Your ancestors in Slovenia
Slovenia (officially The Republic of Slovenia) is a country most Europeans will recognise as part of the former Yugoslavia. Ljubljana is the capital with Maribor, Kranj, Celje, Koper, Novo Mesto, Velenje, Murska Sobota as other major cities. Wanting to trace your Slovene ancestors? This blog will help you get started.
See https://myfamilygenealogy.co.uk/guidance/ for my 5 steps to discovering your ancestors.
Republic of Slovenia
Slovenia and its territory in the past has formed parts of many different states: The Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Carolingian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Republic of Venice, the French-administered Illyrian Provinces of the First French Empire of Napoleon I, the Austrian Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Modern history begins with the Slovenes exercising self-determination by co-founding the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. By December 1918 they had merged with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
Slovenia was occupied by Germany, Italy and Hungary during World War 2 (WW2) 1941-1945. A tiny area was transferred to the Independent state of Croatia, a Nazi puppet state. After WW2 Slovenia became a founding member of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. This was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963. It was allied with the Eastern block, but never subscribed to the Warsaw Pact.
In 1991 Slovenia became the first republic that split from Yugoslavia, becoming an independent sovereign state. In 2004 it joined NATO and the European Union, becoming the first formerly communist country to join the Eurozone in 2007.
Slovakia is divided into 58 administrative units, 212 municipalities .
The majority of the population is Roman Catholic (according to the 2002 census, 57.8% of the population). In 2002 less than 1% of the population identified as Protestant. Around 2.2% of the population is Eastern Orthodox, with most members belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Slovenia has a Jewish community and despite losses suffered during the Holocaust, Judaism still numbers a few hundred members mostly living in Ljubljana. Islam claims around 2.4% of the population, most Slovenian Muslims came from Bosnia. Around 10% of Slovenes declared themselves to be atheists in 2002.
Source: Wikipedia and gotosloveniatravel.com/, accessed 2020
Civil Registration (birth, marriage and death) records are generally held in provincial archives and civil registration offices. Church records (christening/baptism, marriage and burial) may be kept at a local or national level (parish or the local civil registry office, archdiocesan or diocesan archives or the Archive of Slovenia).
Birth, marriage or death records are civil documents. These documents may be found in archives outside of Slovenia located in Hungary, Austria and Italy.
The records begin in 1868 for the western edge of Slovenia and in 1895 for the eastern edge of Slovenia. For the north-western part they begin in 1924 and last until 1943.
The civil registration of deaths was implemented for part of Slovenia by the Germans during WW2. The whole of Slovenia was registered following WW2.
Some civil registers exist from the period of the French occupation (1812-1814).
In addition to UK Birth Records the Slovene records additionally include the religious preference of parents.
Marriage records and death records generally record the same information as UK records.
A snapshot of a family, on one night of the year.
The following censuses for Ljubljana, formerly Laibach in the Krain province of the Austrian Empire, are available in the Historical Archive Ljubljana and through FamilySearch. Censuses include the City of Ljubljana, (German place names are in parentheses) the suburbs of Gradišče [Gradischa], Kapucinsko [Kapuzina], Karlovsko [Karlstädt], Karolinsko [Karolinengrund], Krakovsko [Krakau], Kurjavas [Hühnerdorf], Poljansko [Pollana], Sv. Petr [Sct. Peters] and Trnovsko [Tirnau].
The oldest census in the Historical Archive Ljubljana is for Aufnahmsbogen dated 1830. This census covers people who then lived within the area of the City of Ljubljana and its suburbs.
A population census was carried out in 1857 and is written in German.
In 1869 a new general census of Austria was taken. The census forms are bi-lingual (written in German and Slovene).
Further population censuses were taken in 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1921, 1928 and 1931.
Emigrants and Immigrants
Emigration (leaving) and Immigration (arriving) records tend to be applications of emigrants and lists of those departing.
These records are stored at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia. 19C emigrants had to prove fulfilment of obligations concerning land or property and young men had to prove they were not subject to military service. The records begin in 1857 and continue up to the present day. Applications normally record:
- names and dates of birth for all immigrants
- other information may vary.
Trieste, the main Austrian port, assumed the function of the port of immigration in 1904. In 1912 the Trieste port authorities begin compiling detailed passenger records that included:
- name and surname
- marital status
- last place of residence
- port of destination
- the ship
- date of departure
A copy of these records for the period 1912-1914 can be found in the Austrian State Archive in Vienna. One copy for 1914 is also kept by the State Archive in Trieste. Nearly 87,000 emigrants who emigrated during those years via Trieste to the USA, South America and Canada are noted. Nearly half of all emigrants came from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while the rest of them were predominantly from Russia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Romania.
Parish Registers generally detail Baptism, Marriage and Burial. They may be used as an alternative or substitute for civil registration.
The Catholic Church mandated the keeping of parish registers in the mid-1500s.
In the early 1780s, Emperor Joseph II structured the parishes.
A tabular format for the registers was adopted in 1770 and modified in 1784.
Evangelical registers were mandated in 1782, Jewish in 1779, Orthodox in 1864, Old Catholic in 1877, Baptist in 1905 and Muslim in 1927.
Duplicate registers for civil authorities was mandated in 1835 for Roman Catholic and 1829 for Evangelical register’s.
To gain access to these records access the parish or the local civil registry office (from the 1880s to the present day).
Earlier originals and transcripts are preserved in archdiocesan or diocesan archives. Some non-Catholic originals are in the Archive of Slovenia.
Key contacts and useful websites
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Robert Parker is a Genealogist and Trainer, based in Kent. He delivers courses, guidance, talks and research services for those interested in tracing their ancestors. See https://myfamilygenealogy.co.uk/guidance/ for his 5 steps to discovering your ancestors. Contact Robert to discuss your requirements without obligation.
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