Family Name - By Region - Slavic Countries - South Slavs

South Slavs

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Surnames of some South Slavic groups such as Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, and Bosniaks traditionally end with the suffixes "-ić" and "-vić" (often transliterated to English and other western languages as "ic", "ich", "vic" or "vich". The v is added in case the name to which "-ić" follows ends on a vowel, to avoid double vowels with the "i" in "-ić".) which are a diminutive indicating descent i.e. "son of." In some cases family name was derived from a profession (e.g. blacksmith – "Kovač" → "Kovačević").

In general family names in all of these countries follow this pattern with some family names being typically Serbian, some typically Croat and yet others being common throughout the whole linguistic region.

Children usually inherit fathers family name. In older naming convention which was common in Serbia up until mid-19th century a person's name would consist of three distinct parts: the person's given name, the patronymic derived from father's personal name, and the family name, as seen in for example in the name of language reformer Vuk Stefanović Karadžić.

Official family names do not have distinct male or female forms. The somewhat archaic unofficial form of adding suffixes to family names to form female form exists, with -eva, implying "daughter of" or "female descendant of" or -ka, implying "wife of" or "married to".

Bosniak Muslim names follow the same formation pattern but are usually derived from proper names of Islamic origin, often combining archaic Islamic or feudal Turkish titles i.e. Mulaomerović, Šabanović, Hadžihafizbegović etc. Also related to Islamic influence is prefix Hadži- found in some family names. Regardless of religion, this prefix was derived from the honorary title which a distinguished ancestor earned by making a pilgrimage to either Christian or Islamic holy places. Hadžibegić, being Bosniak Muslim example.

In Croatia where tribal affiliations persisted longer, Lika, Herzegovina etc., original family name came to signify practically all people living in one area or holding of the nobles. The Šubić family owned land around the Zrin River in the Central Croatian region of Banovina. The surname became Šubić Zrinski, the most famous being Nikola Šubić Zrinski.

Due to discriminatory laws in Austro-Hungarian Empire some of Serb families of Vojvodina have discarded suffix - in an attempt to mask their ethnicity and avoid heavy taxation.

Among the Bulgarians, another South Slavic people, the typical surname suffix is "-ov" (Ivanov, Kovachev), although other popular suffixes also exist.

In the Republic of Macedonia, the most popular suffix today is "-ski".

Slovenes have a great variety of surnames, most of them differentiated according to region. Surnames ending in -ič are less frequent than among Croats and Serbs. There are typically Slovenian surnames ending in -ič, such as Blažič, Stanič, Marušič. Many Slovenian surnames, especially in the Slovenian Littoral, end in -čič (Gregorčič, Kocijančič, Miklavčič, etc.), which is uncommon for other South Slavic peoples (except the neighboring Croats, e.g. Kovačić, Jelačić, Kranjčić, etc.). On the other hand, surname endings in -ski and -ov are rare, and are usually of foreign (mostly Czech) origin. One of the most typical Slovene surname endings is -nik (Rupnik, Pučnik, Plečnik, Pogačnik, Podobnik) and other used surname endings are -lin (Pavlin, Mehlin, Ahlin, Ferlin), -ar (Mlakar, Ravnikar, Smrekar Tisnikar) and -lj (Rugelj, Pucelj, Bagatelj, Bricelj). Many Slovenian surnames are linked to Medieval rural settlement patterns. Surnames like Novak (literally, "the new one") or Hribar (from hrib, hill) were given to the peasants settled in newly established farms, usually in high mountains. Peasant families were also named according to the owner of the land which they cultivated: thus, the surname Kralj (King) or Cesar (Emperor) was given to those working on royal estates, Škof (Bishop) or Vidmar to those working on ecclesiastical lands, etc. Many Slovenian surnames are named after animals (Medved – bear, Volk, Vovk or Vouk – wolf, Golob – pigeon, Lisjak – fox, Orel – eagle, Zajc or Zajec – rabbit, etc.). Many are named after neighbouring peoples: Horvat, Hrovat, or Hrovatin (Croat), Furlan (Friulian), Nemec (German), Lah (Italian), Vogrin, Vogrič or Vogrinčič (Hungarian), Vošnjak (Bosnian), Čeh (Czech), Turk (Turk), or different Slovene regions: Kranjc, Kranjec or Krajnc (from Carniola), Kraševec (from the Kras), Korošec (from Carinthia), Kočevar or Hočevar (from the Gottschee county).

Further information: Bulgarian name, Croatian name, Serbian name, and Macedonian names

Read more about this topic:  Family Name, By Region, Slavic Countries

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