Sometimes food festivals can lead to an interest in the culture and even the genealogy research of a particular population in the local area. For example, Sacramento has a large Croatian cultural center at 3730 Auburn Blvd that also hosts the annual Italian food and music festival this coming weekend as the Croatian hall and garden did recently when it hosted the Croatian annual food and music festival.
For information on the Croatian festivals and similar events, see the website, Croatian-American Cultural Center. Each year Sacramento celebrates the June Annual Croatian Extravaganza: A European Festival in the Old World Tradition. This weekend will be the Italian food and music festa.
August each year in Sacramento hosts the Italian Cultural Festival also held at the same Croatian cultural center. In face, this Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5th, 2012, Sacramento’s Italian Society’s annual “Festa Italiana” takes place each day at Croatian Park, 3730 Auburn Boulevard, Sacramento, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. And don’t forget toward the end of August also is the annual Greek food and music festival at the Sacramento Convention Center downtown. Check out the You Tube video of Sacramento’s Italian Food Festival from 2010, Italica- Sacramento Italian Festival 8-7-2010.
This weekend is Italian festa at Croatian Hall. There will be food, but also an Italian marketplace, children’s games, rides, and bocce ball. Check out the Festa Italiana Sacramento website for further information. There’s an admission price this coming weekend each day. The admission is $12. Children 15 and under are free.
The Croatian American Cultural Center in Sacramento
The Croatian American Cultural Center, Sacramento, established 1976, is a thriving club consisting of many generations of Croatian Americans, according to its website. As a group, the members of the Croatian American Cultural Center have successfully acquainted the local and surrounding communities with the Croatian culture, as well as preserved for future Croatian posterity in Northern California Croatia’s many age-old, colorful traditions. If you’re interested in Croatian genealogy, here’s how to begin your local research. Check out Sacramento’s Family History Library at 2745 Eastern Avenue, Sacramento.
First look at the Family History Library’s microfilm collection on Croatia. See Sacramento Regional Family History Center. If the Sacramento Family History Library doesn’t have on microfilm what you’re looking for regarding Croatia, online you’ll find the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. They also have online classes in family history research for a variety of countries. Check out the computers for genealogy searching and the library at the Sacramento Regional Family History Center.
The central Family History Library in Salt Lake City is online. And they have about 2,600 rolls of microfilm that were sent in from Croatia since filming began there in 1985. Filming has occurred at the central state archive and regional archives of Osijek, Varañdin, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, and Pazin.
Finding Croatian genealogy records in Sacramento
If you’re looking at parish registers, they start in the 1700s and are archived until the present. Roman Catholic parishes kept registers earlier than Orthodox parishes which were required to keep them only after 1777.
According to the Family History Library, “Civil transcripts of registers were mandated during the 19th century. A tabular format was adopted after 1848. In 1946, civil registration replaced parish registration of vital events. As of 1945 most registers were turned over to civil authorities and deposited in the local city hall. Older registers have been and continue to be transferred to the district historical archives or the Croatia State Archive.”
To find the registers, contact the Civil Registry offices. If you need post World War Two material from the Civil Registers—after 1946, they are there. However, civil registration before May 1946 contains the names and data on Moslems only. After 1946, civil authorities in Croatia and the rest of Yugoslavia began universal registration.
Next, look at the censuses that start in the year 1785 and continue until the present. During the Ottoman Empire, the census followed the usual name-taking for taxation or conscription and to provide a demography of the people in Croatia.
If you want military records of ancestors, the first military census began in 1785. By 1804-5, you have the civil census. Regular censuses were conducted in 1857, 1869, and every ten years, 1880–1910. Go to the archives of each district or city to find a name lists if it is available.
Sacramento has a family history library
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City recommends for searching genealogy records of Croatia the book titled: Imenik mesta u Jugoslaviji (Places names in Yugoslavia). Beograd: Novinska Ustanova Sluñbeni List SFRJ, 1973. (949.7 E5u; film 874,462 item 2).
This book will help you to identify the jurisdictions and localities. If you can’t read the place names in Yugoslavia, then check out the Family History Library Catalog to see if any records are listed under the name of the town or the district.
Your next step would be to search records on a national level. Look for specific towns or villages and cities. The films are not housed in the Family History Library. Order films prior to arriving in Salt Lake City by calling or writing: Family History Library, Attn: Library Attendants, 35 N. West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400.
If you’ve exhausted the Croatian social associations in the US, then turn to the Croatia State Archive, Hrvatski Dravni Arhiv, Maruliev Trg. 21, 10000 Zagreb: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instead of actually going to the country in person, email first to set up appointments where you’ll go if you actually make a trip over there. Old books were transferred to the archives in 1957—that means books more than 1000 years old. Check out the town halls because they have registers dating before
World War II.
After the war, the churches kept registers. There was a census in 1957. If you’re looking for old records before 1857, then go to archives at the church registers as well as the state archives. A lot of registers remain in parishes.
Look for transcripts in the Archbishopric Archive. According to the Family History Library, “Pedigrees are scattered in the collection. Though censuses were conducted in 1857, 1869, 1880, 1890, and 1900, there are no census records in the archive.”
The charge 88 kuna/hour for research. There are twelve district historical archives and contact information is available on the web site. Check out the Zagreb Historical Archive. Historijski arhiv Zagreb, Opati?ka 29, 10000 Zagreb, email: email@example.com, open 9:00–14:00 daily. The Family History Library notes that “A good genealogy website is found at Croatia In English.com.”
There are numerous Croatian social halls and associations in the USA and other countries because more than a quarter of all Croatians lived outside of Croatia by 1970. Check these social and fraternal or family associations for genealogy such as: Croatia Genealogy Research 73 genealogy connections and books, published or unpublished, written by individuals for their own families.
Croats are mainly Roman Catholic, and speak Croatian, and Serbs are mostly Orthodox and speak Serbian. The language of the records is either Latin, Croatian, Hungarian, or Italian. Besides Roman script, there is also Glagolitic script.
Tracing Your Bulgarian Genealogy
In Sacramento check out Bulgaria news in Sacramento, CA | Outside.in local topics | alt4. Also see the website, Bulgarian Americans United. It’s a meeting place for Bulgarians in Northern California. See, Sites for Bulgarians abroad.
If you’re an American who wants to buy houses or apartment complexes in Bulgaria, check out Bulgaria property for sale. To check Bulgarian genealogy, See the Bulgaria Genealogy Forum.
If you’re searching for Sephardic Jewish genealogy in Bulgaria, also check out the Sephardi Connection Discussion, the Forums People Finder at the Sephardi Connection.
If you’re searching Christian Bulgarian genealogy, look at the Orthodox and Catholic records which date
back to around 1850. A few Catholic books go back to slightly before 1797. These genealogy records have the names of the head of household and parents, residence, dates and places of birth and baptism, marriage, death and burial; as well as ages in entries for marriage and death.
According to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, baptisms include names of the godparents. Deaths sometimes include the cause of death. Entries sometimes identify residence for those not of the parish. Some parish registers have been sent to the state archives or the national museum. Visit the
parish churches to look at parish registers.
Some pre-1872 registers are in Greece. Before 1872 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Patriarchate in Greece. If you’re looking for civil registration, the records begin around 1893 when the process of civil registration began.
According to the Family History Library, “Birth, marriage, and death records have the exact date of the event, including time of day for births; name of the principal and parents’ names; occupation and religious preference of parents; name of informant for births and witnesses for marriages; residence for parents of
new born, of the groom and bride for marriages, and of the deceased for deaths; age at death, cause of death, and burial place in death records.”
Go to the district archives in each of the 26 districts of Bulgaria to find specific records for particular areas. To record all the vital information in the same building, in 1920 family registers came into practice.
To find these family registers before 1920, look to the national census. It began in 1880. The first national census took place right after Bulgaria’s liberation from Ottoman rule.
Because 19th century name lists are not available, you’d have to turn to the Ottoman census records for the period 1831–1872. Only these records were enumerations of males for tax, fiscal, and military purposes. They contain the name of the head of household, male family members, ages, occupation, and property.
To start with the Family History Library, go to their small book collection and microfilms of civil registration, 1893–1906, for the Bulgarian districts of Sofia and Pazardzhik. You’re going to have to list the local areas or jurisdictions to narrow down your search. To find these jurisdictions, you need the book by Michev N. and P. Koledarov. Rechnik na selishchata i selishchnite imena v Bulgariia, 1878–1987 (Dictionary of villages and village names in Bulgaria, 1878–1987), Sofia: Nauka i izkustvo, 1989 (FHL book 949.77 E5m).
Once you have the name of the district and town, go to the Family History Library Catalog (Salt Lake City). There may be records listing under the name of the district in Bulgaria. If you can’t find anything, then check national level records of a specific town rather than the district.
You can see some of these towns on films. The films are not housed in the Family History Library. Order films prior to arriving in Salt Lake City by calling or writing: Family History Library, Attn: Library Attendants, 35 N. West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400.
To narrow down the districts, there are only twenty six. In each of the districts, there is an archive. In that archive you have church records and civil registration records. Then narrow down still more as you go to the churches and monasteries.
You won’t find vital records in the National Historical Archive in Sofia, according to the Family History Library research. A guide exists to the holdings of this archive: Putevoditel na Tsentralniia Durzhaven Istoricheski Arkhiv, Sofia: Nauka i izkustvo, 1970 (FHL book 949.77 A5p).
To research deeper, turn to the Ottoman census records at the Oriental Department of the Cyril and Methodius National Library, Sofia. What if you don’t read Bulgarian? If you get to the records at the Cyril and Methodius National Library, find a translator or translation manual and then go onto the next nation in nearby Istanbul.
Once in Istanbul, look at the archives of the Ottoman Empire. You’ve now reached the core of the former Ottoman Empire. It seems everything lands up in Istanbul, or does it? That depends on what else is in the various churches or synagogues depending upon your ethnic identity or religion.
Check out the genealogy site index on Rootsweb. When searching Bulgaria, understand it was the first state to join the Ottoman Empire and the last to be liberated. Bulgaria was under the former Ottoman Empire from 1396–1878, only to be liberated by the Russian army.
Another country was added to Bulgaria called Eastern Rumelia, in the southeast. More territory was added by 1913 during the Balkan wars. A lot of records were hidden because Bulgaria allied with Germany in both World Wars. So if you’re of ethnic groups whose records were hidden, such as Sephardic Jews, you
need to go to synagogues and Sephardic organizations to find links and leads to where the records can be found. In 1990 Bulgaria became an independent country.
Records are kept in different places for different ethnic groups. You have besides Bulgaries, the Rom (Rroma) people (formerly called Gypsies), Turks, Macedonians, Armenians, Russians and Sephardic Jews. If you need to learn Bulgarian before searching records, the Slavic language is written in Cyrillic script.
Also some Ashkenazim, usually women, and sometimes orphans, in 19th century Moldava (Bessarabia) married into Bulgarian Christian families to escape pogroms in Russia, Bessarabia, or Poland. Later, their descendants, now part of some Bulgarian Christian families, returned with their families to Bulgaria. You might be able to find some of these descendants with DNA testing from autosomal tests such as the Family Finder DNA test and FamilyTreeDNA which might be able to show DNA matches up to five generations back.
When you search records, the languages will change with the ethnicity of the people being recorded. Records are found not only in Bulgarian, the main language, but also in Turkish, Greek, and Old Church Slavonic as well as the Sephardic records of synagogues and Jewish schools in Hebrew and Judezmo/
Ladino. Credit and acknowledgement for any genealogy information on historic Bulgaria, Croatia, and Macedonia is given to the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.
Middle Eastern, Armenian, and Greek ancestry in Sacramento
If your ancestors were Armenian living in the Levant you might have the name Ter or Der before a surname designating an Armenian Apostolic priest followed by a name ending in ian or yan meaning “son of” such as Manvelian or a place name such as Halebian (from Aleppo) when translated into English. Other examples include Haroutunian, Mouradian, or Mikoyan.
If you’re Armenian searching Turkish census records, the pre-1920 border of Armenian habitation usually was south of Lake Van, near Mush (which was in Armenia), and Bairt and Dersim (which were in Turkey). Each religion had a different status under the former Ottoman Empire—Moslems first class and conscripted into the military. All other religions, not conscripted, but taxed.
Step 1: Narrow the Categories
Categorize the religion—not only Catholic, but Melkite Catholic or Maronite Catholic. Antiochian Syrian Orthodox or Roman Catholic? Byzantine Catholic (Byzantic) or Greek Orthodox? Lebanese immigrant to Cairo, Egypt and Coptic Orthodox? Moslem? Jewish? Druze? Armenian Apostolic? Sephardim? Ashkenazim? Protestant? Greek Orthodox? Greek Catholic? Bulgarian or Romanian Orthodox? Serbian? Croatian?
Color code cards or files noting the date, religion, ethnic group, and town. When did the immigrant arrive in the US from a Middle Eastern country? Was it before or after the end of the former Ottoman Empire? For example, Antioch, now in Turkey used to be in Syria before World War II. And before 1918, Syria and Lebanon was one province under the Ottoman Empire. So use old and new maps to see what country to emphasize at which dates.
Step 2: National Archives in the Country of Origin
Maps of old neighborhoods are important. Start with the national archives in the country of origin. For Syria that would be the Syrian National Archives in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, or Hama where court records are archived for the years 1517 to 1519. If the relatives lived before the end of the Ottoman Empire or before World War I, also search the census records of the former Ottoman Empire in Turkey rather than the archives in the country of origin that may not have existed before the end of the Ottoman Empire.
Jewish Genealogy in the Ottoman Empire
Records stand alone rather than in groups of catalogs. Check separate Jewish genealogy sources and synagogue documents for the Jewish records of Mizrahi and Sephardim, such as marriage ketubim, bar mitzvah records, births, deaths, rabbinical documents such as a ‘Get’ for a divorce or a yiccus or pedigree.
If you’re checking Sephardic (Jewish) records of the former Ottoman Empire, there’s an excellent article on Jewish genealogy published in Los Muestros magazine, a publication of Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish genealogy titled Resources for Sephardic Genealogy. Also see the magazine, Los Muestros for archived Sephardic genealogy articles. See the site for the European Sephardic Institute at sepharad.org.
Another excellent publication of Jewish genealogy, Avotaynu maintains a Web site. If you’re looking for Jewish records in the Middle East, also check the Sephardic associations, for example, Sephardim.com. Look for diaries and journals, books, cook books, bibles, family photos and memorabilia, house keys, and maps of neighborhoods and houses in the town of origin.
For Sephardic genealogy in the former Ottoman Empire, contact the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture website to learn how to interpret calendars and how to read birth certificates. You’ll learn how to decipher the handwritten entries using Arabic script. Regardless of the religion of the individual, this site shows you how to read the certificates written with certain types of scripts.
The site also shows the dialects spoken in the various areas of the Ottoman Empire. Also there is information on how to read the Arabic script but Turkish language writing on gravestones, especially in Turkish cemeteries. The site shows you how to read the alphabet encountered in genealogical research in the former Ottoman Empire. Emphasis is on interpreting Sephardic birth certificates.
Step 3: How to Translate and Locate without Surnames
What’s in the census? Ottoman census records for the period 1831-1872 were compilations of male names and addresses for fiscal and military purposes. Instead of population counts, the Ottoman records contain the name of the head of household, male family members, ages, occupation, and property.
You won’t find surnames in old records. Most Middle Eastern countries didn’t require surnames until after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. If you’re searching Middle Eastern genealogy before 1924, begin by familiarizing yourself with the record keeping and social history of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkish language written in Arabic script is the key to searching genealogy records in European and Middle Eastern areas formerly ruled by the Ottomans. You’ll need an Arabic-English dictionary or instruction guide that at least gives you the basic Arabic script alphabet.
You’ll also need the same type of phrase book with alphabet translation for modern Turkish written using Latin letters. You can put the both together to figure out phrases.
Find in your town a graduate student or teacher from abroad who reads Arabic script and modern Turkish. Hire the student or teacher to copy the records you want when overseas. Barter services. Or contact the Middle East history and area studies, archaeology, or languages departments of numerous colleges. Who teaches courses in both Turkish and Arabic? Contact private language schools such as Language School International, Inc.
Step 4: What Religious Group Will You Search?
Social history is the key to genealogy. Records that existed under the Ottoman Empire listed names of the head of household and parents, residence, dates and places of birth and baptism, marriage, death and burial. Records also have entries for ages for marriage and death.
Baptisms included names of the godparents. Deaths sometimes included the cause of death. For Christians, entries sometimes identified residence for those not of the parish. Check the state archives in the country of your ancestors and also in Turkey. Then check the court, notary, and property records.
Contact the parish churches to look at parish registers and synagogues to look at the Jewish registers. If you’re checking Bulgaria, Macedonia, or Greece, numerous pre-1872 registers are located in Greece. “The Bulgarian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Patriarchate in Greece before 1872,” notes researcher, Khalile Mehr. Find out whether a country had its state church subordinate to another country’s church with records archived in a different language.
Step 5: Check Business, School Alumni, Medical, Military, Marriage, and Property Records
Research wills and marriage records in order to track down property records. Search medical and dental records, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, asylums, midwives’ records, marriage certificates, business licenses, work permits, migration papers, passports, military pensions, notaries, sales records of homes or businesses, or any other court, military, or official transaction that might have occurred.
If you’re Armenian, check out the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC). Or for the Balkans, look at the website for the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe.
Step 6: Search the ‘Annual’ Census and the Population Registers
Check recorded births and deaths in the first Ottoman census of 1831. Each census focused on tabulating male names to find Moslem men to conscript into the military service known as “The Army.” Before 1881, the annual census registered only the male population. Search the names of committee members. Committees were set up each year to register the males in order to keep tabs on migrations in and out of each district. When the census wasn’t taken, the Population Register of Moslem males kept careful records of migrations.
Find out in which local district or ‘kaza’ your ancestor lived. Ottomans called their annual census the sicil-i nüfus after 1881 or the nüfus between 1831-1850. You can research the Ottoman Census and Population Registers named in Turkish the Nüfus Defter. Ottoman population demographics and statistics adjusted to satisfy tax desires, since the non-Muslim population was taxed but not conscripted into military service.
The annual census didn’t cover every year. Check the Ottoman census for the years1881-1883, and 1903-1906. Family historians can search each census as well as separate registers to view supplemental registration of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. After 1881, the census takers counted all individuals (not only Muslim males) in the census and in the population registers. Sometimes people who thought all genealogy records were destroyed in fires in their native country are surprised to learn that census records may be archived far away in Turkey.
If you need text or a website translated into numerous languages, check out the Systran site. You can translate free an entire Web site or 150 words of text. Also check out or browse the paperback book, Tracing Your Baltic, Scandinavian, Eastern European, & Middle Eastern Genealogy. Sacramento and Davis have numerous genealogy clubs by either ethnic group or as a whole family history research society. There’s also the family history library on Eastern Avenue near Marconi Avenue.
The Davis Genealogy Club meets at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St., Davis, CA 95616. For African American genealogy in Northern California, check out the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California. AAGSNC meets monthly at the Oakland Public Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602.
To search the former Ottoman Empire Genealogy, see: McGowan, Bruce William, 1933- Defter-i mufassal-i liva-i Sirem: an Ottoman revenue survey dating from the reign of Selim II. / Bruce William McGowan. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, 1967. Also See: Bogaziçi University Library websites or Turkish Taxation site at the Seyhan Library archives for looking up tax records of people who lived in Ottoman Empire and payed taxes. See: Seyhan Library.
Genealogists need to know about copyright laws depending upon how they are using the genealogy information found. See, U.S. Copyright and Genealogy or Copyright Fundamentals for Genealogy, by Michael Patrick Goad, a section of Copyright Concepts: A series of articles on U.S. copyright. The author presents various aspects of the copyright issues that affect genealogists in an easily understood format.
In Sacramento, browse the Genealogical Book Collection at the Sacramento Public Library. Also check out meetings of the Mission Oaks Genealogy Society that meets monthly at the Mission Oaks community center. Or visit the East Bay Genealogy Society. In Sacramento, check out the Mission Oaks Genealogy Society. This club meets at the Mission Oaks Senior Citizen/Community Center at 4701 Gibbons Dr., Carmichael, CA. Also see the Online Genealogy Sources site from the Sacramento Public Library and Sacramento Regional Family History Center.
Hispanic Genealogy Societies in Sacramento
Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR). SHHAR is a nonprofit, volunteer organization, whose goal is to help Hispanics/Latinos research their family history.
African American Genealogical Society of Northern California
Sacramento Regional Family History Center
If you’re looking at tombstone rubbings, check out the following sites:
- Association For Gravestone Studies
- Cemetery Transcription Library – Internment.net
- City of the Silent
- Cyndi’s List – Cemeteries & Funeral Homes
- Monumental Inscriptions for Family Historians – Graves – War Memorials – Monuments, presented by British-Genealogy.com. See the section on “Recording Monument Inscriptions.”
- Political Graveyard, The (Politicians in historic cemeteries)
- Tombstone Transcription Project (Part of the USGenWeb Project)
Web Resources on Former Ottoman Empire Genealogy Web Sites
Albanian Research List
Armenian Genealogical Society
Historical Society of Jews from Egypt
Lebanon Genealogy Map
Lebanese descendants of the Bourjaily Family (Abou R’Jaily)
Descendants of Atallah Abou Rjeily, born about 1712
Lebanese Club of New York City:
Lebanese Club, NYC at Rootsweb.com
Middle East Genealogy
Middle East Genealogy by country
Syrian and Lebanese Genealogy
Syrian/Lebanese/Jewish/Farhi Genealogy Site (Flowers of the Orient) Farhi.org
Turkish Genealogy Discussion Group
Turkish Telephone Directories Information: Türk Telekomünikasyon (Telecommunication)
Croatia Genealogy Cross Index
Eastern Europe Genealogy
Eastern European Genealogical Society, Inc.
Eastern Europe Index
Romanian American Heritage Center
Slavs, South: Cultural Society
Ukrainian Genealogical and Historical Society of Canada