Notes for Mate (Matt) Trinajstic

A Wilson Family Tree

Notes for Mate (Matt) Trinajstic



Newspaper obituary (presumably the Trinidad paper; don't know the date, but death date was 20 Jun 1955):

Matt Trinaistich, past 81 years of age, passed away at 2:30 p. m. today at his residence in Dillview Addition after an extended illness. He was well known in the community.

Mr. Trinaistich was born April 5, 1874 in Yugoslavia. He was a retired blacksmith, and had worked at various coal mines in Las Animas county after coming to this country from Yugoslavia in 1898. He was last employed as a blacksmith at the Trinidad Brick and Tile Company plant, in this city. He was a member of Croatian Fraternal Union No. 284, and of S.N.P.J. lodge No. 66.

Deceased is survived by his wife, Milena Trinaistich, of Trinidad; two sons, John and Ernest Trinaistich, both of this city; one daughter, Mrs. Leonard E. Wilson, of Albuquerque, N. M. A sister is Edith Susan, of Yugoslavia. Also surviving are nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Funeral arrangements later by Mullare Funeral Home.


Matt was from the village of Sveti Matej (St. Matthew), near Rijeka in Croatia. The name has been changed, and the village is now called Viškovo. At the time, Croatia was part of the Austrian Empire, so many records show his place of birth, etc., as Austria. According to Roberto Žigulić, based on the Status Animarum book for Sv. Matej, his name was originally Mate Trinajstić (accent over the c). His name was Americanized to Mathew Trinaistich when he came to the U.S. A Croatian-language obituary from Trinidad shows his name as Mato Trinajstić. Žigulić says that Mato would be the form of the name in Dalmatia, but not in the region of Croatia that Matt was from. At least one record from Trinidad, CO, shows his name as Matteo Trinesic; I don't know what that is from.

It looks like Matt came to the U.S. on the ship La Champagne, departing from Le Havre, France, and arriving at Ellis Island on 7 Nov 1899. A passenger named Mate Trinajstic is listed (http://www.ellisisland.org). Age of 26 doesn't quite fit. Place of residence is listed as Costua (Castua = Kastav).

Initial information on the ancestors of Mate Trinajstić was obtained from Roberto Žigulić in 2009 and 2010. Additional information was obtained in 2018 from Marija Puharić-Haraslić and Miljenko Ujčić of the Genealogy Center of Kastav and Liburnia (Rodoslovni centar Kastavštine i Liburnije). There are some troubling inconsistencies, which leave open the possibility that some of the information from Croatia is not right. The information from the Genealogy Center has the names in a Latinized form. They list Mate as Matthaeus Trinajstić-Jankotovi. According to Dee Sardoch, the part of the name after the hyphen is called the nadimak and is sort of like a clan name. (Roberto Žigulić explained it like this: a name like Jardas-Garić means surname Jardas in the settlement Garići. It was especially used when the man Jardas married a woman with surname Garić and became a son-in-law in his wife's family.)

According to Ernie Malovich, the Trinajstićs were relatively well off in Croatia and Elizabeta was the family maid. The family did not approve of them getting married, and that is why they left to go to America. He went first, and she followed later.

Don Wilson told me that Matt Trinaistich loved to play bocce ball.

The name on his death certificate is Mato Trinajstic. Cause of death was congestive failure (?). His parents' names are listed as John and Mary -- which doesn't fit with the mother's name of Katarina (Kate) in the Status Animarum.
Headstone of his grave says Father, 1874 - 1955.


Note: Some of the information in these pages is uncertain. Please let me know of errors or omissions using the email link above.    ...Mike Wilson

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