Lidija Sambunjak, professional genealogist

What a joy it is to connect lost relatives!

Six months ago, a family from Illinois contacted me. Their grandfather emigrated to the US in the early 1900’s and left a daughter behind in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Two families, one from the US and the other from Bosnia were in contact up until mid 1950-ties, and then all the contact was lost. The family from Illinois didn’t know what happened to the lady, so they hired me to investigate and find if she and her family were still alive.

From Bosnia to Daruvar

I started with the records office in a small Bosnian town of Sanski Most. The recorder was extreemly helpful, so I found out that their relative left for Daruvar during the Second World War and married in a certain Jurišić family.

So I picked up the Croatian telephone book and started to call families in Daruvar with that surname. I was lucky enough with my first call to get hold of a person who knew everything about it. “Oh, yes! I know the family! One of the daughters of the lady from Bosnia is my mother-in-law!”

It is very rewarding and often quite emotional for a researcher to connect living relatives that haven’t been in touch for a long time.

I visited them couple of days ago. I presented Mrs Jurišić and her family her grandfather’s history in the US and their complete genealogy tree. Family gathered and watched a movie that was made in the 50′ and it was a wonderfull and emotional moment. We all wept in tears. It was one of those moments when a genealogist can simply say: that’s the reason why I’m doing it!

A little piece of a puzzle

Jurišić family

Four generations of Jurišić family are watching a movie about their relatives from the US

An eight year old girl was present there and her grand mother was trying to explain she was watching her great-great-great-grandfather who neither of them ever met.

Can you imagine someone showing up at your doorstep with folder full of pictures, documents and even a video of your 3rd grand-father?

I’m really happy I was a tiny little piece in this big puzzle of one suburban family from Daruvar, Croatia, as well as from Illinois, USA.