Posted By:Robert Jerin
Subject:Re: FERICH, Anton b. 1895 in Zagreb? d. 1984 in Akron OHIO, wife Melina of Belgrade
Post Date:August 18, 2004 at 05:52:34
Message URL:
Forum:Croatia Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:


Based on what Tatjana found on the US census I searched for all Milina arrivals at Ellis Is from 1919 to 1924 (you need to give yourself a few years either side of any date) and found......

Melina ONJINA age 16 arr with sister Mara age 17 both single, Race listed as Slovenia, Y-Slovenian from Coka Yugoslavia next of kin brother Mladin ONJINA (this must have meant that both parents were deceased) destination Akron Ohio to bro in law Joca STEFANOVIC 199 Berry Ave, Akron, OH their birthplace is listed as Coka. They sailed on the SS La Touraine from the Port of Le Havre, Seine-Inferior, France

ONJINA would sound like ohyeena.

Apparently they are the only 2 ONJINA to arr via Ellis Island.

Coka would have been part of the Hungarian Banat region until 1918. Officially they were coming from The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Yugoslavia was used on US docs but that name was not officially used until the king of that country declared a dictatorship in 1929.

Ellis Is records indicate that only a few people came from Coka, they were either Servian, German or Magyar. This area had a population of Magyars (=ethnic Hungarians), Germans, Serbs and Croats.

Here is some info from the Danube-Schwabian gen web page. Unfortunately the LDS Family History Center does not have church records for that town. However the church may have been located at Senta, which is perhaps a mile away, certainly within the walking distance that was typical for a church location.

Village Names:
Official: Coka
Hungarian: Csóka
Spelling and/or dialect variants:
Country: Yugoslavia
On the E border of the Tisa (Tisza, Theiß) river, E from Senta
1931: 15 Germans

Coka is located in the Vojvodina (voyohdeena) of Serbia 78 miles NNW of Belgrade, about 10 miles from where the borders of Serbia, Roumania and Hungary meet.

The surname FERIC (fairich) may have as its root the male given name Ferko or Ferenc, which means Frank. The IC ending is typical of many Croatian surnames and means "son of" literal translation would be Frankson.

I found no listings in the in the Serbia online phone books in the Kindina (where Coka, sounds like chohka) is located for ONJINA.


Here are the FERIC phone lisitngs for the Lika area

FERIC MARIJAN Gajac, Gajac Kazeta 1 B 11 (+385) 53 684 205

FERIC PERO Podostra, Podostra 17 (+385) 53 687 224

Oh... and no names were changed at Ellis Island, that is just an old tale that refuses to die! The ship manifest was done at the port of departure and at sea, once at the port a rep of the ship's captain would give the manifest to a US official and interpretors would interview the immigrants... and severe penalties would be levied against any official who changed records. The H was added on the job or at school due to the Croatian C at the end of the name sounding like CH. That C has a diacritical mark / over it giving it the sound of CH. We can see often times from census records the census taker sp these names with CH due to what he/she heard the immigrant say....but those census records are private for 70 years so only a handful of people would have seen those spellings... thus the change was from the job, school or some other public record. And no legal action was needed to affect those sp changes. Often times we will see siblings using different sp of the same surname. So the change was more a matter of how the name sounded than an "Americanization" of those names.

Robert Jerin