How the Croatian alphabet
is shown on this site.


Letters to churches

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When writing to a church, always write in Croatian unless you know for sure that the priest can read English and likes to read English (for example, if he responds to you in English then you might send future letters in English).

How to write in Croatian? Here are a few ways:

1. Use our list of translated sentences (below) to "copy and paste" together a letter.
2. See our Translators' Registry to find a translator.
3. Ask for help on the various Croatian forums which can be found in links.

IMPORTANT: Read Lesson 3 before writing to the churches.
See Lesson 2 for how to find the churches.

Copy and paste sentences

Below are sentences that you can piece together to form a letter to a priest asking for old records or information.
English is in black with green substitutions; Croatian is in blue with red substitutions. More instructions are at the bottom of this page.

Note that the Croatian alphabet is shown below in a special way for this website only. DO NOT USE THESE LETTERS AS SHOWN HERE (see here for more information). Instead, follow the instructions at the bottom of this page.

Esteemed Priest:
Cijenjeni velec"asni,

grandfather, [name here], was born in [village] around [year].
Moj djed [name] rod'en je u selu [village] oko godine [year].
Substitutions: otac = father; pradjed = great grandfather.

grandmother, [name here], was born in [village] around [year].
Moja baka [name] rod'ena je u selu [village] oko godine [year].
Substitutions: majka = mother; prabaka = great grandmother.

His father's name was _________.
Ime njegovog oca je____________ .

His mother's name was ________.
Ime njegove majke je __________ .

Her father's name was __________.
Ime njenog oca je __________.

Her mother's name was _________.
Ime njene majke je __________.

He had a brother named ________.
Imao je brata po imenu __________.

He had a sister named _________.
Imao je sestru po imenu __________.

His brothers were ________, _________ and _________.
Njegova brac'a su bila __________, __________ i __________.

His sisters were ________, _________ and _________.
Njegove sestre su bile __________, __________ i __________.

She had a brother named _________.
Imala je brata po imenu __________.

She had a sister named _________.
Imala je sestru po imenu __________.

Her brothers were ________, _________ and _________.
Njena brac'a su bila __________, __________ i __________.

Her sisters were ________, _________ and _________.
Njene sestre su bile __________, __________ i __________.

Are the church records for [name of village] at your church?
If not, would you please forward this letter to the proper church?
Da li su podaci i matic"ne knjige vezani za selo [name of village] nalaze u vas"oj z"upi?
Ako ne, molim Vas da ovo pismo uputite u pravu z"upu.

Are the records for my family at your church?
If not, would you please inform me of the proper church and also forward this letter to that church?
Da li se podaci vezani za moju obitelj nalaze u matic"nim knjigama vas"e z"upe?
Ako ne, moz"ete li me obavijestiti u kojoj bi se z"upi mogli nalaziti ti podaci i takod'er proslijediti ovo pismo z"upniku te z"upe.

Would you please send me any information you can find on my grandfather?
I am interested in his mother and father. Also birthdates, marriage dates, and death dates.
Molim Vas da mi pos"aljete bilo koji podatak koji pronad'ete o mom djedu.
Zanima me ime njegova oca i majke. Takod'er i datumi rod'enja, vjenc"anja i smrti.

Do you have the records for the following surnames: __________, _________?
Imate li podatke za slijedec'a prezimena: _______ , _______ ?

Do you have old documents for the [surname] family?
Imate li starih dokumenata vezanih za prezime [surname]?

What was his mother's name?
Kako se zvala njegova majka?

What was his father’s name?
Kako se zvao njegov otac?

What was her father’s name?
Kako se zvao njen otac?

What was her mother’s name?
Kako se zvala njena majka?

Did he have any brothers or sisters?
Da li je imao brac'e i sestara?

Did she have any brothers or sisters?
Da li je imala brac'e i sestara?

I am interested in the ancestors of his family as far back as the records go, including birthdates, marriage dates, and death dates.
Zanimaju me svi podaci o precima njegove obitelji koji se mogu pronac'i u z"upnim knjigama. Datumi rod'enja, vjenc"anja, smrti...

Are there people in your parish today with the surname of [name here]?
If so, would you please ask them if they would like to correspond with me?
Ima li danas u vas"oj z"upi prezime [surname]?
Ako ima, da li bi ih zamolili, ako z"ele da mi se jave?

Enclosed is a donation of $__ for you and for the church.
Prilaz"em donaciju od ___$ za Vas i crkvu.

I do not know the Croatian language.
Ne govorim hrvatski jezik.

I had this letter translated from English to Croatian.
Ovo pismo sam dao prevesti sa engleskog na hrvatski jezik.

You can respond in Croatian.
Moz"ete odgovoriti na hrvatskom jeziku.

Thank you for your help.
Hvala na pomoc'i.

Best regards,
Najljeps"e z"elje,

S pos"tovanjem,

A way of using the above information to compose a letter:

1. Copy the whole page and paste it into your word-processing program.
2. Delete sentences you are not interested in. Keep the English and Croatian sentences together for the ones you are interested in. Put the sentences in the proper order to form a coherent letter.
3. Print the letter with both Croatian and English sentences.
4. Search for ["]and ['] (generic quotes and apostrophes) and replace them with nothing (or delete them manually).
5. Delete the English sentences.
6. Print the letter in Croatian.
7. Go through the printed letter and, while comparing with the version printed in #3 above, write (by hand) a small v over every C, Z or S that had a quote sign after it; write a slanted line over every C that had an apostrophe after it; and write a horizontal line through the stem of every d that had an apostrophe after it. See this chart to see what the letters should look like.

This might sound tedious (and, of course, it is) but it's really the right way to correspond with priests in Croatia. You will get much better results than if you wrote in English. If you don't want to bother with the diacritical marks over the letters, then leave them out (the letter will still be readable). But at least send a letter written in Croatian.