The history of the people of Croatia is complex and that follows through to the naming structure. There is also some commonality with surnames in other countries, and in particular with the countries that once made up the former Yugoslavia.
Because of these complexities, I have made a note to explore Croatian surnames more fully in the future, and provide a much shorter than it deserves post.
To advance researching in Croatia it is important to grasp a few underpinning factors:
- How names are pronounced
- How names are composed
- Meaning of names
- Factors that relate to regional surnames
Importantly there surnames that are region specific which is very important clue if you have no idea of the town the family came from. A common surname is that of Horvat which is concentrated in the region of a small territory, one that belonged at one time to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
Many Croats in Mountain Kotory have the largest number of surnames with endings such as ets, ats and sh. In Slavonia the form ich and ac are prevailing.
In particular this area has changed it’s borders, ruling governance and much else, that in turn impacts the names and how far those names might have migrated even within Europe, with overlap between the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
Whilst our research works from ourselves back to our ancestors, surnames change as do locations,and in this instance I recommend understanding the region your ancestors came from, because that contextual information will enable you to move forward.