|My name is Gabriel Kovačević.
I’m a descendant of
Croatian immigrants in Argentina.
Ten years ago I started
researching Croatian history,
my family name and origin.
In 2008 I started to learn
Croatian language in my city, Rosario.
There I met Anja Strelec,
a journalist from Croatia
who helped me obtain
a scholarship in Croatia.
When we met, Gabriel told me he wanted
to come to Croatia and find his origin.
It was a hard decision. He had to sell
his car in order to buy a plane ticket.
He left his family, friends and job
for the sake of finding his identity.
Hi! I’m in Zagreb. When can we meet?
Great to hear you arrived.
We planned to promptly start searching
for his ancestors on the island Hvar.
He was so confused and excited
about finally being in Croatia.
We decided to film the whole journey.
My friends joined us as well.
They already found accommodation
on Hvar and some useful contacts.
Are are happy to go to Hvar?
Yes. I didn’t like Zagreb very much.
I’ve wanted to go to Hvar
since I came here.
My grandfathers made the same journey
when they were going
to the other end of the planet.
It’s incredible I’m on the same place hundred years after them.
My grandfather said that in those times
40 or 50 out of 70 families
in Stari grad were Kovačevićs.
Majority of families were Kovačevićs.
It’s strange there are so many of them.
The place shouldn’t be called Stari Grad
but Kovačević Village.
Thank you for coming.
We were in Hvar by coincidence.
Iva, nice to meet you.
His grandfather is from Stari Grad.
Really? What is your family name?
I don’t speak Croatian.
Oh, there are plenty of Kovačevićs.
I’ll bring this here.
The woman with whom we were staying
was also searching for her origin.
By coincidence, her surname was also Kovačević, just like Gabriel’s.
Back then we didn’t even suspect that
she would lead us to the wrong track.
Do you see how different it is?
It’s very strange to be here.
Every family has its nickname.
Does he know his nickname?
I don’t know.
I didn’t even know it exists.
We only knew that his great grandmother
was called Pacifika, maiden name Šoljan,
and that his great grandfather
was called Antonio Kovačević.
To Gabriel it was most important to find
the family on his grandfather’s side.
I have this.
I can’t see anything. What does it say?
The grandfather’s? Really?
All we had was
his grandfather’s birth certificate.
And a contact of a lady from the library whom we were to meet the next day.
How can I help you?
Good afternoon! Anja Strelec speaking.
Oh, it’s you. I’m in the library.
Have you arrived?
We came half an hour ago and
we’re tired after a whole day’s journey.
Tomorrow I’m not working,
but we can meet over a coffee.
Our hostess Zlata returned with a wrong information about Gabriel’s nickname.
We immediately believed her,
but Gabriel was sceptical.
No wonder they have nicknames
when they all have the same surname.
These are Barionas.
And do you know
how they got this nickname?
And does she know his nickname?
That’s his nickname. If I’m correct.
So I found your origin.
Maybe, I’m not sure...
I can’t believe. She brought information that my family’s nickname is Bariona,
without having any strong evidence.
The worst thing was
that my friends believed her
and spread the news around the town.
No chance. How could she know.
Have you been working in the library
for many years?
Yes, for a very long time.
Long enough for one lifetime.
We have some information
about his nickname.
Maybe it’s a wrong clue,
maybe it isn’t. Bari, Bari...
But that isn’t...
This is already...
But that might not be certain.
The woman from the library
didn’t have too much information,
but her friends gave us the numbers
of all Kovačevićs nicknamed Bariona.
It’s important to know
where we come from.
Modern communication possibilities
make this quest easier.
In Argentina there is a saying,
“If we want to know where we’re going,
we must know where we came from”.
If you hurry a bit, you can go with me
and i’ll tell you the directions.
Here we go,
let’s just finish the drinks.
And in that row is Malo selo.
There should be many Kovačevićs.
Because they belong to Malo selo.
That row is a common one of Malo selo.
You can film a few names, and that’s it.
In Argentina, in a telephone book
there are less than five Kovačevićs.
Here everything is full of them,
they are all over the place.
Where were you born?
In Peru. In Lima.
But I don’t speak Spanish.
Kovačevićs? Which Kovačevićs?
He doesn’t know that.
You don’t know? You don’t know anything?
These women really dedicated
themselves to the research.
In a few minutes, the whole island
knew about the Argentinean guy
who was searching for his roots.
Stanislava, write down 099.
Vesna says that you had Petar,
so we thought it might be this one.
So, it has nothing to do with you.
There is nobody here, they are
probably in the field, picking olives.
They managed to arrange a meeting
with the last Bariona in town.
We all thought it’s his kin.
Joško Kovačević was supposed
to be the last stop.
Is Joško at home?
Joško is home, he went to take a nap.
Here you go.
The guests have arrived.
Mister’s name is Kovačević, like yours.
They told us
he might be a kin of your Joško.
OK, let them come here.
I will call him.
You can go inside.
Thank you very much.
I believe you’ll solve the situation.
Goodbye and good luck.
My name is Anja.
I’m Gabriel, nice to meet you.
You know Gabriel is from Argentina.
He doesn’t speak Croatian.
Yes, his parents didn’t teach him.
I have only this.
It doesn’t say Bariona anywhere.
How do you know this is the nickname?
Our hostess told us. She called her aunt
in Split and asked her.
I wish I knew. In Rudina there is
another Kovačević, Kovačević Šoljan.
We are the only Bariona here.
I suspect it might be related to Rudina.
I knew I wasn’t Bariona.
I didn’t expect anything from him.
Although he claimed he didn’t expect anything, Gabriel was disappointed.
We had to start from scratch again.
How are you?
Fine. I’m in your dad’s village.
And how is it there?
The most beautiful place I’ve seen
in Croatia so far. It’s wonderful.
I could live here.
Is your father’s sister also born here?
What was her name?
Lukrecija... And who else was born here?
Great. I hope this will be useful.
Luckily, there’s always somebody
in the village who knows everything.
Lawyer Ružević has been studying
genealogy and surnames for many years.
He asked us not to film him directly
in order to better concentrate.
After all, he was searching
for data from 19th century.
There’s still hope.
There’s still hope?
What were the names of his sisters?
Lukrecija and Juana,
or Lucija and Ivana.
So, you’re looking for the Šoljan woman?
We’re looking for both, but...
These are called Bile.
So you say that’s it? All this
you have here, and even more, right?
I think you can try, but I’m afraid...
Thank you very, very much.
Thank you very much. Goodbye.
I would like to find a house
in which my grandfather was born,
because I know how much
it means to my dad.
But since we didn’t find even that,
I gave up hope.
What do you have, Gabriel?
A gift. I have a gift.
Dalmatia. This is where
my grandfathers based themselves.
That’s great. My dearest Dalmatia.
We are supposed to visit this guy Petar.
He’s a grandson of Petar,
Pacifika Šoljan’s brother.
Pacifika is Gabriel’s great grandmother.
Then we’re sure it’s the right lineage.
But this guy said we’re absolutely sure.
And that we don’t even have to ask.
Yes, the lawyer said it’s 100 % sure.
I only don’t know if we’re looking
for a living or dead person.
At the moment Gabriel is not aware
that we’ll randomly meet a passer by
who will introduce us to
his great grandmother’s family.
Right on the parking lot.
How can we reach Rudina?
You see that road sign there,
it says Rudina.
And go straight till you reach Rudina.
There are no detours,
just go straight for 2 or 3 kilometres.
And why do you need Rudina?
We’re looking for his ancestors.
He’s from Argentina.
Really? Who are you looking for?
At the moment we’re looking for Pero.
Are his ancestors from Stari Grad?
He is Kovačević. But we discovered that
his great grandmother was born Šoljan...
Kovačević? Aha, yes...
And Šoljan lead us to
Petar and Antica Šoljan.
These guys are looking for their origin,
their ancestors are from Stari Grad.
They are looking for Pero Bile.
I’ll go to find him now.
Here you go, Miss.
This is Petar Bile. Now tell me...
My name is Iva, nice to meet you.
This is Gabriel.
My name is Gabriel.
Are you a descendant of Petar Šoljan and Antica, who had a son Maksimilijan?
In that case
you would be Maksimilijan’s son.
Maksimilijan is my father’s brother.
We need them now, we need Petar.
He’s younger than me,
he knows even less.
We should still meet him. We know
he’s probably Gabriel’s closest kin.
But he can’t be closer than me.
I’m the oldest.
Aha, from that point of view, yes…
There’s no closer kin than me.
Petar Šoljan whom we met
really was Gabriel’s kin.
We all found it unbelievable
that they met by pure chance.
He invited us to his house,
introduced us to the rest of his family,
and everything became much clearer.
Who is that?
That is Petar.
That is Petar.
That’s your great grandmother’s brother.
And who is this?
This photo was cut in two by scissors
when the family got divided.
And you got Petar.
Petar ended up on our side.
But another photo of Petar and Antica
is preserved in Rudina.
She prepared it, let’s go there...
This might be Pacifika’s father,
but he is not absolutely sure.
So, all we can be certain about is
that they surely lived in that house.
Petar’s son offered to show us the house
where Gabriel’s great grandmother lived.
He promised to show us the second part
of the Šoljan family photo.
So, this is the house
where Pacifika was born.
In spite of all the new information,
Gabriel wasn’t enthusiastic.
From the beginning, his mail goal was
to find his grandfather’s family.
My name is Antica.
I find it more important to find
the Kovačević branch of the family.
After all, that’s the surname I carry,
while the surname Šoljan disappeared.
Look here, son,
this is him and this is me.
So this is the second part of the photo.
This is the complete photo.
This is now a complete picture.
This is Pacifika’s brother.
In spite of everything, I’m aware that
Šoljan is a part of my family.
It’s the surname of my great grandmother
and I have those genes too.
But I came to find information
Although we didn’t find Kovačevićs,
all locals already accepted Gabriel
as a naturalized Dalmatian.
Is he alone?
They are his friends,
and he is from Argentina
These are ours, these are ours.
And now he’s looking for his origin?
Interesting. It’s like in a film.
Actually he acted in one film.
I’m a born actor.
People say that a lot of conversation
is good for your health.
Did you know that?
We need as much conversation
and sincerity as possible,
because fabrication burdens
the nervous system and everything else.
That house where we were now
belongs to Kovačević.
His father died young and he has a son.
He really resembles him.
I immediately noticed he resembles him.
Put them side by side,
and you can’t tell one from another.
He too grew a little beard now,
they’re the same. I mixed them up.
That is Kovačević.
The only remaining thing was to go
to the Parish and check the registry.
Although it was Sunday, Šoljan called
the priest and arranged the meeting.
We knew it was our last chance.
Was there some nickname?
That’s what we wondered as well.
We had a wrong clue that it’s Bariona.
But it’s not the right nickname,
so don’t search by that.
He had only the surnames, so he started
to search for the first Kovačevićs
who came to the island in 18th century.
He found data about Kovačevićs
older than Argentina itself.
The biggest problem was
to find the nickname.
Without the nickname we couldn’t be sure that we found the right Kovačevićs.
We found everything.
We found these too. They are Kešers.
Kovačevićs are Kešers?
According to all the clues.
But the nickname Kešer
is very unfamiliar.
It’s strange to accept them
as part of my family.
You could contact this lady,
and she’ll easily explain the rest.
Contact this lady,
and you’ll see what she knows.
Thank you very much.
This means a lot to me and my family.
We were so exhausted from the search
and we didn’t quite believe the priest.
After meeting all those families
and getting wrong clues,
it seemed impossible that
Gabriel’s Kovačevićs live here.
Tell me, please, is your father Petar
a son of Katarina and Nikola Berković?
Yes, he is their son...
Then we solved everything.
This means you’re his distant kin.
And how am I related to him?
Your great grandfather Pietro Kovačević
had sister Katarina.
She’s her granddaughter.
You are family!
Finally we arrived!
Our aim was to find any living kin,
and actually that’s you.
I’m kin to the third degree.
Your dad is kin to the fourth degree
and you are to the fifth.
We can marry!
That’s my daughter, that’s the grandson.
I have three children.
I have one son. Translate it.
She has two daughters and one son,
and she says you can marry the daughters
because only kins to the second degree
are not allowed to marry.
I also have five grandchildren
and two more are on the way.
He is now the first generation
who is interested in his...
They never came here?
It’s very expensive and…
I couldn’t have made it alone.
It’s quite dangerous to live in Argentina.
When my grandfathers left,
life was very good.
They got the land to cultivate
and certain benefits.
This is my family.
Mum, do you have any photo
of your dad and mum?
She’s is my only remaining kin.
After all, it was worth to
sacrifice everything and come here.
My God, who would think, is that...
Yes. And we solved it in two days.
My dad will be very happy.
He says you should contact him
if you ever go to Argentina.
Have a pleasant journey!
Thanks a lot!
Goodbye, goodbye. Good luck.
Now I’m in the house of Šoljans.
Today I was in the house of Kovačevićs.
Both families are our kin.
I found information about the family
from 18th C. and their whole descent.
Your grandmother isn’t from Stari Grad
but from one village called Rudina.
I was told that your grandfather
probably met your grandmother there.
It’s incredible that I’m here
100 years later and researching it all.
I never thought I’d find families
on both sides, Kovačevićs and Šoljans.
Hugs and kisses.
See you in Zagreb, Stari Grad or Argentina.
See you, bye.
Apart from Kovačevićs and Šoljans,
our hostess Zlata found her kin too.
For the second time. And it was Gabriel.
was the sister of this Kešer.
Your grandmother was Kešer’s sister.
But of the old Kešer.
It’s kinship to the 5th or 6th degree.
Now you know you’re family,
so next time he can come for free...
We won’t pay. But it’s a distant kinship
on the grandmother’s side.
All those Kovačevićs you searched...
They sold the field and got millions.
Come another time.
Thank you for everything.
We barely saw each other.
When we just arrived,
she said she knew the nickname.
If she had known it,
she wouldn’t have told us the wrong one.
She would have already known
the real name of the family.
But she wants to be your kin.
She wants to boast that she’s the kin
of “the stranger in town”.
Here I realized
I’m more Argentinian that I thought,
but Croatian culture
will always stay in my family.
The surname will stay,
and every future Kovačević will wonder
where my family comes from
and why I have this surname.
Hence the importance of being Kovačević.
For me, of course.