Croatian Symbol/Hrvatski Greb: courtesy of

Tomislav Mikulic

Croatian Genealogy Newsletter

Issue No. 21, 2012                                                    

On the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this issue commemorates those Croats that either perished on the oceanliner's disastrous maiden voyage in 1912, or survived the ordeal. In addition further information is provided on the Croatian Genealogical Society, which was described in the previous issue. More data is presented on the cemetery listings for Lošinj, first introduced in the previous issue.

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Croats on the Titanic

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. There were about a hundred Croatians involved in the Titanic tragic sinking on April 15th, 1912. Perhaps up to 30 Croats were on the Titanic and approximately 70 Croats were on the rescue ship, the Carpathia.

I was drawn to the story from what I had heard about my grandfather, Ivan Karcich. He had met a man in Croatia who claimed to have been on the Titanic and told a story of survivors in lifeboats beating others with their oars, those who were clamouring on to their overladen boats and threatening to capsize them. This man’s surname was Badurina from Punta Kriza on the island of Cres, and he had met my grandfather while recuperating in a Rijeka hospital following World War II. Though the story could not be verified, Badurina is not a name found on the Titanic, the following details of those Croats on the Titanic can be told.

Titanic Lifeboats
          A Titanic lifeboat after the sinking

There are several published lists of the Titanic victims and survivors. Walter Lord in his 1955 book A night to remember has a list of victims and survivors and the website Enyclopdia Titanica ( or proved to be very informative.

From the lists we know that several Croats and a few Bosnians and Slovenians embarking on the Titanic at Southampton, England. They were Cerin Balkić, Grego Cačić, Luka Cačić, Maria Cačić, Manda Cačić, Bartol Cor, Ivan Cor, Redjo Delalić, Jovan Dimić, Joso Ecimović, Ignaz Hendeković, Tido Kekić, Nicola Lulić, Stefo Pavlović, Matilda Petranec, Mile Smiljanić, Ivan Strilić, and Stefan Turcin. The ship then traveled across the English Channel to Cherbourg, France where Josip Drazenović and Jovan Stanković came on board.

The Titanic then proceeded across the Atlantic. At 11:40 PM she struck the iceberg. The following is an account of the incident by William Taylor, a fireman on the Titanic as described by David Gleicher:

“He [Taylor] was asleep when the collision occurred. The alarm bell for accidents rang outside his door. About ten minutes later he heard it reported that water was coming in #1 hatch at the bow end of the ship-- the first cargo hold. 'We saw it (the water) come bursting up through the hatches.' He and the other firemen packed their bags and went to the mess room to wait for orders. An Officer then ordered them up on deck with their lifebelts on. Taylor's assigned station, lifeboat 15, was 'shoved out...and I was ordered into it.' " Lifeboat number 15 was launched from the starboard side of the Titanic at 1:35 PM with 70 individuals.

A number of women and children were on lifeboat 15 when it was rescued, as were a few men. On board the lifeboat were Ivan Jalševac, and Nikola Lulić. Ivan Jalševac, age 29, from Topolovac, Croatia who came on board the Titanic with a third class ticket and was there along with Franz Karun, age 39 and his 4 year old daughter, Manca. Franz was travelling back to his family in the United States after visiting his hometown, Milje, Slovenia north of Ljubljana. The other third class passenger on board lifeboat 15 was Nikola Lulić, age 29 from Konjsko Brdo in the Lika region of Croatia.

At an inquiry afterwards, the testimony of the firemen on board lifeboat No. 15 could not agree on whether the boat was loaded on the boat deck, A deck or B deck nor could the testimony determine the composition of men, women and children passengers who came on board the lifeboat. But it was determined that No. 15 was one of the last group of lifeboats to be loaded and lowered on the starboard side.

Nikola Lulić claimed that he 'Swam for it' and was picked up by the passing boat, but he may have been entered the lifeboat before it was lowered. Ivan Jalševac in some interviews, said he leapt overboard, in others he said those interviews were incorrect and that he in fact was with the Karuns in their lifeboat.

Jalševac goes on to say, "I was sleeping when a giant steamship hit the iceberg. Of course, at first, no one knew what had happened. I got dressed calmly and lit a cigarette. I went upstairs to see what the hell was going on I saw a fuss and people were running, I immediately thought of myself: in the worst case, I will have to jump into the sea and swim. And I will see to it myself. I thought of my children, wife brothers and sisters, and my father at home. Still, I went back to get my suitcase, but then I realized it was impossible people were running through water."

"I jumped right back, determined to get to the lifeboats. But there the trouble: stairs were full of first-class gentlemen, so no one could go up. I climbed like a squirrel on the ropes on the side and got on the top of the staircase. I used the help of my strong muscles. I elbowed my way left and right until I pushed through the end of the deck. And then - splash! Into the boat that was just being lowered. That is how I was saved."

"There were 45 of us only four men and the rest were women. That was the lifeboat before the last one from the sinking ship. I had to assist in rowing the boat."

"When we were about 30 fathoms away from Titanic, I saw her tilting down with the stern toward the water, and I heard something like an explosion two or three times. I saw her stern lifting high into the air and plunging into the sea completely.."

"We were left along in the boat. Those were the difficult hours. Thank God, we suddenly saw a faint light from afar. It looked like a star, and then it grew and grew till finally we realized it was a ship which came to our aid. It had been the Carpathia, and we were being taken aboard one by one. That is how we were taken to New York. Good men waited for us there, placed us in automobiles, and led us to St. Vincent hospital."

While Lulić was in the water, he allegedly managed to grab a boy and swam with him to one of the lifeboats to which they were both pulled into. Recent research has shown that Lulić was saved in a less dramatic way. It appears that half an hour before the sinking he was on a raised stern of the main deck. He got onto lifeboat number 15 where William Murdoch was the man responsible for allowing Lulić to embark.

On Sunday, April 14, 1912 the Carpathia was traveling from New York to Rijeka (also known as Fiume), a port in what is today Croatia. Wireless operator Harold Cottam received the Titanic’s distress signal and immediately notified the Captain, Arthur Henry Rostron, who had been resting in his cabin. The captain ordered the ship to sail at the full speed of 17 knots, towards the Titanic’s position about 60 miles away. Indeed, since the ship was working on steam, to ensure maximum speed he commanded that no hot water should be used for any reason so that maximum heat could be used to drive the engines.

He also ordered that all lifeboats be made ready for launching, all spare blankets be made available for survivors, all available cabins including those of officers, hot food be prepared, and other similar arrangements. The area had many floating icebergs and traveling at full speed could put the Carpathia in a similar danger to the one that sunk the Titanic. Nonetheless, Captain Rostron was determined to offer whatever help he could, even at the risk of his own ship. Carpathia arrived at the scene of the Titanic disaster at 4:10 in the morning, about two hours after the disaster, and rescued the 712 people who were floating in the lifeboats. Rostron’s prompt actions helped save the Titanic survivors. For their bravery and dedication the crew were awarded medals of honour.

Surviving Titanic Crew Members          
Surviving Titanic Crew Members

Sources include:

  • Gleicher, David. The Fatal Journey of Third Class Men on the Titanic
  • "New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 Mar 2013), Nicola Lulic, 24 Feb 1910; citing Philadelphia, United States National Archives, Washington, D.C.



Croats who survived the Titanic

Out of the 30 or so Croatians who on the Titanic heading for the United States, only 3 survived the tragedy. Nikola Lulić, Ivan Jalševac and Mara Osman managed to leave the ship less than an hour before the Titanic sank. Jalševac and Lulić eventually returned to Croatia but Osman managed to get to America and stayed there for the rest of her life.

Nikola Lulić was born on February 24, 1883. He was 29 years of age when he boarded the Titanic as a third class passenger in Southampton on April 10 912. His last residence had been in Konjsko Brdo, Croatia and his destination was Chicago, Illinois. Whilst serving in the Austrian Army, in 1902, he decided to desert and leave for America. He went to Chisholm, Minnesota and worked as a miner in the "Alpena Mine". In the Autumn of 1911 he came back to Croatia for half a year to visit his family. He was married to his second wife have first been married to Manda for 7 years. With his second wife, Marta he had two children in Croatia. It was after his visit with his family in Konjsko Brdo that Nicola set sail on the Titanic. He ended up on boat number 15, was picked up by the Carpathia and landed in New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912. After arriving in New York on the rescue ship Carpathia, Niloka's companion, Jan Jalševac described the event, "as to my friend Nikola Lulić, I have to say, that he was rescued by fetching the cap of a sailor, which he put on his head. So he could make his way to a boat." After arriving in New York, Lulić went to his uncle Ross Rosinić who resided at 118 Tocence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. After the First World War Lulić returned to Croatia. He earned his living as a farmer, but worked many times in France as a seasonal worker between the two World Wars, accompanied by his two sons. ”My father said Nikola completely changed and that the Titanic tragedy left its mark,” said Mile Lulić, a relative of Titanic survivor Nikola Lulić in an interview to a Croatian daily newspaper. His wife Marta predeceased him. Later on, Lulić secluded himself from the inhabitants of Konjsko Brdo. Nikola Lulić died September 20, 1962 in Perusic, Croatia at the age of 79 in the house of his youngest daughter Mara. His grave is also in Perusic.

As for Nicola Lulich, from Konjsko Brdo, who returned to Croatia after World War I, there is a Nicola Lulich, also from Konjsko Brdo in the immigration debarkation records for New York City for February, 24, 1910, but this person is listed as single and 18 years old, which would make him about ten years younger than the married Nicola Lulich.

Nikola Lulić

Ivan Jalševac was born in 1883 and died in June 1945. He lived in Topolovac, near the town of Sisak, Croatia. He came on board the Titanic to go to Galesburg. A labourer Jalševac was 29 when he boarded the Titanic. He was married to Kathrin, whom he left in Topolovac. To reach New York, he bought his third class ticket from the agent Im. Obersteg & Cie., of Basel, Switzerland for 250 Swiss francs. His ticket number was 349240, costing £7 17s 11d. Jalševac was rescued by lifeboat number 15.

Jalševac's family has kept written details of the night that the Titanic sunk. Ivan, who always spoke about that night to his family. The disaster affected his life as he witnessed the death of his friends which haunted him for the rest of his life. His nephew describes his story as “my uncle told me that a strong crash awakened him. That was the moment when the Titanic hit the iceberg. Everyone was shocked at first, but after a few minutes, when the passengers and crew realised what had happened, panic ran rampant. Passengers, suddenly facing the possibility of ending their lives in the cold Atlantic Ocean, were petrified. The lower deck passengers were not allowed to come out. The ship’s staff locked all the exits from the lower decks. There was no room for lower class passengers to be saved. They were crossed out automatically for a rescue. A terrible noise was heard from the deck of the ship and the occasional gun shot, probably to make some order among the panic stricken mass." “My uncle and two of his friends, Drazen and Stanković, tried to save as many women and children as possible. That was their last meeting alive. Ivan Jalševac never saw his friends again. He managed to escape through to the main deck and to jump into the cold Atlantic. That was his only chance out alive. In the cold ocean, next to the sinking Titanic was one of the lifeboats full of women and children. He reached for it and thankfully the women helped and took him into the boat because the sailors showed no interest in saving him."

Jalsevac Titanic-Jasevac tombstone
         Jalševac           His Tombstone

An message board posting mentions that Mara Banski (née Osman) was married, but divorced and had a son, Frank born 1904 and deceased in 1980 in Yolo, California. It also claims that she died in 1938, possibly in Wisconsin. From another source we read that after her ordeal on the Titanic, Mara went to her sister's, a Mrs. Rudolph Raulovich in Steelton, Pennsylvania. Mara, also known as Maria or Mary, was mistakenly recorded on immigration records as single and of Polish nationality. Her son Frank Banski who died in Yolo is recorded on the Social Security Death Index. That is sum of what is known for certain about her and her family. A Mary Banski, about the same age as Mara is listed in the 1920 U.S. federal census in Chicago, but no Frank is listed with this family.






Croats, Bosnians, and Slovenians who perished on the Titanic

At 4:10 AM the Carpathia arrived at the site of the sinking and began rescuing survivors. By 8:10 AM she picked up the last lifeboat with survivors and left the area at 08:50 bound for Pier 54 in New York City. Of the 711 passengers and crew rescued by the Carpathia, six, including first class passenger William F. Hoyt, either died in a lifeboat during the night or on board the Carpathia the next morning, and were buried at sea. The remaining 150 or so unclaimed bodies were picked up four days later by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett four days later and either buried at sea or taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia for burial. Of these 121 were taken to the non-denominational Fairview Lawn Cemetery; 19 were buried in the Roman Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery, and 10 were taken to the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery. The bodies of two Titanic passengers, Jozef Drazenović and Ignjac Hendeković, were recovered from the sea by the Mackay-Bennett. Drazenović's body was buried at sea on April 21, 1912, while Hendeković was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Halifax.

Jozef Drazenović age 33 was from Hrastilnica, Croatia. He embarked on the Titanic at Cherbourg and his destination was New York. He was recovered from the sea with a striped green and grey cloth suit, a brown striped shirt and black boots. On him were a pipe bowl, passport and a set of beads, plus $25.00 and 5 krones in cash. Ignjac Hendeković, 28 went on board the Titanic in Southampton on Wednesday April 10. Hendeković was from Vagovina, Croatia and he came on board the Titanic with Matilda Petranec, both travelling to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is described as having fair hair and a light moustache. He was found with a blue coat, blue striped pants, white shirt with embroidered front, leather sandals and a brown belt. He had on him a knife and wallet with $12 in notes and 72 cents. Miss Matilda Petranec, 28 years a widowed servant from Vagovina, Croatia, boarded the Titanic at Southampton together with Ignjac Hendeković. Her body was not recovered and her ticket was found on the body of Hendeković.

Halifax Cemetery          
Titanic Tombstones at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery

There were four individuals on the Titanic from Kula, Croatia, all with the same surname and chances are some if not all were related. They were Jego Grga Cačić, Luka Cačić, Marija Cačić, and Manda Cačić. All of the individuals from Kula had Chicago as their final destination, but none of their bodies were recovered from the ocean. They also had in common the ticket agent, Johann Isidor Büchel, Buchs from whom they paid 170 Swiss francs for the passage on the Titanic. Jego Grga Cačić, age 18 years had ticket No. 315091, Luka Cačić, 38, ticket No. 315089, Marija Cačić, 30, No. 315084, and Manda Cačić, 21, No. 315087.

A couple of passengers, Petar Calić and Jovo Calić, were from Brezik, Croatia, both 17 years old and boarded together at Southampton and both destined for Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. From Vagovina, Hungary came Milan Karajić, age 30 and Stefo Pavlovic age 32. Both boarded in Southampton, but Karajić was heading for Youngstown, Ohio, while Pavlović was going to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Both were general labourers, married with third class tickets and neither of their bodies was found. Then from Konjsko, Croatia three Oresković's, Luka, Jelka, and Marija, all farmers and all three were related and had boarded Titanic at Southampton. Their destination was South Chicago, Illinois. Neither one of them made it, but Marija's mother received a grant of £50 from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund. Mate Pokrnić age 17 and Tome Pokrnić age 24 were both from Bukovac, Croatia. As 3rd class passenger they embarked at Southampton as well on April 12 Mate had ticket No. 315095 and Tome had ticket No. 315092. They were both going to South Chicago, Illinois. Neither one made it alive.

Redjo Delalić 25 years of age was from Batic, Bosnia as was Tido Rekić, age 38, and Husein Sivić, age 40. All three were heading to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania but did not survive. Number P267. Husein Sivić's widow and three children received a grant of £100 from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund in March 1913.

Three Titanic victims were from Slovenia. These were Janko Vovk age 21 and another Janko Vovk age 22, both from Jesenice and Jakob Pasić from Streklevac. Both Janko's were going to St. Joseph, Minnesota, while Jakob was headed to Aurora, Illinois. All three appeared to be single and perished on the Titanic. Jakob bought his ticket No. 315097 for £8 13s 3d, equal to 385.50 Swiss francs from agent Rommel & Cie. of Basel, Switzerland.

Some of the others from Croatia that perished with the sinking of the Titanic were Ivan Strilić age 27 years from Siroka Kula with a destination for South Chicago; Jeso Culumović, age 17 from Lipova Glavica going to Hammond, Indiana; Jeso Culumović, age 17 years from Lipova Glavica, also going to Hammond, Indiana; Branko Dakić, age 19 and classed as general labourer; Mirko Dika Age: 17 years from Podgori headed to Vancouver, British Columbia; Mile Smiljanić age37 from Pisac headed to New York; Mile Smiljanić, age 37 from Pisac on his way to New York; Stjepan Turcin, age 36 from Bratina headed to Youngstown, Ohio. Another Croatian passenger was Jovan Dimić, age 42 years from Ostrovica, Hungary, his destination was Red Lodge. Most were unmarried farmers working as labourers and booking tickets in 3rd class.

One Croat member of the Titanic crew was Joseph Jago, age 27. He was married and lived at 47 Millbank Street, Northam in Southampton, Hampshire, England. He worked as a greaser on the engine crew. He came on board at Southampton and likely being in the engine room he would have been unable to save himself. His body was never recovered.



Croatian Genealogical Society (Hrvatsko Rodoslovno Društvo)

The Society published a journal simply entitled, Rodoslovlje and some issues of a newsletter, Glassio.

Journal Cover

The one and only issue of Rodoslovlje came out in November 2006 which had the following articles in it:

  • Petar Strčić / Rodslovlje Frankapana/Frankopana (Frankapan/Franopan Genealogy)

  • Marko Rimac / Genealoško putovanje u Bosnu i traganje za pripadnicima obitelji/roda Rimac (Genealogical travel to Bosnia and research on the Rimac family)

  • Nataša Štefanec / Demographski izvori za povijest ranonovovjekovnog hrvatskog prostora

  • Martin Modrušan / Sporazum između Katoličke Crkve i Republike Hrvatske o Povratu matičnih i drugih knjiga (The agreement between the Catholic Church and the Republic of Croatia on the return of parish registers and other documents


     The lectures of the Croatian Genealogical Society are usually held at the Croatian State Archives, Marulić square 21 in Zagreb. Some Society Meetings for 2012 were:

May 25 Stjepan Ćosić holds a lecture on the topic "Dubrovnik families Vojnovic" (Dubrovačka porodica Vojnović)

March 28 Bogdan Horvat will hold a lecture on the topic, "How to use a computer genealogy programs" Family Tree Maker "and a comparison with the" My Heritage "and" Legacy" (Kako koristiti rodoslovno računalni program "Family Tree Maker" i usporedba sa "My Heritage" i "Legacy")

February 22 Ivan Jurić author of the book "The Origin of Croats - genetic evidence autochthony (Podrijetlo Hrvata – genetički dokazi autohtonosti) will discuss and answer your questions about his book

January 25 Louis Meze will hold a lecture on "Genealogical Research of Bartola Orišaka" (Rodoslovno istraživanje g. Bartola Orišaka) Mr. Louis Meze will answer questions about genealogy program "Legacy".



La nostra storia sulle pietre -- Cemetery Index for Mali and Veli Lošinj, Croatia

This year (2012) the Communita di Lussinpiccolo has published an index to their 2010 publication of the Italian cemetery markers entitled, La nostra storia sulle pietre: sepolture italiane nei Cimiteri di Lussinpiccolo e di Lussingrande. It consists of 12 page index of surnames with the page number for its occurrence in the 2010 publication. This publication is well worth having, since the 2010 publication lacks an index. The title page of the index mentions that the publication is:

"Per rendere piu agevole la consultazione del libro sepolture italiane nei Cimiteri di Lussinpiccolo e di Lussingrande, pubblichiamo qui di seguito l'indice dei cognomi che vi compaiono", (to make the book more accessible for consulting Italian burials in cemeteries of Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj, we publish here a surname index to accompany the original text).

This index is a slim 12 pages and only lists the surnames and the page number of where each family is mentioned in the original 2010 book. The only photographs are on the last page showing the sepulchre of Josip Zacevic containing the name of Domenica Dessimon, and the tombstone of the Kamlaic family, with a note mentioning that the "Lussin" family is buried there. This brings up an important point in that the cemetery markers need to be transcribed not only to record the names of the death, but to preserve the record from the decay that over time erases the lettering on the tombstones, and that often, as new burial take place, previous names are lost when new tombstones replace them.

This index falls short in providing detailed locations of individuals, since to find someone in the cemetery listing, all the surname entries must be consulted in order to determine the correct individual. The index attempts to correct the lack of any indexing in the original publication, which made it difficult to find any specific burial. La nostra storia sulle pietre also suffers from inaccuracies of transcription. Another concern is that only Italianate names were recorded in these listings, while those written in Croatian, Bosnian, or Austrian were ignored. True that the subtitle of La nostra storia sulle pietre alerts the reader that it is meant to record Italian tombstones (sepolture italiane), never-the-less this approach may have inadvertently missed some Italian family names since they were not all recorded in Italian.

In 2012 the author of this newsletter completed the transcription and indexing of the same cemetery in Mali Lošinj, a process that was started several years earlier. The new transcription has the advantage over the La nostra storia sulle pietre transcription in that it contains the entire cemetery and does not exclude Slavic or Germanic names that are found in the cemetery in large numbers.

Nostra storia cover

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