The Banat is one of the regions of Europe known as contact zones, where peoples of different ethnicity, religion and language co-existed, and to an extent still co-exist – sometimes harmoniously, sometimes uneasily, as is the case the world over. 

Imagined as a Venn diagram, the Banat is perhaps a natural intersection for the Serbs to the west (who had pushed north to escape the Ottomans) and the Romanians to the east. However, there is also an artificial historical factor, caused by the ruling Habsburgs’ intervention and planned settlement of the land in the 18th century and more natural immigration of Imperial subjects in the 19th century. The majority of these were German speakers – they became known as Swabians, although Swabia was only one of various German regions from which they came. In addition to the Germans, the Banat received, among others, Bulgarian, Croat, Czech, French, Hungarian, Slovak and Swiss settlers – mostly but not exclusively Catholics (there were also Protestants of different persuasions, among them again many German settlers). And further broadening the mix of peoples in the area were Jewish merchants and professionals, Austrian civil servants, and Gypsy (locally Tsigani or Ţigani) settlements.   

Resources and professional genealogical research services for those with German Banater ancestry are well-established. In the wake of WW2, rightly or wrongly, the Germans in Yugoslavia and Romania became persona non grata. The descendants of the Banat Germans now live in Germany, in Canada, in USA and elsewhere and, like all displaced and diaspora peoples, show a keen interest in their roots (roots which, of course, pass through the rich black soil of the Banat and extend beyond it to Baden and Lorraine, Westfalen and Württemberg). 

However, Bluebird Research, as well as undertaking German genealogy in Serbia and Romania, can assist with your genealogical research in the Banat whatever the nationality or religion of your ancestors. We work in both Romania and Serbia; we are just as interested in the cultural and social history of the Hungarians and the Slovaks of the Banat; we have a special interest in the Jewish communities, now mostly lost; and in the Serbian Orthodox families, many of which can trace their histories back to “continental” Serbia (for instance to Šumadija), or to Herzegovina, or to Montenegro. 

If you have ancestors from the Banat, and would like professional assistance with your family history research, please get in touch with us for a free assessment and estimate of costs. Research is affordable and success rates are generally high.

Filed under: Genealogy Research

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