We are glad to announce that the SHS has a new website. You can find it at http://srpskoheraldickodrustvo.com The website currently is in Serbian, we do not know if it will be in English in the future. However, feel free to direct your heraldry questions there. From now on all information regarding the SHS can be found on their website. Subsequently the forums will be transferred to the new site as well. The SHS publications can also be found on their website for reference.

 

Here are some tips for you to do research and how to use this site.

Before asking

1. Before posting use the "search" option on the forums to see if anyone posted something on the surname that you are looking for,
2. Check the article section for articles that can answer your questions,

By following these points you will rule out double posts and asking questions that people asked before.

The big ask

1. Give your post an apropiate title. Something descriptive that helps other to recognize what you are posting. Titles that are not suitable include : [i]"Help, I have a problem", "Quick, urgent help needed"[/i] ,
2. Explain what you want. Questions like: " I need all information on the origins of the Djordjevic family" are questions that we can't answer. Think about refrasing it into: " I need information on the Djordjevic family that I traced back to Kragujevac in e.g. 1816".
3. Provide as much information as possible: surname, first name, date and place of birth, family saint and religion. This will enable us to help you better.
4. Please do not ask questions through the Private Message option. These are public forums where people help each other out. If you're not sure where to post, then choose the forum that you think most suitable; if needed, a moderator can move the thread to the area deemed most suitable, no harm done.
5. [b]Double posts will be deleted straight away without notice.[/b]
6. Please try and avoid hijacking a thread because the original question closely matches yours. It's always far better to start a new topic than cut into someone elses and start to take it away on a tangent – this is confusing for all and makes replying difficult.
7. Be patient and polite; no one here is paid to help and we all have other lives to live.

Please act with courtesy towards all members of the forum – it will pay dividends in the quality of the help that you receive, and a little thankyou for problems solved never hurts.

After Your Ask:

1. If you don't get a response in 48 hrs or so, then it's possible that others can't see or understand the problem. Think about rewording the post or offering more information.
2. If you find a solution to your problem, let us know so that others can learn from your knowledge .
3. Help others. You don't need to have the solution, sometimes just suggesting something else to try will help.

After the answer

The SGS runs this site and offers most services for free to the public. However we do need to pay for running this site and that is why we ask membership fee's for our membership action. If you don't feel you are capable of doing research all by yourself you should become a member of the SGS. Membership is cheap and lasts a year. We can help you with:
* small translations,
* letters to the archives,
* phone help,
* you can upload files on the forum,
* you can post more detailed information that you don't want to post in our secure member forum,
* and we develop new items each month to make research easier,

It is very important because it tells you where you need to look. E.g. the Catholic Church has its own books just as much as the Serbian Orthodox Church has. Also with Serbian families there are Family Saints which differentiate families that have the same surname.

Religion does not define/determine ethnicity.

Some time, Serbia’s archives are not microfilmed and not availible online due to data protection laws. This means you need to go there in person, write them or have someone for you to do research. As the latter is costly we advice people to join the SGS. The more members join, the stronger the effort becomes and members can help each other as we are all volunteers.

There are several tools on the internet, one of them is e.g. Google Translate. Although not 100% accurate it can help you on the way.

You can post on the forums asking people for help, or you can become an SGS Member. We do small translations for members and have a letter template e.g. that you can use to contact the archives.

How to start your genealogical research

When you decided to start with your genealogical research the challenge begins. The genealogical world is a is a jungle of information and it can be hard to find information on how to begin especially if you ancestors came from Eastern Europe where most of the archives are not microfilmed and still many things are obscure. This is important to realise, your research will take a considerable amount of more time then it would if you were in Western Europe. We advice all to have patience when they embark with their family research.

Now before you begin with your research it is wise to have the following things at hand.

1. A PC with internet connection or be near one,

2. Use of a genealogical program in order to register the data that you discover,

These 2 things are the most important ones, now if you don’t have a PC it is wise to record the data that you collect on pedigree charts.

Some people like working with real paper more then software, this is of course your personal preference, either way we urge people to make regular backups of their PC’s.

Your Surname

Your surname is where you begin. In most cases your surname is the same as that of your father, or in some cases your mother. Usually you will have the same surname as your father. So your line starts with yourself. Then you collect the name of your father, and then that of your grandfather. It is in all cases wise to immediately register the name of your mother and grandmother as well.

Please make sure that you write down the names with the Serbian symbols such as “šđžčć” as there is a world of difference between names with or without these symbols. Please also note that in case of Serbia the Cyrillic alphabet is used and in older records Church Slavonic. This alphabet is like Cyrillic but more complex, you might need help from someone who can actually read this because the transliteration depends on minor details.

Besides the surname you also write down the place of birth, the baptismal date, the date of marriage, and if necessary the date and place of death. All other information that you find you can include as attachments to your research because they will underscore and under build your research’s findings. Now remembers, genealogy is an exact science so you need to work with facts.

The funny thing with surnames is that some surnames are very rare and others are so common that halve of the country may have the same surname but none of them are actually related to each other at all. It is interesting of course to find the general origin of a surname, but the only way to make sure you belong that that one particular family is by doing research. Too often people ask for the origin of a surname that is the same as theirs and then presume they are from that same family. This is not how it works and we urge people to caution with this ideology because it can throw you off the right track. Most surnames originate from Patronyms, there are a lot of people with the name Jovan in Serbia so Jovanovic is a common surname. Also surnames are not always geographically and ethnically bound. Therefore it is crucial for you to start of correctly by recording the name of your father, grandfather and so on using the information that you can find in the national archives and churches.

4 Generations
In 9 out of 10 cases it will be easy to collect the information from 4 generations. This is mainly because of the influence of Napoleon’s policy to record data in archives and government institutes. Most families can without too much trouble track back their ancestry until the year 1800, after that date you will run into what we call the genealogical jungle of the Balkans.

Please note that there are 2 different way’s to do your research.

1. Direct line research: from father to son recording also the maternal line but sticking to the patriarchal line,

2. In dept research: going through each branch of in the tree collecting information from siblings, cousins into even the 5th degree and further

Advised is of course to collect as much information as possible, but you have to stick to point 1 at first because it’s the most crucial for obvious reasons.

Ethnicity

So my surname is Stanković, so I must be ethnically Serbian? Actually not perse, the surname does sound Serbian but in this case it means “son of”  and the patronim had the name of Stanko or Stanoje. You could be an ethnic Serb or Roma for that matter. There is also a world of difference between ethnicity and nationality. The latter is often confused in case of ethnic Serbs living in the Austro-Hungarian Empire when they migrated to e.g. the United States. Also please be aware that religion doesn’t determine the ethnic background as one of Serbia’s greatest medieval rulers was Catholic of birth.

Exchanging data

It is a custom to exchange data in the genealogical world with others that share the same roots. It can be a helpful tool to fill missing gaps that others managed to find out. This however is a personal choice; no one can force you to publish your data on the internet unless you yourself do it. We do advice caution, although genealogy is a beautiful activity to pass time it also involves the personal information from you and your family. If you choose to publish your pedigree on the internet we advice you only to publish to data of the deceased and not those who are alive. In most countries it is even prohibited to publish any data of the living without their consent.

Nevertheless we presume that exchanging data with cousins overseas can be fruitful. It would be prudent though to make clear agreements with the other party not to spread the data without your written consent.

Ready to begin?

Ok so you asked the standard questions on the forums, and you read the articles in the Learning Center on our site. But you want to do sirious research and need help. The best way to proceed is to become a member of the SGS. Membership is cheap and gives you more online tools that you can use to do research. Also you become part of a large society of enthousiasts. We are constently working on improving our online services so that the gap between offline and online resources gets smaller.

You can file a request for both the design and the registration of a coat of arms at the Serbian Heraldry Society the White Eagle. You can reach them via their website.

Please be aware that the Serbian Heraldry Society only registers coats of arms for people that are linked in some way to the territory of the former-Yugoslavia.

STATUTES

Name, goal

Article 1

1. The name of the society is the Serbian Genealogical Society / Srpsko Rodoslovno Društvo.
2. The society was created on the 24th of October 2002, and has been engaged for an in definitive amount of time. The SGS is the legal successor of the Serbian Genealogical Foundation.
3. The society’s year is the same as the calendar year.

Article 2

1. The society’s goal is to promote and stimulate genealogy and related sciences in the broadest sense of the word in Serbia-Montenegro and the rest of the region. To supply resources both online and offline for the general public and members.
2. To assist the archives in promoting and assisting in genealogical research in the broadest sense of the word.
3. The creation of genealogical databases in cooperation with the archives of Serbia and other related institutes in accordance with the law of the state of Serbia.
4. The society does not have a financial gain and serves the general interest; it therefore remains politically independent, and will provide in objective research.
5. The society can not accept donations from political institutes that can jeopardize the independent and objective status of the society.
6. The society is not affiliated with any church or religious denomination, in order to maintain its objectivity.
7. To assist in reuniting families that have been scattered due to the civil war in the former-Yugoslavia.
8. The society also provides for humanitarian aid in the broadest sense of the word.

Article 3

The society tries to achieve these goals through the following means:

a. publishing a magazine;
b. Organizing congresses;
c. Setting up a system to validate genealogical researchers;
d. Assisting members in their genealogical research for their own ancestry;
e. Cooperating with other related organizations nationwide and internationally to achieve this;
f. By receiving donations;
g. All other legal means that can assist in achieving the society’s goals.

Ordinary members, members, fellows, honorary fellows.

Article 4

1. The society knows ordinary members, members, fellows, honorary fellows.
2. Only natural/legal persons can become a member of the society.
2a. Ordinary membership is for those who do short term membership. Members can be a single person or a complete family that intend to be part of the society for a longer term/life.
3. Fellows can be natural/legal persons or institutes.
4. Honorary fellows have no obligations besides the standards used within the SGS when it comes to the house rules. They have the same rights as normal members do unless it is specifically otherwise stated in the statutes.
5. The Board of Directors keeps the members files in which the names and addresses of all members have been registered. The Board is authorized to test a nomination for membership in a general assembly to ascertain if the person passes the stated criteria