Unravel shifting borders, changing rulers and other research binds with our guide to tracing Croatian roots.
If you're looking for family ties -- and what genealogist isn't? -- you may find "ties" of a different type in your Croatian lines. That's because men's modern-day neckwear traces its origins to Croatian mercenaries of 17th-century French King Louis XIII. In fact, cravat, the name for the forerunner of neckties and bow ties, is a corruption of the French word for "Croat." Whether your ancestors were soldiers from now-independent Croatia or later immigrants to North America, you'll find that records they left are the ties that bind you to your origins.
Tied to History
The Croats are first identified as a distinct Slavic group in the seventh century, when they moved following the shape of a crescent -- first to the area between the Danube, Drava and Sava rivers (called Slavonia); then westward to the Gulf of Venice (Istria); and finally southward along the Adriatic coast (known as Dalmatia since Roman times).