Croatia Languages

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The official language of Croatia is Croatian. Most materials used in Croatian research are written in Croatian. You do not need to speak or read Croatian to do research in Croatian records, but you should know some key words and phrases to understand the records. Because the Roman Catholic Church was the predominant religion in Croatia, many records are in Latin. Other languages in Croatian records include Hungarian and Italian.

Croatian grammar may affect the way names appear in genealogical records. For example, names of your ancestors will vary from record to record in Croatian.

Serbian and Croatian Alphabets

Alphabet[edit | edit source]

Croatian Alphabetical Order

Aa Bb Cc Čč Ćć Dd

DŽdž Ðđ Ee Ff Gg

Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll LJlj

Mm Nn NJnj Oo Pp Rr

Ss Šš Tt Uu Vv Zz Žž

Glagolitic alphabet was used in Dalmatia until the early 19th century.

Language Aids[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has Hungarian, Latin and Italian genealogical word lists.

Language Characteristics[edit | edit source]

In Croatian, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who-whose-whom or marry-marries- married are examples of words in English with variant forms. In Croatian any word may change, depending on usage. This word list gives the standard form of each Croatian word. As you read Croatian records, you will need to be aware that most words vary with usage. The endings of words in a document will often differ from what you find in this list.

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

This word list includes words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a dictionary. Several dictionaries are available at the Family History Library in the European collection. Their call numbers begin with 491.85321.

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Key Words[edit | edit source]

To find and use specific types of Croatian records, you will need to know some key words. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the BCS words with the same or similar meanings.

English Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
age doba starosti, vijek
baptism krštenje, krst
birth rodjenje, rođenje, rođeni
bride mlada, nevjesta, nevesta, mladenka
burial/funeral pogreb
Catholic katolički
census popis (popis duša - census of souls)
child dijete, dete, djeteta, deteta
christening (see baptism)
confirmation potvrda
day dan
death smrt
engagement vjeridba, veridba
father otac, oca
godfather kum
godmother kuma
groom mladoženja
husband suprug, muž
index indeks
Jewish židovski
marriage brak, (of man) ženidba, (of woman) udaja
marriage banns oziv
marriage ceremony vjenčanje, vjenčani
marry, to (for man) ženiti (se), oženiti (se)
marry, to (for woman) udavati (se), udaje (se), udati (se)
month mjesec, mesec
mother majka
name, given ime, imenovanje
name, surname prezime
parents roditelji
parish župa, parohija
Protestant protestantski
residence mjesto, mesto, stanovanja
spouse bracni drug
week sedmica, tjedan, tjedna, nedelja
widow udovica
widower udovac, udovca
wife supruga, žena
year godina

Word List[edit | edit source]

Following is the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS) Word List. This word list was formerly known as the Serbo-Croatian Word List.

The Serbo-Croatian language or Croato-Serbian language is a South Slavic diasystem. Serbo-Croatian was standardized as a single language during the era of Yugoslavia, from 1918 to 1991. During this period Serbo-Croatian was one of the three official languages, alongside Macedonian and Slovenian. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Serbo-Croatian language broke into its constituent parts, with Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian becoming distinctly recognized languages. Currently in Montenegro there is a movement to have Montenegrin recognized as its own language, as well.

Following list contains BCS words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a dictionary.

Languages of the Records[edit | edit source]

The language of the records is mostly Latin, Croatian, Hungarian, or Italian. Glagolitic and Cyrillic as well as Roman script occur in the records.

  • Latin: an Indo-European language, moderately inflected, and used extensively by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Serbian: a Slavic language closely allied to Croatian. Considered the official language of Yugoslavia. Serbian differs from Croatian slightly in vocabulary and is written in the Cyrillic script.
  • German: official language of the Austrian Empire, and as such the language of record for the Austrian military.
  • Glagolitic: properly speaking, Glagolitsa is a script, not a language. The literature of Dalmatia, however, took on a unique character that can be considered at least a dialect. In most circumstances one can read the text of a Glagolitic manuscript if s/he is familiar with Croatian and the epigraphy.
  • Croatian: the language used for most post-Latin period Roman Catholic parish registers. Distinguished from Serbian primarily for reasons of nationalism.
  • Hungarian: all civil documents, from partition of Austria-Hungary to end of WWI.
  • Italian: language common to the 1600-1800. Roman Catholic parish registers for Dalmatia and Istria.
  • Slovene: language of Slovenia, closely allied with Serbo-Croatian.

For word lists and help researching in Croatian records, see:

Websites[edit | edit source]