How the Croatian alphabet
Many people of Croatian descent are looking for the original village of their ancestors. Some are just curious; others ultimately want to find the genealogy records (they would be in the local church); others would like to visit the villages where their ancestors were born.
And in some cases people are trying to find out if, indeed, their ancestors are Croatian at all.
The Croatian on-line phone book (in English) is the easiest and cheapest first tool to use in finding the original villages or surnames.
That's because most families in Croatia, especially rural families, have been in the same location for generations. Chances are very good (over 80%) that someone with the same surname now lives in the same village where your great-grandfather was born.
But first you must know how the original name was spelled. Sometimes this is easy; often it is not. "Name changes" is a whole topic to itself. Further information can be found here and here. Make a list of all possibilities for the original spelling of the surname and then go to the on-line phone book (in English) which is located here:
You will see a screen that looks like this:
[Note: The URL for this directory has changed at least 4 times in the last 3 years. If you are having trouble please report here and put "bad URL for phone directory" in the subject line. Thanks.]
Our experience has shown that "start of name" or "any word in name" are the best choices to use for "Search type". The parameters for these categories are loose enough to allow for many variant spellings. But don't put -ich on the end of a name. Some Croatian surnames near Italy are actually spelled this way today. So the search parameters distinguish between -ich and -ic.
This on-line phone book can be very useful. But it takes some getting used to because the exact search parameters are not carefully explained. With the English version, just use the regular 26-letter English alphabet. Don't try to use the Croatian letters with the little marks over them (diacriticals).
See here and here for examples of how to use the Croatian on-line phone book.