How the Croatian alphabet
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Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California (~75 miles south of San Francisco, along the California coast)
The first Croatians arrived in the Watsonville area in the 1880s but the most active time of immigration was from 1900-1914. Most came from Konavle (the southern-most tip of Croatia) and the island of Brac". There are today probably more Konavlian surnames in the Watsonville area than in any other place outside of Konavle.

Below is a partial list of resources I found in a recent trip to Watsonville and Santa Cruz. This website is looking for this type of information for other communities where Croatians have congregated. If you have something we can use, please contact us.

Photo collections:
Unknown (unidentified) photos from Watsonville. Please help us identify these people.
Photos of Croatians taken in the US. Includes many photos from Watsonville.
Photos of Croatians from Konavle. Includes many Watsonville families.

Pajaro Valley Historical Association
Archive is at 332 E. Beach St., Watsonville, California 95076
Mail to: PO Box 623, Watsonville, California 95077
Phone: 831/722-0305
Archive is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10am-3pm
Jane Borg in charge
Photo of front door of archive

Resources (incomplete list): City Directories (1873, 1898, 1899, 1902, 1909-10, 1913, 1914, plus many newer ones), phone books (1896, 1897, 1911, 1928, plus many newer ones), surname files (newspaper articles, donated and gleaned info, etc), photo files, school yearbooks, school memory books, school registers (lists of pupils and teachers), scrapbooks, collection of Watsonville business cards, fruit box labels (many Croatians), transcriptions of oral interviews with Croatians.

Note: If visiting the archive in person, it is a good idea to make an appointment ahead of time. There is not always someone there during the posted hours but someone always opens at 11am. Donations are always appreciated.

Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County
PO Box 72
Santa Cruz, California 95063

The website above also links to other Santa Cruz County resources such as the County Recorder, a list of county cemeteries, some local history, etc.

This group staffs the Local History & California Room located in the Santa Cruz Central Branch Library, 224 Church Street in Santa Cruz. Phone: 831/420-5794.

Send research requests to Sara Bennett in care of the address above. $15 per hour.

This genealogy group is much more "together" than most. Not only do they publish their own books, they also have their own bookbinder within their membership. Their newsletter comes out 6 times per year. Here's a partial list of the books they publish, which can be purchased:

Births and Deaths 1856-1900 from Early Newspapers [Santa Cruz County]
Births and Deaths 1901-1908 from The Daily Surf [Santa Cruz County]
Births and Deaths 1909-1919 from The Daily Surf [Santa Cruz County]
Santa Cruz Marriages 1856-1908 from Early Newspapers
Santa Cruz Marriages 1809-1919 from Early Newspapers
Santa Cruz County Probate Records 1851-1890
Santa Cruz County Naturalization Records 1909-1927 (example)
Santa Cruz County Burial Permits 1905-1938 (2 vols.)

The book below was recently published and can be read at the library. At this point it is not for sale.
A Tombstone & Vital Records Survey to the Valley Catholic Cemetery, Vol. 1, Fletcher, 2001.


Croatian Mayors of Watsonville:
Dr. Peter Marinovich (1951-1953); father was Filip Marinovic' of Pridvorje (Konavle).
Louis Gluhan (1959-1960); father was Antone Gluhan of Uskoplje (Konavle).
Ann Matiasevich Soldo (1983-1987); father was Nick Matijas"evic' of Popovic'i (Konavle)
Betty Kesovia Bobeda (1995-1996) and (2001-2002); father was Vido Kesovija of Lovorno (Konavle).

Street signs in Watsonville showing Croatian surnames:
Alaga; Bencich; Franich; Gera; Vlaho "Charlie" Kralj; Anna Kralj, Nicholas Kralj; Scurich; Secondo

A Watsonville map also shows the following street names. I could find the streets but no street signs to photograph: Pista Lane, Scurich Lane, Matiasevich Lane, Marinovich Avenue. Most are very short -- a few hundred feet at most.

Business signs in Watsonville showing Croatian surnames:
Braycovich, Buak, Bulich/Butier, Franich-1, Franich-2, Gizdich, Gulermovich, Kalich, Kasunich, Lettunich, Marinovich-1, Marinovich-2, Pista, Resetar-1, Resetar-2, Sambrailo, Scurich-1, Scurich-2, Scurich-3, Scurich-4, Soldo-1, Soldo-2, Stolich.

Fruit box labels showing Croatian surnames:
Alaga, Bachan, Bokarica-Matiasevich, Fiorovich, Lettunich, Resetar, Scurich

Mural on Nick Alaga's patio in Watsonville:
This mural shows the original Alaga home back in Konavle. The house was drawn from a photo but the rest of the mural is from the artist's imagination (and she had never been to Croatia). Nice mural, Nick. But it needs more rocks. Lots more rocks!

The list below shows the above names in their original spellings. The home villages are in parentheses:

Alaga; Alaga; (Bani in Konavle)
Bachan; Bac"an; (Komaji in Konavle)
Bencich; Benc"ic'; (S"krip, island of Brac")
Bokarica; Bokarica; (Konavle region)
Braycovich; Brajkovic'; (Gruda in Konavle)
Buak; Bujak; (Mijkovi or Slano in Dubrovac"ka Primorje)
Bulich; Bulic'; (?)
Butier; Butijer; (Drvenik in Konavle)
Fiorovich; Fjorovic'; (Vodovod'a in Konavle)
Franich; Franic'; (C"ilipi in Konavle)
Gera; Gera; (Gromac"a in Primorje, north of Dubrovnik)
Gizdich; Giz"dic'; (Klis, near Split)
Gulermovich; Guljelmovic'; (Obod or Cavtat)
Kalich; Kalac"ic'; (C"ilipi in Konavle)
Kasunich; (?)
Kralj; Kralj; (Dunave in Konavle)
Lettunich; Letunic'; (Mihanic'i in Konavle)
Marinovich; Marinovic'; (Pridvorje in Konavle)
Matiasevich; Matijas"evic'; (Popovic'i in Konavle)
Pista; Pis"ta; (Ljuta in Konavle)
Resetar; Res"etar; (C"ilipi in Konavle)
Sambrailo; (Zastolje in Konavle)
Scurich; Skuric'; (C"ilipi in Konavle)
Secondo; Sekondo; (Lovorno in Konavle)
Soldo; Soldo; (?)
Stolich; Stolic'; (C"ilipi in Konavle)

Corralitos Sausage Company
569 Corralitos Road
Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone: 831/722-2633, Fax: 831/722-4505
Photo of store front

Smoked meat specialties. They have kobasica (smoked pork sausage) and kastradina (they call it kasterdina, and make it with lamb) as well as specialty sausages such as Cajun, andouille, and chicken Santa Fe. They ship anywhere in the U.S. and take Visa, M/C and American Express. This place was started by a German and has no Croatian connection but makes great kobasica and is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can get kastradina.