A Guide and Index to
Croatian Coats of Arms

By Adam S. Eterovich

The Index covers over 7000 Croatian family names and variations of names. Each name is referenced with the source of grant. Some names were never formally listed and were found on grave stones, house doors or on church floors. Names were recorded in the Hungarian, Austro-German, Venetian-Italian and Croatian languages. The Croatian language was formalized in 1848; most Croatian nobility were granted prior to 1848 and names appear corrupted with many variations. Dalmatian and Istrian nobility used two forms of their names in some cases, such as Mladinic-Mladineo or Capogrosso-Glavinic. The Italian alphabet does not have a Č, Ę, ®, ©, K, D®, Š. Kovacevic became Covacevich; Basanic-Bassanich. Croatian nobility grants and records were found from Vienna in Austria to Budapest, Hungary and Venice in Italy. Croatian nobility records can be found in all archival centers in Croatia and in personal family archives. Many more names will be found with further research. No Guide or Index exists to Croatian coat of arms or heraldry. Bibliography included.

Croatia Proper, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Vojvodina all had the same source or influence of grants of nobility. Croatia was ruled and influenced by Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Venice and her nobility can be best illustrated as follows: 0ld Croatian hereditary nobility; Austrian-Hungarian grants; Venetian grants to Dalmatian nobility. A further detailed breakdown of the various parts of Croatia and the years involved would be as follows:

Croatia Proper

Hereditary nobility; Feudal nobility; List of nobility or grant of Coat of Arms-1438; Habsburg nobility grants - 1527-1740; Austrian or Hungarian - 1740-1806; Start of military orders or grants to Croatians on the Military Frontier; Austro-Hungarian-Croatian - 1806-1918.


Old Dalmatian nobility and those escaping from Bosnia recognized by Venice 1409-1520; Venice granted titles to those who fought the Turks and gave others the title of Count - 1520-1718; Majority of Dalmatian arms were granted in this period - 1718-1797; Austria occupation recognized all Venetian-Dalmatian nobility - 1797-1806; French occupation took away some privileges-1806-1813; Austrian occupation recognizes only 20% of Dalmatian nobility - 1814-1918.


Old Croatian hereditary titles; Feudal nobility - 1377-1463; Hercegovinean nobility to 1482. All grants of arms and heraldry stopped with the conquest of Bosnia and Hercegovina by the Ottoman Turk. The original grants were lands given to the nobility under a strict feudal system. Later Coats of Arms were granted, then finally lists were published as Nobility Lists or Rolls of Nobility.

Titles of Nobility

Titles of the nobility varied somewhat due to the influence of foreign rulers and the time period involved. The titles were somewhat different in various parts of Croatia: Old Croatian Hereditary Nobility Knezova--Princes; Velikasa--High Nobility. Bosnian Nobility Knez -- Prince; Vojvoda--Duke; Plemic--Nobleman. Habsburg - Austria Period Knez--Prince; Grof--Count; Barun--Baron; Vitez--Knight; Plemic--Nobleman. Dalmatian Cities Vlastela--High Nobility; Vlastelicici--Nobility. Venice Conte--Count; Nobile--Nobleman.

Study of Arms

The study of Croatian coats of arms and other historic sciences on the professional level started in Croatia in the seventeenth century, particularly with the works by Pavao Ritter Vitezovic from Senj. The contributions have been especially notable since the nineteenth century. Ivan Bojnicic published ā€¶Der Adel von Kroatien und Slavonienā€» (The Noblemen of Croatia and Slavonia). Beside Bojnicic the most prominent expert in this field in the 20th century was Bartol Zmajic. He was a baron, a descendant of a reputable noble family. He spent his whole working life of forty years in the Croatian State Archives in Zagreb as an archivist and a senior archivist, mostly of earlier historic records and published the first detailed insight into the development of Croatian heraldry.

Union of Hungary with the Twelve Croatian Clans

The twelve chief Croatian clans, presumably descendants of the original tribes that had taken possession of the country in the sixth or seventh centuries, were the

  • Kacic,
  • Svacic,
  • Subic,
  • Kukara,
  • Gusic,
  • Cudomiric,
  • Mogoric, or Muric,
  • Karinjani-Lapcani,
  • Polecic,
  • Lacnicic,
  • Jamometic or Jamonstic, and
  • Tugomiric or Tudomiric.

Croatia had no male heir. It was with the head families of these clans that the Hungarian king entered into discussions as to the terms on which he was to ascend the throne of the Trpimirovici. In 1102 they recognized Koloman as their sovereign. The basic condition that the clans appear to have laid down to the Hungarian ruler was that the Croatian nation in general should retain full possession of Croatian territory and national property; more particularly the twelve noble families or clans named, who ruled were confirmed in their possession of this territory.

Turopolje Nobility

In mid winter of 1249 the Mongols rode across the frozen Danube river, and, in pursuance of their usual tactic of following to the death the king of any force which dared to oppose them in the field, part of their army set out to run Bela to earth. The Hungarian king at this time ennobled the entire community of Turopolje near Zagreb for its services in his defense and in supplying him and his entourage with food and other necessities. But Zagreb could not be held against the Mongol storm and the king made for the coast with the Mongol ponies almost on his heels. Zagreb itself was largely destroyed.

Free Communities

A certain number of plemena (clans) and bratsva remained free. They came to constitute free communities which operated under the general aegis of the lords of the surrounding territories. Sometimes these communities acquired titles of group nobility, Plemenite opcine. Often, too, they had serfs of their own. Communities of this kind such as those of Turopolje, Pokupje, Draganic, Domagovic, Cvetkovic, and of the Korana region, occupied entire villages and succeeded in conserving their privileges until 1848.

Books Available

  • Eterovich, Adam S.: A Guide and Index to Croatian Coats of Arms. San Carlos: Ragusan Press, 2003. 70 pages. Soft Cover. Spiral Bound. $15.00. An index and guide to the Nobility of Croatia. Over 7000 names and variations.
  • Eterovich, Adam S.: A Guide to Croatian Genealogy. San Carlos, Calif.: Ragusan Press, 1995. 50 pages. Booklet. $14.00. Includes Maps, Translations, Archives.
  • Eterovich, Adam S.: Croatian Popes and Saints and the Croatian Checkered Arms. San Carlos: Ragusan Press, 1998. 60 pages. $15.00. A booklet containing all forms of family and state arms with the Croatian checkered arms. Thirteen Popes had similar Arms.

Adam S. Eterovich
2527 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, California 94070


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