Croatia Personal Names

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Understanding customs used in surnames and given names can help you identify your ancestors in records. Learn to recognize name variations and see clues in names.

Online Tools[edit | edit source]

Surnames[edit | edit source]

  • Croatian names follow complex and unique lettering, structuring, composition, and naming customs that have considerable similarities with most other European name systems, and with those of other Slavic peoples in particular.
  • In the early 7th century, Croats used Slavic names and corresponding naming customs.
  • Although given names vary from region to region in Croatia and can be heavily influenced by other countries' names, surnames tend to be Slavic.

Origins[edit | edit source]

Croatian family names have five different origins:

  • Given names, matronymics and patronymics--Anić, Blažević, Ivanec, Marić, Stipanov ...
  • Professional names--Kovač (blacksmith), Klobučar (hatmaker), Lončar (potter), Tkalčić (weaver), Stolar (carpenter) ...
  • Nicknames--Debeljak, Crnić, Obad ...
  • Toponyms (geographic)--Duvnjak (from Duvno), Kuprešak (from Kupres), Bosanac (Bosnian), Posavec (from Posavina), Zagorec (from Hrvatsko Zagorje), ...
  • Ethnic designation--Hrvat, Horvat, Hrvatin, Horvatinčić ... (Croat), Čerkez (Circassians), Čeh (Czech), Mađar (Hungarians), Vlahović (Vlachs) ...

Surname Changes of Immigrants in the United States[edit | edit source]

As Immigrants moved into English-speaking countries, their surnames were impacted in a variety of ways.


  • Most of the time the surname spelling changed to accommodate the different phonetic spelling in the English language. In other words, the recorder tried to write the name the way he heard it.
  • Surnames may also have been translated outright into English, sometimes with a slight twist.
  • Within the community, such as the local parish, immigrants may continue to use the original name, while at the same time using English-language equivalents when dealing with local government, census takers, and other English speakers.
  • Different branches of the same family may adopt various surname spellings.
  • Prior to 1900, formal surname changes documented in local court records are relatively rare.
  • During the early 20th Century, especially the World War I era, surname changes are recorded more frequently, as immigrants or, more often, their children, tried to adopt more neutral surnames.

Given Names[edit | edit source]

  • Slavic names remained dominant until the Council of Trent (1545–63) when the Catholic church decided that every Christian should have a Christian name instead of native one. This lasted until the 19th century, when Croats again started to use neglected traditional names—especially those of mediæval Croatian kings and dukes.

Traditional Croatian Names[edit | edit source]

Some common Croatian names of Slavic origin include:
Feminine:
Berislava, Blaga, Blagica, Bogdana, Bogomila, Bogumila, Borka, Borislava, Božena, Božica, Božidarka, Branimira, Branka, Buga, Cvita, Cvijeta, Danica, Davorka, Divna, Dragana, Dragica, Dragomirka, Dragomira, Draginja, Dragina, Draga, Draženka, Dubravka, Dunja, Hrvoja, Hrvojka, Jasenka, Jasna, Ljuba, Ljubica, Mila, Milica, Miljenka, Mislava, Mira, Mirjana, Mirka, Misirka, Mirna, Mojmira, Morana, Nada, Neda, Nediljka, Nevenka, Ognjenka, Ranka, Rašeljka, Ratka, Ruža, Ružica, Sanja, Slava, Slavica, Slavenka, Smiljana, Spomenka, Srebrenka, Stanislava, Stana, Stanka, Snješka, Snježana, Sunčana, Sunčica, Tjeha, Tihana, Tihomila, Tuga, Vedrana, Vera, Verica, Vjera, Vesna, Vjekoslava, Vlasta, Vlatka, Zdenka, Zlata, Zora, Zorica, Zorka, Zrinka, Zrina, Zvjezdana, Zvonimira, Zvonka, Željka, Živka[3]
Masculine:
Berislav, Berivoj, Blago, Bogdan, Bogumil, Bogoljub, Bogomil, Bojan, Boris, Borislav, Borna, Božetjeh, Božidar, Božo, Bratislav, Budimir, Branimir, Brajko, Branko, Braslav, Bratoljub, Cvitko, Cvjetko, Časlav, Častimir, Čedomir, Dalibor, Damir, Darko, Davor, Desimir, Dobroslav, Dobrovit, Domagoj, Dragan, Drago, Dragoslav, Dragutin, Dragomir, Dražen, Držiha, Držislav, Godemir, Gojko, Gojislav, Gojslav, Goran, Grubiša, Hrvatin, Hrvoj, Hrvoje, Hrvoslav, Kazimir, Kažimir, Jasenko, Klonimir, Krešimir, Krševan, Lavoslav, Ljubomir, Ljudevit, Milan, Mile, Milivoj, Milovan, Miljenko, Mirko, Miroslav, Miroš, Mislav, Mladen, Mojmir, Mutimir, Nediljko, Nedjeljko, Nenad, Ognjen, Ostoja, Ozren, Predrag, Pribislav, Prvan, Prvoslav, Prvoš, Radimir, Radomir, Radoš, Rajko, Ranko, Ratimir, Ratko, Rato, Radovan, Radoslav, Slaven, Slaviša, Slavoljub, Slavomir, Smiljan, Spomenko, Srebrenko, Srećko, Stanislav, Stanko, Strahimir, Svetoslav, Tihomil, Tihomir, Tješimir, Tomislav, Tomo, Tvrtko, Trpimir, Vatroslav, Većeslav, Vedran, Velimir, Veselko, Vidoslav, Vjekoslav, Vjenceslav, Višeslav, Vitomir, Vjeran, Vladimir, Vlado, Vlatko, Vojmil, Vojnomir, Vuk, Zdenko, Zdeslav, Zdravko, Zorislav, Zoran, Zrinko, Zrinoslav, Zlatko, Zvonimir, Zvonko, Žarko, Želimir, Željko, Živko[3]
Christian Names
Aleksandar, Ana (Anna), Ante or Antun (Anthony), Andrija (Andrew), Danijel, David, Dominik, Edvard, Filip, Franjo (Francis), Fridrik, Grgur (Gregory), Henrik, Ilija (Elijah), Ivan (John), Jakov (Jacob), Josip (Joseph), Juraj (George), Karlo (Charles), Katarina (Catherine), Kristofor, Lav (Leo), Ljudevit (Lewis), Lovro (Lawrence), Luka (Luke), Marko (Mark), Marija (Mary), Matej (Matthew), Mihael, Mihovil, Mihajlo (Michael), Nikola, Nikša, Niko, Mikula (Nicholas), Pavao (Paul), Petar (Peter), Pero (Peter), Rikard, Sebastijan, Silvestar, Šimun (Simon), Stjepan, Stipan, Stipe (Stephen), Toma (Thomas), Vasilije, Vilim (William), Vinko (Vincent).

Naming Patterns[edit | edit source]

In selected regions of Međimurje and Šibenik, the following tradition is followed:

  1. The oldest son is named after the father's father.
  2. The oldest daughter is named after the father's mother.
  3. The second oldest son is named after the mother's father.
  4. The second oldest daughter is named after the mother's mother.
  5. Other offspring of father are either named after favorite aunts or uncles or, sometimes, after the saint of the day they were born.

FamilySearch Library[edit | edit source]

Additional sources are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  • "Croatian name" in Wikipedia is the main source for the information in this article, accessed 3 March 2021.