Last names were quite rare on Slovenian ground up to the 14th century, but they finally developed in the 15th and 16th centuries. Last names were often made from nicknames that showed the geographical origin of the person.
The most common last name in Slovenia today is Novak and more than 11.000 people use it today. This last name was originally used for someone that had just moved in on new, uncultivated land in the feudal period.
Among the twenty most common last names in Slovenia are three, that prove our ancestors’ immigration. These are Horvat (Croatia), Turk (Turkey) and Bizjak (once situated somewhere between the rivers Drava and Sava). Other similar last names that reveal the origin from Italy, Germany, Croatia, and other nearby countries are Hrovat, Hrovatin, Bezjak, Vlah, Skok, Turk, Kočevar, Korošec, Furlan, Pegam, Čeh, Švab, Nemec, Šifrer, Ziherl, Hafner, Logonder, Bajželj, Frelih, Torkar, Taler, Rutu, Pajntar, Dakskobler, Kaltnekar, Henigman, Švajgar, Verderber etc.
Slovenian last names also originate from professions (Zidar, Likar, Car, Cesar, Doktorič, Kuhar, Lončarič, Mesarič, Mežnar, Ribarič, Pek, Sluga, Škof, Žagar), animals (Kos, Sraka, Jerebica, Čuk, Vrabec, Sokol, Golob, Medved, Zajc, Jazbec, Muha, Jelen, Komar) and places where they lived (Mlakar, Potočnik, Hribernik, Podvršič, Goran). There are a lot of common last names in Slovenia that end with -ič and it is also the most common suffix in Slovenian last names. Some developed from male names, such as Gregorčič, Simončič, Petrič, Markič, Vidič, Petrovčič, Blažič, and others were formed as diminutives: Kmetič, Župančič, Kolarič, Kraljevič, Kovačič, Prinčič.
The majority of last names that were made on Slovenian ground are Borko, Bogdan, Bratina, Bratko, Bratuša, Černe, Černigoj, Dobrinja, Godeša, Gostiša, Lubej, Malej, Maligoj, Mislej, Obid, Radinja, Radovan, Radočaj, Stanko, Stanič, Staniša, Stojan, Stojko, Svetina, Zorko, Žele, Žitko etc. In the 15th and 16th centuries we can track down some comical nicknames and last names that later disappeared or changed until they were unrecognizable, e.g. Maloprav, Hudadlaka, Hudoleto, Mrzlitrebuh, Stopistran, Obesiboh, Kuripečič; Nikomernedej became Kumerdej. Those that stayed are Pasarit (from Pasirit), Pecigos, Babosek, Terseglav (from Tresiglav), Pojiškruh, Mesesnel (Mesosnedel), Mokorel (from Mokoril), Repolusk, Otorepec (from Vrtorepec), Kozoglav, Mokronog, Muhabran and Lipoglav (from Lupoglav).
This video was prepared by Mojca Krajnc & Manca Sverc in the frame of the “The Heart of a City” project funded by ACF Slovenia. Read more about the project.