My Croatian Genealogy

(it continues from Reunion in Brac)

I could see for first time the faces whose names I have written down in my genealogy draft when we arrived to the house of Ivo and Maria Petric’ and Sinisa introduced us to the whole family. Apart from his parents, Ivo and Maria, we met Sinisa’s wife, Fani, his daughter Mia and son Ivo. Also we met Sinisa’s sister, Margita, who lives in Italy but spend the summers helping her parents in Bol renting rooms for tourists. She was there with her two daughters Carla and Marija. We even met a German couple who have spent their holidays renting a room in that house for uninterrupted 42 years and are understandably considered part of the family by now, so much so that I should include them in my genealogy draft too!!

We were all much moved, and feeling the impotence of being unable to communicate properly, especially with Ivo senior and María, who only speak Croatian. But nevertheless we could sense their feelings and enjoyed the warmest welcome ever at their home.

We were invited for diner. A very special diner indeed. Not only we were sitting at the table with our newly found cousins, uncles and aunties, but we were treated to a traditional meal of ćevapčići ( pronounced something like cheh-VAP-chee-lee), kind of skinless sausages that were grilled in a barbeque built by Ivo himself ages ago.

And, as it couldn’t be in any other way, we drank the wine they produced themselves from the Plavac vines of the region, which they commercialise in small quantity within the town, repeating zivjeli, zivjeli!! (pronounced “yíbili” and equivalent to cheers!) .

It felt a surrealist experience, being in the town of my ancestors, eating at their table, sharing the moment with my Croatian family, the one until quite recently, never dreamt of ever meeting. Their kindness was overwhelming.

They couldn’t believe we were leaving next day, back to the UK. They offered us all their available rooms, for us to stay as their guest. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay any longer.

Still there was something I couldn’t quite get. If they were such a lovely family, so happy to meet us, why they never answered my emails? Planned with time we could have stayed longer. Asking them I finally realised that theirs is a mainly oral English, but not a written one. Meaning, that we could communicate quite well in verbal English with them but emails did’ do the trick...Ah, now I understood...

The night flew by and next morning we didn’t even had time for a proper breakfast if we were meant to catch the ferry back to Split. They surprised us once again by offering us a full breakfast to take away with us, with treats, sweets, the lot. When we were leaving, Sinisa was just arriving from the local bakery in his scooter bringing with him some still warm pastries for us. They even offered us bottles of their wine to bring home. After many goodbyes and repeating Hvola!! (Thanks!, pronounced “hoala”) we sadly left...

Those bottles made the whole trip to Argentina few months later, where I shared with my family over there, savouring the moment and the meaning...

Genealogy Tree

With the help of Mingo´s research and then asking personally during our encounter, I was able to scribble our joined genealogy, including those members left behind in Bol and those who made it to Argentina.

We all spend considerable time going through my genealogy draft, analysing it,

trying to recognise the names,

and working out our degrees of parentage.

And I realised that much as the Buendia family in the masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Petric’ family also shows somehow the magic realism of having the same stories and names repeated over and over through generations, and, even more amazingly, while being well apart and completely isolated from each other during their lives!

Extracts from our genealogy: Dinko Petric´ was my great-great-great grandfather. One of his sons, Ivo Petric’ (pictured below),

was the one who first saw 5 of his boys migrate to America: Lukas, Petar, Sinisa, Dinko and Francesko, with Ivo, Maria and Jiela left behind. This last Ivo had 7 children: Sime, Maria, Jiela, Kekina, Petar, Vincenso and yet another Ivo Petric’. The last three migrated to America, the first four left behind. In Bol, Sime had four children: Mate, Irma, Fani and yet another Ivo. This Ivo Petric’ married to Maria in Bol and they were our hosts in our visit. Their son Sinisa, brother to Margita, had two children: Mia and yet again another Ivan, aged about 12, and surely ready to keep the family tradition of retaining the same names alive through the generations to come...At the other side, in Mendoza, names such as Domingo (equivalent to Dinko in Argentina), Simón (Sinisa or Sime), Pedro (Petar), Francisco (Francisko), as well as Fani, Irma, etc are still identifying various members of the family...

Afterwards...

My husband was there once again for business and he took the opportunity to visit them. I cannot see the moment when we all visit them again soon!!



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