Ancestral Travel

Ancestral Travel .

Ancestral Travel

Visit the land of your ancestors

Visit the towns and villages where your ancestors lived, the churches in which they prayed, the countryside they would have walked and the pictures of their lives and the reasons for leaving their homeland will become brighter.

A visit that goes beyond the obvious tourist destinations

We can fully customise an ancestral tour based on your family’s history. Following or retracing the footsteps of your ancestors is very much a personal journey so no two journeys can be the same!

Emigration HistoryFamily historyCroatian Names
Emigration History
Large scale immigration from Europe started with the Irish in early 19th century, when the oversized and impoverished population of Ireland suffered from starvation. The face of immigration changed in late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the arrival of immigrants of other origins, whose existence at home had been either threatened or who had been poor.

After Great Britain (11.4 million), Italy (9.9 million) and Ireland (7.3 million), Austria-Hungary represented the fourth largest source of emigration with 5.5 million.

In the 1860s and the 1870s, emigrants from the Habsburg Monarchy numbered only several thousand per year, with Dalmatia in the lead. Only during the economic recession in the 1880s did overseas emigration from the Austrian part of the Empire sharply rise to 20,000 persons per annum and it never fell below that level again. In 1892, the number of emigrants reached 50,000 and in 1904 as many as 100,000.

Croats emigrating
Croatians have migrated for over 500 years. Prior to the discovery of America, Croatians migrated to (and were taken into slavery) Turkey, Austria, Italy, Venice, Spain and to other parts of Western Europe. Croatian Galleons were in regular trade with Spain, Portugal, France, England, Italy and the Ottoman Turks. Croatian immigration to the New World started with their participation in Spanish, Portuguese, and Venetian fleet and mercantile operations.

From 15 th cent.aa rich merchants from the republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) had there commercial representatives established in the main ports of Europe but also a whole community settled in Goa(India) to facilitate trade with India. Even today the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St Blaise, is still worshipped in Goa.

Where did they emigrate to
With the discovery of gold in California, in 1848,some Croats also joined in the gold rush, making their way to the goldfields of California. With the collapse of the mines, some of them purchased farmland and were pioneers in wineries, vineyards, and orchards, but most became part of the great labor force needed in the industry of the newly developing towns of the US

Most emigrants from Croatia left for America, particulary after the 1880s when the immigration laws were favorable and work was plentifull. They also left for Canada, South America, South Africa, Australia & New Zealand.

Sometimes it was the fact that the first villagers left for one place and then sent for their brothers, sisters, cousins and fellow villagers to come and join them. Even today we can find towns in overseas countries where the decendents of the first immigrants are more numerous than the original village in the homeland they came from. An example is the village of Podgora, in Dalmatia, from where a lot of young men emigrated to New Zealand and worked as gum diggers, many of their descendents have settled in Hamilton

When Croatians migrated they left as nationals or citizens of Austria, Venice, Hungary or Turkey. Ethnically they were always Croatians, but in immigration Croatians were identified by America, Canada, South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia as above or in recent times as Yugoslavs and were recorded as such, regardless of their ethnic background.

Why did they leave their homes
In the second half of the 19th century industrial deveplopment in most of eastern and southern Europe was at its beginings, the majoraty of the population lived in the villages and were depending on agriculture for their survival. Families were large with four and more children and there were times when feeding the many mouths was not easy and some families sent a son to America, Australia, New Zealand … The son was expected to send back money to help out at home. Some of them would return home after a few years but others stayed in their new homelands.

In Dalmatia the situation became even worse at the beginning of the 20th cent., when the phyloxera (wine rust) devastated the vinyards thus causing an exodus of young men to search for work in overseas countries.

How did they arrive to their destinations
Leaving home was sometimes done through the ports of Rijeka and Trieste. But the more favoured routes were through Hamburg, Breman, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton or even Liverpool as tickets were cheaper. The emigrants of the second wave use a well-developed railway network, connecting even the most distant central European villages with the large ports.

This large intercontinental business soon attracted a large number of middlemen offering different services, including train and steamship tickets, and management of an emigrant’s entire trip from his native village to the final destination. Many agents also provided exchange and banking services, such as money exchange, rather reliable saving and transfer of money to the families in the homeland.

Emigration agents, bankers, shippers’ representatives and thousands of “sales agents” traveled even to the most remote villages, to look for customers willing to try their luck abroad.

The Shipping companies
Large transcontinental shippers: Norddeutscher Lloyd (Bremerhaven), Hamburg – Amerika Linie (Hamburg), Cunard Line (Liverpool), White Star Line (Liverpool), Holland – America Line (Rotterdam), Red Star Line (Anwterp), Compagnie Transatlantique General (Le Havre), Great Western Steamship Company, founded in Bristol in 1836, Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, ( founded in London in 1839).

Cunard’s newly built Britannia set out from Liverpool to Boston via Halifax, thus starting the first regular transoceanic steamship service.

In early 20th century one of the biggest shippers in the world, Hamburg – America line(HAPAG), introduced in 1872 a weekly service for New York. Soon HAPAG’s ships started calling in at Baltimore, Central America, Mexico, South America, China, Japan and Australia. The year 1873 saw the introduction of a summer service Hamburg-Antwerp-Montreal, and a winter service Hamburg-Antwerp-Boston. In order to counter the competition in the Mediterranean, Hamburg-Amerika Linie and Norddeutscher Lloyd introduced a service connecting the ports of Naples and Genoa with New York (1897-1905).

In 1914 it had 175 large ships, sailed to the five continents and employed 20,000 persons! In a competition with major shippers, which boasted large and luxurious vessels, in a single year (1912) HAPAG built the Titanic and the Imperator, which was advertised as the world’s largest ship. That behemoth carried 700 passengers in the 1st class, 600 in the 2nd, 940 in the 3rd and 1,750 in the 4th. Namely, after having improved conditions in the 3rd class, the company cleverly introduced a new categorization of passengers.

Which ports did they sail from
The first ports of emigration, Liverpool & Bremerhavenwere, were soon joined by Hamburg and then by many others, including the biggest – Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Southampton, Genoa and Naples. Trieste and Rijeka introduced services for New York only around 1900, at the end of the large emigration wave but could not compete with the Atlantic ports in price and comfort.

Already after 1850 the competition between the ports and the shippers became fierce. As a result of that, prices were slashed and quality of service improved. Yet, the Mediterranean ports remained significantly more expensive, and the voyage to New York took two weeks, compared to one week from the Atlantic ports.
In a highly competitive market, a travel agency’s and shipper’s good management and marketing skills played an even bigger role in channeling of emigrants than the ticket price and the duration of passage.

Although Hamburg and Bremen were much cheaper than Rijeka(an northern Adriatic port at that time governed by Hungary), some emigrants found it worthwhile to travel across the English Channel to Liverpool to save nine dollars (25 compared to 34).

Many young men opted for foreign ports by default, in an attempt to avoid military service, which lasted several years. Hence, other than Hamburg and Bremen, ports of choice were also Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Southampton, Liverpool and Genoa.

Living conditions on ships
Average capacity of the large ships that were built subsequently was more than 2,000 passengers, at least three quarters in the 3rd class. According to one estimate, high cost of travel in the small 1st class was largely subsidized by the large number of passengers in the cargo hold, i.e. the 3rd class, which generated profits for the shippers. Small ports, such as Rijeka and Trieste, boarded very few 1st class passengers. Hence, the ships built at the turn of the century had a larger and more comfortable 3rd class, with four-bed and even two-bed berths in place of the former communal dormitories. Yet, the conditions in such 3rd class were humble and some shippers even introduced the 4th class. Some ships still contained communal dormitories, with dozens or even hundreds closely packed bunk beds. Dining halls were poorly equipped, with longdining tables and uncomfortable benches.

A large number of recorded passenger complaints and photos prove false enticing descriptions of the standards aboard the new ships in the commercial brochures of the shipping companies.


Seaching your Croatian roots

Although we are only a travel agency and do not do genealogical research we could help you in gettingsome information
on your family history.

Send us the details you already have : Names, place of birth, time of emigration and we can see what info
we can dig out for you in the villages your ancestors came from.

In any case a visit to the place it all started will not only enhance your experience and thoughts on your family roots but also change the way you percieve you ancestors.

Croatian Names
Surnames, with their primary function of identification, have a great significance in the family tree. They indicate the time and place of a family or lineage, and the development, expansion, branching and spreading of the family.

Surnames can be considered as migrant monuments that indicate the migration, a new place of settlement in the country or abroad, and so indicate on kinship and the bearers of the surname.

Origin of surnames
Originally people did not have surnames – they had only first names which was enough to determine and identify the individual person during the lower forms of social development.It was the same in Croatia.

It became necessary, in order to identify a specific person,to add to the first name more information, such as – profession (Kovač- blacksmith Marko), relationship (Marko son of Peter ), origin (Mark from the city of), appearance (large Marko) etc.

First surnames were introduced in the feudal system. Patrician families surnames were needed to ensure the succession rights, inherit reputation, position and property and preserve for posterity acquired privileges. Feudal authority also strart using surnames for their serfs in order to more easily note their hereditary households obligations.

The Council of Trent
An important decision to establish a surname system was brought on the Council of Trent (1545.-63.) in Rome, which is binding on all clergymen to keep parish registars, thus recording exact names and surnames, dates of birth, date of marrige etc.

The Catholic church needed these records for the prevention of inter-family marriages, tax collecting etc.

Through administrative measures by secular and ecclesiastical authorities surnames have developed from a variety of additional names and nicknames into permanent, fixed ancestral names passed on by the male members of the family (through marriage women take their husbands last name).

We can freely say Croatian surnames occur relatively early and are amongst the oldest in Europe. It should be mentioned that some of the surname systems in the sourounding countries of Croatia are significantly different.

Thus, for example, the Orthodox church did not use the same surname system until the beginning of 20th cent. There was a so-called patronymic system, in which the individual is qualified and determined by his fathers personal name (eg Peter son Marko is Marko Petrovic), such a “name” is not hereditary, and changes from generation to generation, depending on the father’s name (this does not apply to the Orthodox in the area of the Habsburg Monarchy, where the surname system was regulated).

The Ottoman Empire was also unfamiliar with the surname system. For example, in Turkey surnames were introduced, according to the European model, only in the framework of reforms during the twenties of the 20th century.

Writing Croatian Surnames
Through the history of Croatia surnames will be written in different ways and in different forms as Croatia has been governed by different rulers and the officers of these authorities used various versions of the Latin, German, Hungarian and Italian ortography.

We’ll mention for example the different ways of writing the surname Blašković: Blaschkowitsch, Blashcouich, Blaskouicz, Blaskovich, Blaskovits, Blaskowits, Blaskowych etc.

With the introduction of standard Croatian literary language in mid-19th century there was a tendency of correcting these foreign forms of writing surnames. These old forms of writing Croatian surnames still exists today, mainly in some countries of the former Habsburg Empire (Austria, Hungary, etc.).

In modern times foreign forms of writing Croatian surnames are found mostly in America, Australia, Canada and New Zeleand where Croatian surnames are adjusted to English .The typical change is in the continuation-ić- in – ich, ( Malković becomes Malkovich , Kovač becomes Kovach or Kovac) or “š” in sh ( Šimunović becomes Shimunovich).

Some dalmatian names
Agić Agich
Akčić Akcich
Alumenić Alumenich
Anić Anich
Antičević Antichevich
Anušić Anusich
Babić Babich
Ban Banović Banovich
Bartulović Bartulovich
Batoš Batošić Batosich Batoshich
Beroš Beros Berosh
Beroš Berosh
Bezmalinović Bezmalinovich
Bilonić Bilonich
Bodlović Bodulović Bodulovich Bodlovich
Bogunović Mrkušić Bogunovich Mrkushich Mrkusich
Borić Borich
Budalović Budalovich
Carnečević Carnećević Carević
Čakić Chakich
Čuić Chuich
Dean Deanović Deanovich
Devčić Devcich
Divić Divich
Domančić Domancich
Filipović Filipovich
Gareljić Gareljich Garelich Garelic
Gašpar Gašparović Gaspar Gasparovich
Glunčević Gluncevich Glunchevich
Gobić Gobich
Goičić Goicich Goichich
Granić Granich
Herceg Erceg
Hrstić Arstić Harstich Hrstich Arstich
Jakić Jakich

Jozipović Josipovich Jozipovich
Jugović Jugovich
Juretić Juretich
Jurić Jurich
Jurišić Jurishich
Kalačić Kalaćić Kalacich Kalachich
Karagić Karagich
Katušić Katusich Katushich
Klarić Klarich
Klarić Klarich
Knezović Knezovich
Kokić Kokičević Kokich Kokicevich Kokichevich
Kostadinović Kostadinovich
Krečić Krecich
Kristić Kristich
Kržanić Krzanich
Kunac Kunčević Kuncevich Kunchevich
Kupić Kupich
Kurte Kurtić Kurtich
Lampić Lampich
Letica Letičić Letišić Leticić Leatich Letisich
Linčir Linćir Linchir
Lučić Lucich
Luić Luich
Lunjević Lunevich
Marinović Marinovich
Markovinović Markovinovich
Maršić Marsich Marshich
Maslardić Maslardich
Matić Matich
Matijašević Matiašević Matiasevich
Medić Medich
Miličić Milicich
Mišić Misich
Mrkušić Mrkusich
Mrnjavac Marnavac
Mrsić Marsich
Pahalović Pahalovich
Papić Papich
Pavličević Pavlicevich
Pavlinović Pavlinovich
Pavlović Pavlovich
Pavlović Pavlovich
Perić Perich

Pilića Pilicha Pilić Pilich
Pilipović Filipović Pilipovich Filipovich
Pivac Pivčević Piucevich Pivcevich
Pivčević Pivac Pivcevich
Pualović Pualovich
Puarić Puharić Puharich
Radić Radich
Radojković Radojkovich
Radonić Radonjić Radonich Radonjich
Ribarović Ribarević Ribarovich Ribarevich
Ribičić Ribichich Ribicich
Rosandić Rosandich
Roščić Roschich Roscich
Runović Runovich
Sanković Sancovich Sankovich Sanko
Sipedeković Sipedekovich
Sisarić Sisarich
Skako Scocisevich
Srzentić Srzentich
Staničić Stanicich Stanichich
Stojković Stojkovich Stoikovich
Sumić Sumich
Škanjur Škanjurević Scagniarevich Skanjur Skanjurevich
Škaričić Skaricich
Škrabić Skrabich
Šoše Šošić
Šošić Sosich
Španić Španjić Spanich Spanjich
Šunde Šundić Sunde Sundich
Šušković Suskovich
Tabaković Tabacovich
Taraš Tarašević Tarasevich Taras
Tomaš Tomash
Topić Topich
Ursić Ursich
Vela Velić Veličević Vela Velich Velicevich Velichevich
Velić Velich
Vilović Vilovich
Visković Viskovich
Vodanović Bodanovich
Vranješević Vranesevich Vranjesevich
Vrsalko Vrsaljko
Vučak Vucak Vuchak
Zelić Zelich
Žamić Zamich
Žarničević Zarnichevic

Visit your ancestors villages but also learn more about Croatian history and cultural heritage, listen to the language your ancestors spoke, and even learn the basic phrases, hear the songs they used to sing, feel the climate they lived in , learn about the customs they left behind, try the food they used to eat… fully experience your homeland and you will come to understand it and be proud of your roots!

T.S. Eliot wrote: “The point of any journey is to find out where you came from.”