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   The History of Kolimer and Its Families at the Beginning of the 19th Century

Some members of the Tesanovic and Toromanovic families sometime in the first half of the 19th century left their native Montenegro and settled in part of the empty, forested area of Mayevica.

*After spending three years studying ethnographic literature and researching on the Internet, I am convinced that the name of Toroman is an original name of the Toromanovic families and comes from Montenegro. I have come to this conclusion despite having nowhere found any statements confirming this, except for a record of this name having last been mentioned in this territory in the year 1903.

In the Belgrade Ethnographic Museum’s publication Voice, issue no 63  from 1999, Mr Petar Rudic writes that an ancestor of the Toromans lived in Montenegro, in a place near Nyegus called Erakovici, the home of the Erakovici clan (or “brotherhood”). The authors Vukota and Akim Milyanic write in their documentation “Family Names in Montenegro” that the Toromans in Nyegus were related to the Popovices and Petrovices there.

The Milyanices draw on the information dating from 1910 that Dr. Jovan Erdelyanovic included in his book Old Montenegro (1926). Erdelyanovic also counted the Toromans as belonging to the Popovic and Erdelyanovic group as a special clan of unknown provenance living in Nyegus. The name is officially mentioned (Vuko, Todor and Mica Toroman) in the account of a historical incident recorded in 1844.

According to an old story, the name of Toroman allegedly came from an ancient ancestor who used to build good gateways, (Tor = gateway) for his clan. Mr Petar Rudic writes that the Toroman families retained this name until the beginning of the twentieth century.

Records of these families and their migrations can be found in old records in and around Cetinye. Further traces of Toromans were left in Middle Polimlye, Poblace, Borak near Plevlye and in Biyelusine near Rudo.

In an earlier period, this clan was scattered across the Balkan Peninsula and adapted to living in every situation and environment, even to the point of changing their religion or name. We therefore find them present in all three different faiths, irrespective of whether they have kept the name of Toroman or in certain circumstances have added on the “ovic” suffix.

There are Toromans and Toromanovices now living in nearly all of the newly created states of former Yugoslavia, but many found a new home in other countries in the West. A continued search for Toromans and Toromanovices is currently in progress in immigration countries. So far, it has been established that many live in Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Asia, the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and on the other side of the Atlantic, in the USA

  Njegusi - Erakovici  
Satellite photo of the areas of Njegusi and Erakovici. For more information, click on the photo above

**One of the first records on the Tesanovic family is in King Stefan of Decani’s  charter titled "the Decani charter", dating back to the time between 1335 and 1345. The Tesanovic family are originally from the area Vraka on Skadar Lake; they moved afterwards to Rogane, the village at the hill of Vezesnik near the Moraca river and joined the Piper tribe. They moved on further to Banyanye, i.e. to the village of Tupan, and then to the village of Meka Gruda near Bileca and afterwards to Nevesinye. From Nevesinje the brothers went in various directions, such as Banya Luka, i.e. the village of Prosiyek near Prnyavor, towards Sarayevo and Serbia.

Satellite photo environment of Vrake with Shkoder in Albania. For more information, click on the photo above

Nowadays, owing to Facebook, one of the largest Internet social networks in the world, a lot of information can be found about our family. It was on Facebook that Sreten Tesanovic from Sarayevo gave a thorough report on the family’s transitions, from their leaving the area of Vrake up to the present time under the title The Tesanovic Family. He stated that : The Tesanovics from the territory of  former Yugoslavia live in Serbia, namely in  Topola, Nis, Vrbas, Rusko selo, Beocin, Novi Sad, Stara Pazova, Kikinda, Belgrade, Smederevo, Valyevo (Ostruzany), Sombor, Leskovac, Sabac, Loznica and Lacarak near Sremska Mitrovica...

In the territory of the Republic of Srpska, they lived in Biyelyina, Modrica, the Municipality of Brod, Banya Luka, Trebinye, Mrkonyic grad - Balyvine, East Sarayevo - Voykovici, Lukavica, Dobrinya, Mladicko polye, Kiev, Kotor Varos, Krapina on the Vrbas, Trnovo, in the area around Brcko, Lopare-Laktasi, Prnyavor, Prosyek near Prnyavor and Celinac.
In Croatia: Split and Osiyek...., In Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarayevo and Ilidza..., In Slovenia, they lived in Lyublyana, Maribor, Velenye and Celye...,

According to Sreten, they can be found scattered all over the world: Switzerland (Lugano and Zug), Sweden, Austria (Siegendorf, Graz and Salzburg), Australia (Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Darlington and Newtown), Canada, the USA (Phoenix - Arizona, Chicago), Holland (Eindhoven and Groningen), Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), Russia (Moscow), Malta (Tal di Msida), the United Kingdom (Oxford), Hungary, Italy (Rome), etc.

***According to my research, the first ancestors living in Kolimer were Spasoye and his sons, Iliya and Teso, on one side and Zivko Toromanovic I and his brother Mitar I with his sons, Mico and Mihailo, on the other. They started building houses on the Mayevica hills in the same way as the houses I remember from when I lived there. The walls of these so-called ‘seperusa’ houses were made of woven split hardwood switches between the slanting horizontal and vertical beams. This woven panels were plastered with a final coating of a special mixture of clay and straw.

The houses usually had a veranda and three rooms, one of which was open all the way up to the top of the roof. This was the hearth room, the one more or less in the middle of the house where an open fire was lit. There were chains above the fireplace that were used to hang pots and copper cauldrons for preparing various dishes. The hearth was for making food, baking bread under the peka (iron pan) and for preparing the meca (mash).

A part of the attic was for grain storage while the part above the hearth was for drying meat. The smoke from the hearth contributed naturally to the meat-drying process. The roof was covered with thin slates of carved wood.

The first slightly more modern houses, with roof tiles and metal gutters, were built by Zivko II, the son of Yeka and Mica Toromanovic, around the mid 1950s. The largest room in the house was the main one for everyday family life. There was a long table set for various family celebrations, the so-called ‘sofra’, with benches along both sides. People slept on ‘slamarice’ (straw mattresses), sat at the ‘sinija’ (a round wooden table) and used wooden spoons for eating. That room held the earthenware ‘furuna’ (a wood-burning stove used for heating in winter) which could also be used for cooking. The kerosene lamps were used for lighting and since there was no plumbing, water was carried and brought in  bremas (shoulder yoke buckets), taken from the village well, which was located in the garden of Aunt Draginya and Uncle Milan Toromanovic. It was only later that water was distributed from the well by pipes to some houses. Water from the spring behind Duge Nyive, i.e. at the bottom of Bany hill, was also used.

The important information in this story is that the place got its name from the hillside behind Ravne Nyive, which belonged to Iliya´s son Milan Toromanovic,  around 700 meters away from the house of Mico´s son, Zivko Toromanovic II, towards Yanyici. That hillside, owned by Bosko Janyic, was called Kolimer and formed the border between families that were located above or below it. We, the Toromans and the Tesans, were called Kolimercani (those who live in Kolimer) by the residents of other villages and hamlets. We and the other inhabitants called the other places and hamlets around us: Janyici, Simici, Dzuvici, Maksimovici, Payici, Vuyanovici, etc. Thus, all those small villages around Kolimer were called after the names of the families who lived in them except for us the Tesanovics and Toromanovics. Although we all lived in Payici, Dzuvici, Yanyici or Kolimer at the time, we were all registered at Kolimer.

Due to the fact that I, i.e. the family of Bosko Tesanovic, except for Blasko and Todora, left Kolimer and moved to Tuzla, I am not familiar with the further development of Kolimer.

I suppose that after the motorway Tuzla-Biyelyina and the electrification of Kolimer had been completed, it spread towards other villages between Draganovac in the north, Cvilyevina in the west,  Selyublye to the east and Pozarnica in the south of the territory. Modern houses had not been built before that since the village was quite isolated from public transport routes. Kolimer is about 13 kilometres away from Tuzla. It took us over an hour to walk along the village lanes to Pozarnica to stock up on necessities. In autumn or on rainy days we walked barefoot and would wash our feet in Pozarnica, then put on our shoes and continue on the bus, which we called Posta (post - because that is how our post was usually delivered). In the worst case we would go on foot all the way to Simin Han and from there on the so-called Posta to Tuzla. I assume that the drivers of these buses or nearly all other drivers would collect all letters and other mail and deliver them while passing through the villages.

The local people would shout Here comes the post!, meaning the bus, not the mail. For instance, our address at that time was Milan Toromanovic, the village of Kolimer, No. 39, Last Post:  Simin Han’’. The mail was sent to those it was intended for, hand to hand from Simin Han. Of course, the first modernization of the village followed the final work on the motorway to Biyelyina, and that meant the cultural development of both the village and its locals and largely facilitated further education for young people. At the very entrance to the village, near the road in Poliyesce, my best friend from childhood, Zivko´s son Joya Toromanovic, opened an inn with various barbecue dishes and it soon became very popular. His business went so well that he soon afterwards opened another one, much larger and located on Bany hill.

According to Simo Toromanovic's daughter Joka (nickname Jovanka) a certain Jovo from Jamat near Lopare, whose surname she did not know, was adopted by a member of the Toromanovic family, and that was how he got that surname. He and his wife, Ruza Jovanovic, had five children: Stanoyka, Iliya, Milica, Cviya and Spasoye, called Payko. Within this first little community, my grandfather, Iliya´s son Lazo Tesanovic, married Milica, Jovo Toromanovic’s daughter. Lazo and Milica had three children: Petra, Blagoye and Bosko. Unfortunately, Lazo died young, and his wife, Milica, remarried Tomo Ceketic and moved to Ceketici near Pozarnica. She had a son with Tomo, named Pero Ceketic, the half-brother of Blagoye, Petra and Bosko Tesanovic.

The first to move from Kolimer to Tuzla at the beginning of the 20th century was Spasoje’s son, Teso Tesanovic. At the end of 1919 he married Maria Eipeldauer from Austria. Their children were: Dragica, Drago, Slavko, Slavoyka, Petar, Mileva, Zdravko and Dusan. I received the information about them from Tesa’s grandson, Zlatko Tesanovic and Grozda, the wife of Tesa’s youngest son, Dusko.

* Belgrade Ethnographic Museum’s publication Voice, issue no 63
Sreten Tesanovic - The Tesanovic Family
According to Blasko -Blagoye Tesanovic, Lazo Tesanovic, Bozana Micic, Draginya Tomic, Vela Toromanovic -Veyzovic, Zora Toromanovic -Stevanovic, and Joka Toromanovic -Cuic, Cviyan Toromanovic, Payo Toromanovic, Cviyeta Tesanovic -Petkovic, Vinka Tesanovic -Payic and Dusanka Toromanovic -Jelen.



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                      Hamburg, February 16th 20012