Vekaric, Nenad – Peljeski Rodovi

Peljeski rodovi (Family Names of the Peljesac Peninsula). Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU, Vol I (A-K) 1995, and Vol. II (L-Zh) 1996.

     The first part of the book deals with the first names of the inhabitants of the Peljesac peninsula from the 13th to the 20th centuries. The author explains changes in the assortment of first names after the incorporation of Peljesac into the Republic of Dubrovnik. The clash of the old folk Slavonic and the new Catholic-Dubrovnik onomastic systems resulted in the formation of a new system with the predominance of the Dubrovnik and Christian tradition, but with an element of Slavonic evident. Despite the fact that the base for the variety of first names consisted of Christian saints’ names, quite a few Slav names remained in use, though less frequently. The impossibility of a total takeover by one of the systems resulted in the formation of defense mechanisms on both sides. In Dubrovnik, the remains of folk names were adapted to Christian forms by the formation of equivalents (Djivan-Ivan (John), Vuk-Luka (Luke), etc.), while the new Christian names were adapted to folk forms (Miho (Michael)-Mihoje, Vlaho (Blaise)-Vlahusa, etc.). Until the mid-15th century, folk Slavonic names generally predominated in the Peljesac peninsula. From the middle until the end of the 15th century, folk and Christina names were approximately equally represented. But from the 16th century onwards, Christian names predominated so that 90 percent of the inhabitants were named in accordance with the Christian tradition. New changes in the onomastic system took place in the second half of the 19th century. New names appeared in a wide range from foreign folk names to new foreign names. This process started in the seafaring areas of Trstenice, while in the inland of the peninsula it appeared as late as the 20th century, with much less intensity. Family names began to stabilize on the Peljesac peninsula in the 14th century, after it became a part of the Dubrovnik Republic. At that time Dubrovnik’s already diversified and detailed administration required a precise identification of the people who were summoned or those who were engaged in any kind of legal activity. However, family names in the Dubrovnik Republic were not created suddenly or by decree. They have been formed over centuries, determined not only by administrative requirements (especially in legal matters such as inheritance, which required both the identity of the claimer and the proofs of his blood relations), but also by the needs of the people who, looking for a successful and appropriate means of communications, created an entire onomastic system. This process lasted until the late 18th century, when the last family on the Peljesac peninsula acquired its family name.

     The author also deals with certain specific features of the Peljesac family name system, with the Italianization of Croatian names and the Croatization of Italian family names, with the formation of folk-founded names, and specifically with the adoption of foreign family names. According to a Dubrovnik custom, a family name was given to a household, not to an individual. Newcomers would accept the name of their new household. This custom was frequent in villages, but less so in the seafaring towns and settlements. It was specifically widespread in regions with strong elements of a communal way of life.

     The third and the longest part of the book contains a lexicographic survey of the history of particular lineage names of families of Peljesac. Along with the basic genealogical data (origin, family tradition, time of immigration, first mention in the archives, migration, emigration, extinction, changes of family names and nicknames), the author quotes different legal cases, testaments and data from other sources deemed interesting from the point of view of language, customs, environment, life-style, outstanding people, and so on. Each family has its own number under which it can be found in the graph representing the duration of Peljesac lineages in an earlier Vekaric’s book, The Inhabitants of the Peljesac Peninsula. Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU, 1993.

     Stjepan Cosic – Dubrovnik