Slovenian Genealogy Society International, Inc.,
Organization, Resources, and Indexes
by Albert Peterlin
The Slovenian Genealogy Society was founded in the United States of America in 1987 to help individuals of Slovenian ancestry conduct their own genealogical search. SGSI is a self-help, not for profit organization.
We help our members:
make use of available information,
keep abreast of established informational sources,
share member activities and research, and
formally document their activities.
The purpose of the Slovenian Genealogy Society is threefold:
1. to bring together individuals of Slovenians heritage or interest in order to share genealogical information and experiences:
2. to provide a forum to facilitate the discovery and exchange of Slovenian genealogical information:
3. to provide a convenient repository of information and resources and to develop the means to make it available to our members.
In October 2000, the Slovenian Genealogy Society was incorporated as the Slovenian Genealogy Society International, Inc., in order to provide a more lasting corporate structure to our actions and activities. On March 2, 2001, The Slovenian Genealogy Society International, Inc. received word from the Internal revenue Service that SGSI, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501 (c) (3). Donors to SGSI, Inc may deduct contributions as applicable under the law.
Our volunteer base includes:
Al Peterlin: President
John Leskovec: Membership Chair
Ed Repic: Project Coordinator
Ed Kucler: Marketing and Fund Raising
George Plautz: Internet and Web Coordinator
and our Chapter Presidents.
SGSI now has:
7 State Chapters: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas
5 Regional Chapters: Lake Superior, Mid-Continental States, Metropolitan, Pacific Northwest and Western States
4 International Chapters: Australia, Brazil, Canada: British Columbia, Canada: Ontario
SGSI maintains two active Internet or web identities:
1. FEEFHS, where we have many web addresses, including:
Site 1, The FEEFHS web sites contain many searchable data bases, translations from Novi Svet, our online everyname indexes, old text translations from Slovenian to English, and past newsletters.
Site 2, SGSI web pages, provide information on the society, membership, state, regional and international chapters, and ongoing activities. Portions of the site are membership and password protected in order to make issues of the quarterly newsletter, the Linden Tree, available without postal expense. A complete archive of past newsletters is available along with several genealogical aides, translations and ongoing projects.
The primary resource of SGSI, of course, is our people. All our volunteers work many hours with limited guidance and no payment, other than the satisfaction of completing an extremely well appreciated job.
Our people are constantly seeking and accepting for the society, collections, large and small, of books, newspapers, photographs, and memorabilia with or about Slovenia or individuals with Slovenian ancestry. While most items are kept and treasured, some are donated to other organizations is we determine they can better preserve or make use of the item, although in all cases, we donate only when their is a documented
Our library now includes:
Ave Maria Koledar
Ameriski Druzinski Koledar
Koledar Mohorieve Druzbe Leto
Slovenski izsetjenski Koledar
Telephone Books (People Gazetteers) 1979, 1982, 1989/1990, 1991/1992, 1993
Church and Community Jubilee Books
Slovenian National Choral Society
1. Vodnik Po Zupnijskih arhivh (1975) (Red)
2. volumes: online (Janez Toplisek)
3. Vodnik po maticnih knijigah (1972) (Green)
4. Western Slovenia
5. Ljubljana Bishopric Archive for sale
6. Maribor Archive book and Diskette
We make special note of some recent books that we find compelling, including:
Deseti Brat by Josip Jurcic and adapted by Walter Istenic.
Slovenes of Cleveland by Matjaz Klemencic, and
Vodnik Po Fondih in Zbirkah published by Nadskofijski arhiv Ljubljana
Our primary index remains the Everyname card index we request of each member.
Each member is asked to provide a 3x5 card for each ancestral surname. Cards are expected for each family member, listing name, date of birth, marriage and date, and death date if needed or known. Parents, children, and siblings are listed, and we gladly accept notes and additional follow-up. At some point, these index cards will be digitized, but these paper documents provide such a wealth of needed information, a massive database structure will be needed before we can eliminate the paper.
The Forest City News Obituary Index was compiled by volunteers from back issues of the Forest City News. Forest City was one of the Slovenian strongholds in the mid 1900s, although the population is now moving outward. The index has not been updated since 1995, so more useful information is available once we find another volunteer.
Another massive index is our Everyname Index Project: Church and Community Jubilee Books. We have a growing collection of church and community booklets issued by local communities in celebration of an event or occasion. Because copies of these books are so rare, we prepare an everyname index for each before compiling into volumes of 26 books each. Mary Lou Davison and her husband, Jim, have been indexing, computerizing, and preparing these volumes for years. To see the massive work they have accomplished, look to Volumes 1 to 3. Number 14 is already in the works.
Mary Lou and Jim Davison
Vol I 27 books Completed Published Online
Vol II 27 books Completed Published Online
Vol III 27 books Completed
Vol IV 20 books Incomplete
No discussion of an all-volunteer genealogical society can be complete without a request for help. To do the work we do, we are constantly asking individuals to donate books, papers, publications, photographs, and other items with a connection to Slovenia or those of Slovenian ancestry. However, that is not sufficient, we need more. We need volunteers to type, collect and collate information, prepare indexes, photocopy information, and we need help to staff the state chapters, serve as fundraisers, bookkeepers, and more. And then, we need some volunteers who see other needs we are not addressing, we need others who can offer insight ion how we can do our work easier, faster, and more efficient. Any finally, we need translators. Oh so many translators.
Our Novi Svet project serves as an example of our collection and activities. Since 1990, we have been collecting volumes of Novi Svet, a monthly publication. Of special interest to SGSI are the columns called “Slovenian Pioneers.” Included in these volumes are 2500 biographical sketches in Slovenian. While written in Slovenian, I was able to obtain a significant amount of information, but still, we felt it necessary to fully translate the information as these biographies provide first hand information available in almost no other format. These two samples were translated and provided to me by Jerry Storzic for our use. With more than 2000 still to be translated, please volunteer to work with us if you can.
NOVI SVET, October 1945, Pages 245-247
(Brief biographical sketches of the magazine’s subscribers, who were Slovenian settlers in the New World)
DRUŽINA FRANK in APOLONIA GOVEK. – G. Frank Govek (p.d. Brjakov) je doma iz vasi Trnovec, fara Rečica v Savinjski dolini na Štajerskem. V Ameriko je prišel leta 1899. Njegova žena Apolonija, rojena Melavec, je pa doma iz vasi Brdo, fara Rečica v Savinjski dolini na Štajerskem. V Ameriko je prišla leta 1901 in poročila sta se istega leta 1901 v Livingstone, Montana. Rodili so se jima 4 sinovi in 3 hčere. G. Govek je prišel najprvo v Indianapolis, Ind. Bil je tam 3 mesece. Potem je šel v Montano v mesto Aldrich, kjer je bil 2 leti. Iz Montane je šel v Sheboygan, Wis., kjer je bil 12 let. Leta 1913 si je kupil na Willardu zemljo, iz katere je kakor drugi naredil lepo farmo.
DRUŽINA JOHN in MARY GREGORICH – G. John Gregorich (p.d. Skrbanov), je doma iz Vavpčje vasi, fara Semič na Belokranjskem. V Ameriko je prišel leta 1899. Njegova žena Mary, rojena Petrič, je pa doma iz vasi Mladica, fara Semič na Belokranjskem. V Ameriko je prišla leta 1907. Poročila sta se leta 1905 v Semiču pri sv. Štefanu. Rodilo se je jima 5 sinov in 2 hčere. 1 sin je umrl. G. Gregorich je prišel najprvo v Bernard, Jackson County v Iowa. G. Gregorich je eden najbolj imovitih posestnikov willardske naselbine. Ves čas njegovega bivanja v Ameriki se peča s farmarstvom razen nekaj časa, ko se je podal v staro domovino, a se je zopet vrnil. Danes lastuje obsežno farmo in iste je preskrbel tudi svojim trem starejšim sinovom, dočim majmlajšega hrani doma za prestolonaslednika.
The FRANK and APOLONIA GOVEK family - Mr. Frank Govek (p.d. Brjakov) is from the village of Trnovec, the parish of Rečica in the Savinjska dolina in the Štajerska region (Styria). He came to America in the year 1899. His wife Apolonija, nee Melavec, is from the village Brdo, the parish of Rčcica in the Savinska dolina in the Štajerska region. She came to America in the year 1901 and they were married already that same year 1901 in Livingstone, Montana. Born to them were 4 sons and 3 daughters. Mr. Govek came first to Indianapolis, Ind. He was there for 3 months. Then he went to Montana to the city of Aldrich, where he was 2 years. From Montana he went to Sheboygan, Wis., where he was 12 years. In 1913 he bought some land in Willard, which he, just like others, made into a beautiful farm.
The JOHN in MARY GREGORICH family – Mr. John Gregorich (p.d. Skrbanov), is from the village of Vavpčje, the parish of Semič in the Belokranjsko region. He came to America in the year 1899. His wife Mary, nee Petrič, is from the village Mladica, the parish of Semčc in the Belokranjsko region. She came to America in the year 1907. They were married in the year 1905 in Semič pri sv. Štefanu. Born to them were 5 sons and 2 daughters. 1 son died. Mr. Gregorich came first to Bernard, Jackson County, in Iowa. Gregorich is one of the most well-to-do landowners (proprietors) of the Willard settlement. During his entire time in America he did farming work, except for the time when he journeyed back to the old country, but he returned once again. Today he is owns an expansive farm, and he provided the same to his three older sons, while he keeps the youngest son at home as heir to the throne.
The Slovenian abbreviation “p.d.” represents the phrase “po domače”. There is no English equivalent for this phrase. Literally, it means simply “at home”. However it speaks volumes; it implies a knowledge of Slovenian history, traditions and customs, particularly of rural areas.
“Po domače” is always followed by a name. This is the historical name of a house. Each house in a rural village had a name; unlike historical-conscious Anglo-Saxons, the origin of the name of Slovenian houses is usually too ancient to trace.
Traditionally, ownership of the family property was passed on from generation to generation to an eldest son. A large family was the norm, and when they children grew up, after marriage they tended to remain in the area. Thus, if a Slovenian asked you where you were from (in the sense of where you were born), you would reply with the name of the house, NOT your surname. There were probably dozens of identical surnames in a region, but only a unique house name. By giving the house name, the locals knew not only the exact location of your origin, but even your surname.
In the first example above, Mr. Govek came from the Brjak House in the village of Trnovec. In today’s world, this was tantamount to revealing not only your house number, but also your ancestry.