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Balkan Roots – A Travel Essay

August 16, 2018

A Search for Family Beginnings in Croatia

It’s pouring a hard, unforgiving Balkan rain that threatens to scupper my plans to visit Lukovdol, a small village in Croatia where I hope to find the ancestral home of my grandfather Francisus Verzuh. We are in the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar, a county near the Slovenian border. Wikipedia dubs it Croatia’s Switzerland. Croatians apparently call it “the green lungs,” suggesting a healthy place with much greenery. For me, it represents Verzuh country – or at least I think it does. This visit marks the beginning of a journey into my family’s past. Would I discover historically based aspects of myself? What would I learn from a national legacy pockmarked by political violence, religious intolerance, and social dislocation that had been going on since well before Francisus left Lukovdol in the 1890s?

This article appeared in the July-August 2018 edition of Your Genealogy Today: Genealogy Today Vol 4-03 Jul_Aug2018 1

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