Bosnian Surnames

Bosnia and Herzegovina
EastEuropeGenWeb Project

Bosnian Surnames


Bosnian surnames are, same as in other south slavic regions, mostly created based on first names, nicknames or occupation of some (almost exclusively male) ancestor. Family name is in almost 80% of cases created of possessive genitive of first name or occupation, or some combination of the two with suffix -ic. Let me show you this on few examples:
Kovac (occupation - meaning Smith)
possesive genitive of Kovac is Kovacev
and adding sufix -ic Kovacev becomes Kovacevic (probably most often family name)

possesive genitive of Adem is Ademov
and adding sufix -ic Ademov becomes Ademovic

This rule can be implemented with minor variations, and it has become common that titles are added before or after name (or both before and after name) prior to creating genitive:
adding title beg1) Ibrahimbeg
possesive genitive of Ibrahimbeg is Ibrahimbegov
with sufix -ic it becomes Ibrahimbegovic

adding Hadzi2) in front becomes Hadzipetar
possesive genitive of Hadzipetar is Hadzipetrov
with sufix -ic it becomes Hadzipetrovic
1) Slavicized version of turkish title bey
2) Person that went to Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj). Used also for persons that went to orthodox pilgrimage (as in given example).

Sometimes, geographical location has been used to make family name, meaning that family moved to new city at some point in time, and that city of their origin was main distinction to local population. It would be quite useless to have family name Trebinjac (meaning man who is from Trebinje) in Trebinje itself, when that attribute can describe 15000 people, but is was handy to use as a surname when family moved from Trebinje to Mostar.

Some family names are created from local animals names, (Vuk-wolf, Medvjed-bear, Zec-rabbit...), although there are cases when more exotic animals were used (Majmun- monkey).

Basically, peace of family history is written in familly name, and it might be of help when doing research. When suffix -ic is added, it has a meaning of deminutive form, although gramatically deminutive would be created slightly different. On the top of page is an index to surnames gathered from different sources, and they will be presented in simmilar manner as samples on this page. If presence of some family name is registered in some area, it will be added later.

1999 Goran Kulenovic



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