Bosnia-Herzegovina and genealogical research of Croats

Bosnia-Herzegovina and genealogical research of Croats

One of more important areas for Croatian genealogy research is a region today known as the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Peoples of Croatian nationality have been integral part of that region for centuries. Censuses performed between 1879 and 1910 showed that nuber of Croats in then part of Austro-Hungarian teritory more than doubled during that period, increasing from 209 thousand to more than 430 thousand. Percentagewise, that was an increase from 18 to almost 23 percent in a total Bosnian population.

Three quarters of a million

The nuber of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina continued to raise throughout the century, so the last census in 20th century, the one performed in 1991, revealed that more than three quarters of a milion persons who considered themselves of Croatian nationality lived in then Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That number does not include those persons of Croatian origin who expressed their nationality as “Yugoslavs”.

During the war in Bosnia (1992-1995), ethnic cleansing caused many of the Bosnian regions to become more ethnically compact. However, there are still about two dozen urban centers in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina where Croats constitute a relative or absolute majority. Those centers are: Mostar, Čapljina, Neum, Stolac, Ravno, Grude, Čitluk, Kiseljak, Livno, Ljubuški, Kreševo, Kupres, Dobretići, Odžak, Domaljevac-Šamac, Orašje, Prozor-Rama, Široki Brijeg, Tomislavgrad, Posušje, Vitez, Usora, Žepče, Busovača and Novi Travnik.

The majority of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina live in Western parts of the country (Western Herzegovina, Western Bosnia), as well as Central Bosnia and Posavina on the north.

Records an important part of history and identity

Birth, marriage and death records kept by the local parishes of the Catholic church have always been an important part of the claims of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina about their identity and history. Thus Croats from that area are typically more “genealogy conscious” than Croats from the mainland Croatia.

There are quite a few interesting resources available in a form of books as well as accessible online that can be of a great help to researchers interested in Croatian genealogy originated in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In weeks to come, we will present some of those resources to visitors of our web site.

Image: Alistair Young, Wikimedia Commons