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Original scientific paper

Personal Names and Surnames in the Parish of Desne-Rujnica in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century

Maja Šunjić orcid id

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page 573-617

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The article addresses the naming practice and population origin of the parish of Desne-Rujnica, covering the territory of Mount Rujnica on the right bank of the Neretva River. On the basis of baptismal registers for the period 1825- 1851 the choice of personal names has been analysed. The sample included 740 baptised children. Most common among the thirty female names were Matija, Iva, Manda, Jurka and Jela, while Ivan, Jure, Mate and Stipan proved most frequent among the twenty-four male names. With regard to name sources, dominance of the Catholic/Christian names has been established, while the traditional names were quite rare. Forename analysis of the children in 143 nuclear families has shown that they were most commonly named after a saint whose feast day coincided with the child’s birth, while the family as a name pool came second. In the latter case, boys were named after paternal grandfathers, great grandfathers and uncles, while the names of the girls were usually selected from the mother’s side of the family. The motives underlying the selection of one third of the names have not been determined. Apart from parish registers from the wider territory outside the parish of Desne-Rujnica, Status animarum and Venetian cadaster registers from the early nineteenth century have provided useful data for the study of lineage origins. Only two lineages (Bagalović and Momić) have been traced on the territory of this parish during the Ottoman rule. Broader area of the Neretva River witnessed a steadier influx of population during the Morean War (1684-1699). The migratory routes of these lineages cannot be established with exactitude on the basis of early eighteenth-century data, whereas from the middle of the eighteenth century onwards, and especially in the nineteenth century their routes are more easily traceable. The bulk of lineages arrived from the neighbouring parishes (Borovci, Plina), as well as from the mountain parishes near Jezero (Otrići, Pasičina, Brista), and the areas of Vrgorac and Imotski. The fact that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many family names were recorded only once testifies to a high level of migration dynamics.


Desne-Rujnica; Neretva valley; anthroponymy; families; migrations; 18th century; 19th century

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