Čolak (family name)

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Čolak ( Germanized also Colak ) is an originally mainly in the Croats in western Herzegovina ( BiH ) and in the central Dalmatia ( Croatia common) name . Due to internal migration from Herzegovina to the Croatian capital Zagreb and from Dalmatia to the Croatian cities Split and Zadar , the name is often found there (in relation to the total number). The name is also spread in Europe and overseas by Croatian emigrants . The family name rarely occurs among Bosniaks and Serbs .

The family name Čolak originated in the 18th century during the rule of the Ottoman Empire over Southeastern Europe . Čolak was originally a personal surname which came from the Ottoman language . It was added to a specific person to characterize or differentiate it from the existing personal name. The name was passed on to the descendants of the person, was then added to the actual family name as a given name and eventually replaced it.

Significance and origin

When the family name was first created in the 18th century, large parts of Croatia (i.e. also Dalmatia ) and Herzegovina belonged to the Ottoman Empire , which means that many Turkish words were used in Croatian colloquial language . The family name is derived from the Turkish word çolak , which means "a person with a crippled arm or hand," which can mean that an arm, hand or finger is missing or someone is only left-handed . Even today Çolak a Turkish male first name and surname .

Originally, only a certain person with such a quality was given the nickname Čolak. To differentiate between different branches of the family, the nickname Čolak was also passed on to the descendants of this person, was added to the actual family name and eventually replaced it over generations.

There are at least two branches of the name with independent blood relationships :

The Čolak of western Herzegovina come from the Knezović family, a well-known Croatian medieval dynasty from Dužice (municipality of Široki Brijeg ). In 1764 Jozo Knezović ( nickname Čolo), who is the progenitor of the Čolak from western Herzegovina, was born there. Further family research is difficult because the church records of the old parish Mostarsko Blato (to which Dužice belonged until 1872) were burned in 1945 by communist partisans in the Franciscan monastery of Široki Brijeg. However, there are in the parish registers (1805-1833) of the surrounding parishes, in which the women from Dužice married, thirty entries with the surname Knezović Čolak. For example, the entry in the marriage register of the parish Ružići near Grude from 1807, with which the marriage of Marko Lekić from Dragićina (Grude) and Šima Knezović Čolak from Dužice was recorded.

The Čolak from Dalmatia come from the old Despotović family, from the area of Gornje Ogorje ( Muć ) in central Dalmatia. In the land register of 1835, the families of Peter, Mate and two Ante Čolak are noted. The name Despotović Čolak also appears in the local church records from 1774–1776.


In 2007 about 770 people with the surname Čolak lived in Croatia, most of them in the Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Zagora and Slavonia area . So z. E.g. in Gornje Ogorje seven families with thirteen people and in Muć two families with six people.

In western Herzegovina, the number of Čolaks rose very rapidly, so that in the 1980s there were over a hundred households in the following places in the municipalities of Široki Brijeg, Grude and Ljubuški : Dužice, Rasno , Kosmaj, Mamići , Privalj , Mokro , Medvidovići , Ledinac , Grljevići and Široki Brijeg.

Family names with the same meaning

Čolakić (in Zagreb ), Čolakovac (approx. 110 people in Županja ), Čolaković (approx. 430 Serbian Orthodox people in Eastern Slavonia), Čolić (approx. 950 people in Slavonia), Čolo (in Sinj ), Čolović (approx 540 people in Drniš ) and Čoljanović.

Name bearer


  • Abdulah Škaljić: Turcizmi u srpskohrvatskom jeziku [Turkish loan words in Serbo-Croatian] . Svjetlost, Sarajevo 1979, p. 180 .
  • Karlo Čolak: Tko su Knezovići-Čolaci u hrvatskom rodu [Who are the Knezović-Čolak of Croatian family] . Logotip, Široki Brijeg 2010, ISBN 978-9958-9931-4-5 .
  • Ante Ivanković: Hrvatski rodovi općine Muć [The Croatian families of the municipality of Muć] . Majumi, Split 2007, ISBN 978-953-99608-5-6 , pp. 225-226 .
  • Andrija Nikić: Sudbina prezimena Knezović u Rasnu [The fate of the family name Knezović in Rasno] . In: Naša ognjišta: Hrvatski katolički mjesečnik . No. 3/1975 . Duvno (today Tomislavgrad), p. 7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Croatian name database imehrvatsko.net to name Čolak. Retrieved July 10, 2013 .
  2. Çolak in the Turkish dictionary of names
  3. ^ Marriage book of the parish Ružići near Grude (Herzegovina), year 1807, entry no.87