How the Croatian alphabet
To find the home village it helps to know the original spelling of the surname. But trying to figure out the original spellings of Croatian surnames that have been rendered into English (sometimes over 100 years ago) can be tricky. We attempt here to provide some general rules and some examples that may help. Send your own examples, corrections or clarifications to editor@Croatia-in-English.com.
You will need to know how the Croatian alphabet is shown on this site. And you may get help from knowing how to spell and pronounce Croatian.
The names given below as examples are actual spelling changes; they are not made up. See more on surname variants and first name variants.
Endings of names:
but sometimes -lj changes to L (Rokolj = Rokoll).
-ac often becomes -atz or -ats (Bukovac = Bukovatz).
k sometimes changes to c (Kordic' = Cordich).
b sometimes changes to p (Dubs"ic' = Dupsik).
h sometimes changes to k (Buhovac = Bukovac or Bukovatz).
d' = j sound in Croatian, as in Jay. So And'elic' = Angelich and D'urkovic' = Jurkovich or Jerkovich.
Dj = dy sound in Croatian. So Djurkovic' = Jurkovich or Jerkovich or Yurkovich or Yerkovich.
u becomes e as in above examples.
Sometimes k = ch (Kriste = Christie or Christy).
Sometimes c" or c' (ch sound) changes to an s sound (Karc"ic' = Karcich where the 1st c is pronounced as s).
c changes to s as Caput = Saput. The plain c in Croatian is pronounced ts.
c changes to z (Car = Zar; Vranjican = Vranizan).
Too many consonants together always acquire some kind of vowel to separate them. Srgota = Sargota or Sergota; Prlenda = Perlenda.
z becomes an s (Zglav = Sglav).
j becomes y or i (Trojan = Troyan = Troian; Jankovic' = Yankovich)
lj becomes y or i (Valjalo = Vialo)
Lj becomes L (Ljubenko = Lubenko; Sabljic' = Sablich).
Lj becomes U (Ljubic' = Ubich or Ubick).
There are no double letters in Croatian. But sometimes letters are doubled in English (Seper = Sepper; Pusic' = Pussich).
So, from the English spelling: