ANCESTRY AND GENEALOGY TOURS IN BELGRADE AND SERBIA
SERBIAN HERITAGE TOURS provides unique and profoundly emotional travel experiences for those eager to know more about their family history and ancestral origins. Knowing where we come from is just as important as being sure of the legacy we bestow to future generations.
Ancestry and genealogy tours in Serbia will give you an insight into your family history and take you to the places where your ancestors once lived.
On our personalized family history tours, you will connect to your roots, discover your ancestral hometown, and enhance your knowledge of your ancestors' lives.
All ancestry tours are private tours and personalized for each family. They are designed and guided by your professional Serbian Heritage Interpreter and official Tour Guide specializing in Demography, Ancestry, and Genealogy. I will research your family history and ancestral origins before beginning your personal and customized ancestry tour in Serbia.
Well prepared and expertly guided ancestry trip makes it possible to step back in time to your ancestral hometown or village - to your roots.
No family story is complete until you had visited your ancestral hometown or village and explored the place where your family lived before they made their emigration journey overseas.
DANUBE SWABIAN HERITAGE AND FAMILY HISTORY TOURS IN SERBIA
The DANUBE SWABIAN or DONAUSCHWABEN colonization refers to the large-scale migration of individuals and families from mostly German-speaking states to the areas of the former Hungarian Kingdom conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
At the end of the 17th century, after the Habsburg Empire successfully fought off the Ottomans, it took back the land that the Hungarian Kingdom had lost to the Ottomans. The Habsburg Empire encouraged mostly German-speaking farmers and craftsmen to sail down the Danube and settle on the marshlands of the Danube River Valley and the Pannonian Plain. German farmers drained marshes near the Danube and the Tisza rivers and constructed roads and canals.
The majority of settlers were ethnic Germans speaking various dialects and coming from different principalities like Swabia, Hesse, Palatinate, Baden, Franconia, Bavaria, Austria, and Alsace-Lorraine.
Besides Germans, there were twelve more ethnicities (Serbs, Jews, French, Slovaks, Romanians, Hungarians, and others).
At the end of the 17th century, thousands of Serbs had fled from the Ottoman Empire, crossed the Danube, and negotiated a privileged status at the Military Frontier formed along the rivers. Their duty was to defend the border with the Ottoman Empire and fight for the Habsburg Empire at far away fronts.
Tens of thousands of colonists came to the Pannonian Plain from the end of the 17th until the 19th century to build new lives. The Danube Swabians grew to more than 500,000 in former Yugoslavia and 350,000 in Serbia. For many generations, they peacefully co-existed with people from different ethnic groups.
However, after World War II, Germans recruited by the Third Reich or local military formations could not return to their homes. Their families were interned in internment camps or sent to faraway mines for compulsory work and only released after several years. Their houses and farmland were left empty and eventually filled with new tenants with different cultural backgrounds when the then Yugoslav state encouraged people from war-devastated parts of the country to move to the fertile plains of Vojvodina and begin new lives.
DANUBE SWABIAN ANCESTRY TOURS IN BANAT, BATSCHKA AND SYRMIA
SERBIAN HERITAGE TOURS carries out in-depth and comprehensive research of towns and villages in Banat, Batschka, Syrmia, and Slavonia, where the Danube Swabians were colonized more than 200 years ago.
During your personal and customized Danube Swabian Ancestry Tour in Vojvodina, you will hear about the history of Habsburg colonization, your German family roots, your ancestors' traditions, German settler's architecture and remarkable farming achievements.
We will visit your ancestor's villages, their homes, churches they prayed in, schools they attended, and cemeteries they were buried in. You will gain a more in-depth insight into the Danube Swabian way of life, beliefs, and traditions in Banat, Batschka, and Syrmia.
JEWISH ANCESTRY AND FAMILY HISTORY TOURS IN SERBIA
Before World War II, in every town in Serbia and every city or village in Vojvodina, there was a Jewish community. Sometimes it would be only a dozen families, sometimes large communities. There were more than seventy synagogues and praying houses. Some of them were beautiful masterpieces of architecture like Subotica, Novi Sad, or Zrenjanin synagogues. Some were mere modest prayer houses in small villages.
During World War II and the Nazi occupation, most Jews were sent to the concentration camps in former Yugoslavia or abroad and never returned. After the war, those who survived departed from villages to large towns, Israel, the USA, or Latin America. Very few people know how Yugoslavia clandestinely helped Jews from different countries in Western Europe to travel from our small ports in the Adriatic sea to finally reach Israel despite the opposition of the Allied Powers. After the proclamation of the State of Israel, many Yugoslav Jews joined five aliyahs and moved to Israel.
Although thousands of Jews left, many buildings that housed synagogues, societies, schools, factories, homes and cemeteries remained. The memory of numerous Jews who lived in Serbia is kept alive, and there are many monuments dedicated to distinguished members of society.
During your personal and customized Jewish Ancestry Tour, we will visit all the places important for your family history, and you will learn more about your forefathers, their lives, and the homes where they lived. You will also hear about Jewish people who settled on the territory of today's Serbia and the Balkans centuries ago.
"I’m very interested in our Donauschwaben heritage. The closest ancestor on my European side of the family to have immigrated to the U.S. was my great grandfather. I have long been most curious about his ancestry and origins. Through lots of online searches and collecting documents, I was able to connect back and find his original name and some of his ancestry. I have generally verified it through genealogy books, but not always through original records (though these books are based on original records, as opposed to relying on online and family tree information that may be based on oral histories).
Thus, the purpose of my trip to Đakovo and Vučevci was to see where my great grandfather was born and where he enrolled in trade school and to also see the church in Semeljci, which I understand to be the parish to which Vučevci belonged at the time of his birth.
The visits to Weprowatz and Kernei were because of the ancestors who were among the original Donauschwaben settlers to those towns. Best wishes and good luck to all those who seek to maintain and make connections with their ancestries, heritages, and homelands. I highly recommend a trip back to the homelands for those who have the interest and can make it happen. It was very much worth it for me, and I see many more returns in my future.
I am grateful to many people. And, especially, to my tour guide, Snezana of Serbian Heritage Tours, who put together a very customized and flexible itinerary that allowed me to see all of what I wanted to see in Serbia and Croatia. I hired a driver and a guide through the services of Snezana of Serbian Heritage Tours. She guided me through a two-day private and customized tour of the places I wanted to see. She was both very meticulous and flexible; she made personal contacts with key people she thought would be useful for me to meet and even obtained a few records for me from the archives. She read up and prepared for the sights we would see, to be able to give me more history and context.
The reception I received from my travels was great. I will, say, though, that when we pulled up into Vučevci (a tiny village where my great grandfather was born) in a shiny vehicle with a chauffeur and private guide. I felt a bit like I was starring in the To Wong Foo. I was metaphorically the working girl from the city pulling up in a convertible into a tiny town. Everyone was staring and wondering what was going on. But nobody was mean or seemed upset. To the contrary, what I saw was overall quite welcoming." Mr. Nicholas S., USA
"I can't say enough good things about my tour with Snezana. I contacted Snezana so that I could gain a better appreciation of my mother's origins and the German presence in Serbia. Not only did she provide me with an understanding of the history of German settlement, but through her contacts and research, she located and obtained access to the house my mother grew up in and fled during WW 2, my grandmother's family home, the church (now closed) my mother attended, my great grandparents' grave site and so much more!
Prior to the trip, I sent Snezana some family history so that she could undertake some additional research and she was able to confirm and expand on what I sent her. Without Snezana I would have been able to visit the town my mother lived in but missed out on all the details and context that made our trip so memorable. Although not an intended component of our trip, when Snezana learned that my husband was Jewish she provided us with information about the Jewish community and experiences in the area. And she gives excellent restaurant recommendations - I had the best gnocchi ever in Belgrade!" Mrs. Angela D., Canada
"Hello Snezana, I would like to thank you again for the insightful tour you have arranged for us in Subotica. I especially appreciate the preparations and research about my family which made the tour much more personal than usual historical city sightseeing. Today, just a few hours after landing in Israel and returning home, I still feel overwhelmed by all the sights and information and I need some time to digest it all. Mrs. Arbal, Israel