Zagreb.
The Croatian Heraldic and Vexillologic Association (CHVA) had its initial start in May 2006 with a meeting at the Croatian History Museum, where thirty members helped found the CHVA. The president is Željko Heimer, and vice-president Nenad Labus. The secretary is Dubravka Peic Caldarović, and two presidency members are Jelena Borošak-Marijanović and Matea Brstilo.
Konjic i njegova okolina: Starosjedilački Rodovi (Konijc and its region: Native clans) by Jusuf Mulić, was published in Sarajevo, 2005.
Usually when promoters of Croatian ethnicity in Europe, outside of Croatia, they tend to focus on the more exotic Croatian communities in Molise, Italy, or the Moravian Croats in the Czech Republic. But there are two large regions close to Croatia proper that have Croatian ethnic communities that are thriving. On the southern border of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina is one area of a large Croatian population, and another region to the west of Croatia includes the Banat region of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Romania.
This review covers a new volume, Konjic i njegova okolina, recently published by the author, Dr. Jusuf Mulić, who works at the National Archives of Bosnia and Hercegovina in Sarajevo. As a historian, Dr. Mulić has written several volumes on Konjic in central Bosnia. Mulić covers the origins and location of major surnames in the Konjic region. His review of central Bosnian surnames covers all the major cultural groups: Muslim surnames (pages 63-178), Catholic surnames (p. 179-294), Orthodox (Serbian) (p. 295-349), as well as, the few Gypsy surnames that are found in the region. Several surnames have a derivation in two or more of these cultural/religious groups and Mulić indicates these multi-group surnames.
There are a number of previously published books on Bosnia and Hercegovina surnames, and now Konjic i njegova okolina joins this group to add more details on the complex communities of this country. A list of these books is displayed below, along with a listing of other books for the countries to the east of Croatia (Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania).
Over the years the Federation of East European Family History Societies (FEEFHS), which was founded in 1992 has published a few articles on Croatian genealogy records. In 1998 Thomas Edlund wrote about the new microfilmed records in the FEEFHS Quarterly, Volume 6, Number 1-4, page 74-75. The list of microfilmed records also appears in issue Number 1 of this newsletter. The following year, Edlund and Kahlile Mehr published an article entitled "A Beginner's Guide to Croatian Research" (FEEFHS Quarterly, Volume 7, Number 1-2, page 7-37), which included a fine summary of the various types of genealogical documents. The article also contains two lists of Croatian parishes, one is a list of parish vital records (births, marriages, deaths) that have been microfilmed and the second is a comprehensive listing of Croatian Catholic parishes with dates of when they were founded and their dioceses names.
More recently (FEEFHS Journal, Volume 12, pages 30-37), Gordon McDaniel reviews Glagolitic church records in "The Glagolitic Alphabet and its Use in Croatian Church Records". Several examples of birth and marriage records are illustrated in the ancient Glagolitic script of western Croatia, and a number of Croatian parishes with Glagolitic records are listed in the McDaniel piece.
Inheritance for genealogical purposes can come from either the maternal or the paternal lineage. In previous issues (No. 9 Jan 2004 & No. 12 July 2005) the maternal lineages in Croatia were examined through the study of mitochondrial DNA. In this issue paternal inheritance is examined through the use of variations within the Y-chromosome. Unlike mitochondrial DNA which is passed down the generations on the maternal side, the Y-chromosome is inherited via the father’s lineage. Since it contains only the paternal side it mirrors the same inheritance pattern as that passed on in the family surname.
Y-chromosomes can be tested by examining the genetic structure of several designated genetic markers. Several DNA testing companies have sprung up in the last 10 years, which for a fee will take a cheek swab and analyze the Y-chromosome markers. Such testing is useful in comparing families with the same or similar surname where no genealogical link has been established. These tests can determine if the two separate lineages are linked by a recent common ancestor. As an example, two Croatian families which shared the same surname were found to contain the same Y-chromosome markers, indicating that they shared a common ancestor. Unfortunately, DNA testing is not precise enough to tell you what generation shared that common ancestor.
A number of recent journal publications have contributed Croatian genetic data that is of special relevance to genealogists. Luca Lovrečić and others have published the Y-chromosome patterns of over one hundred people from Promorsko-Goranska County in western Croatia. At the same time, Lovroka Barać Lauc and her group have published some of the same Y-chromosome patterns for a Serbian population from Belgrade for comparison. Probably, one of the most comprehensive publications came from Krzsztof Rebala and his colleges from Gdansk, Poland. The Polish group compared some of these same Y-chromosome markers from several Slavic populations including Croatians and Bulgarians and other South Slav groups. Their findings indicate that two major groups exist among Slavic people. Rebala found one group consists of Poles, Slovaks, Ukrainians, and western Croats, while a second group consists of all other Southern Slavic populations including Macedonians, Serbs, Bosnians, and northern Croats. The suggestion is that this second group of Southern Slavs was due to admixture with the local population that lived in the Balkans prior to the Slavic migrations in the Middle Ages. Rebala's claim that northern Croats are "genetically distinct from their northern linguistic relatives", and from Western Croats tells only part of the truth. Using Y-chromosome markers, Western Croats do cluster closer to northern Slavs than to southern Slav, but Rebala's data also show that they are somewhat in between the two groups, with northern Croats also between the two.
On the other hand, there may be some basis for Western Croats being somewhat distinct from the other Croats. The Chakavian dialect covers western Croatia and may be an indication of the early settlement by Slavic immigrants. Curious enough, the mitochondrial data from Table 2 from Issue no. 12 (July 2005), shows Croatians have seven out of nine mitochondrial types that are similar to the proportions from Poles and Russians, while differing from Bulgarians. Although in this case the Croatian group studied is not distinguished, this data backs but the Y-chromosome data, by indicating that there may be a genetic separation, even if it is small, between northern Slavs and southern Slavs, with the Croats grouping closer to the former.
In "High-resolution phylogenetic analysis of Southeastern Europe (SEE) traces major episodes of paternal gene flow among Slavic populations", Perić et al. examine the paternal DNA patterns in Croatian populations which are centered in eastern Europe. The I1b pattern is found in frequencies of about 30 percent in southeastern Europe, but with higher concentrations in Bosnia and Hercegovina where it reaches as high as 64 percent of the male population. Another type, E3b1 occurs in 23 percent of the male population and is centered in southern Europe with decreasing percentages towards western Europe. The R1a type represents a very early expansion from eastern to western Europe. These Y-Chromsome frequencies, the paper sugests, that the Slavic expansion into southern Europe was a result of a high level of admixture with the previous inhabitants of Eastern Europe.
2. Lauc LB, Pericić M, Klarić IM, Sijacki A, Papović D, Janicijević B, Rudan P. (2005) Forensic Science International 150: 97-101. Y chromosome STR polymorphisms in a Serbian population sample.
3. Rebala K, Mikulich AI, Tsybovsky IS, Sivakova D, Dzupinkova Z, Szczerkowska-Dorbosz A, Szczerkowska Z. (2007) Journal of Human Genetics (Online) Y-STR variation among Slavs evidence for the Slavic homeland in the middle Dnieper basin.
4. Perić M, Lauc LB, Klarić IM, Rootsi S, Janicijević B, Rudan I, Terzić R, Colak I, Kvesić A, Popović D, Šijački A, Behluli I, Đorđević D, Efremovska L, Bajec D, Stefanović BD, Villems R, Rudan P. "High-Resolution Analysis of Southeastern Europe (SEE) Traces Major Episodes of Paternal Gene Flow Among Slavic Populations", In: MBE Advance Access, published June 8, 2005.