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Kolimer on the Majevica Montains
History on this Village and the Tesanovic and Toromanovic families from 1800 to the end of the 20th centaury

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 Majevica..

  **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 Njegus called Erakovici, the home of the Erakovici clan or “brotherhood”. The authors Vukota and Akim Miljanic write in their documentation “Family Names in Montenegro” that the Toromans in Njegus were related to the Popovices and Petrovices there.

The Miljanices draw on the information dating from 1910 that Dr. Jovan Erdeljanovic included in his book Old Montenegro (1926). Erdeljanovic also counted the Toromans as belonging to the Popovic and Erdeljanovic group as a special clan of unknown provenance living in Njegus. 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 Cetinje. Further traces of Toromans were left in Middle Polimlje, Poblace, Borak near Pljevlje and in Bijelusine 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:
i, ov, ian, yan, oski, ides, lar, ović, ovich and owich 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 Albania, Asia, Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Russia, the Philippines and on the other side of the Atlantic, in the USA

Great Migration - The paths of our families - Take a look here or click on the graphic below

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 Rogame, the village at the hill of Vezesnik near the Moraca river and joined the Piper tribe. They moved on further to Banjanje, i.e. to the village of Tupan, and then to the village of Meka Gruda near Bileca and afterwards to Nevesinje. From Nevesinje the brothers went in various directions, such as Banja Luka, i.e. the village of Prosijek near Prnjavor, towards Sarajevo and Serbia.  

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

  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, Valjevo (Ostruzanj), Sombor, Leskovac, Sabac, Loznica and Lacarak near Sremska Mitrovica...

  In the territory of the Bosnia and Herzegovina, they lived in Bijeljina, Modrica, the Municipality of Brod, Banja Luka, Trebinje, Mrkonjic grad - Buljevine, East Sarayevo - Vojkovici, Lukavica, Dobrinja, Mladicko polje, Kiev, Kotor Varos, Krapina on the Vrbas, Trnovo, in the area around Brcko, Lopare-Laktasi, Prnjavor, Prosjek near Prnjavor and Celinac. In Croatia: Split and Osijek...., In Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo and Ilidza..., In Slovenia, they lived in Ljubljana, Maribor, Velenje and Celje...,  

  According to a lot information the 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.  

Tesanovic's and Toromanovic's fromk Kolimer

  *According to my research, the first ancestors living in Kolimer were Spasoje and his sons, Ilija 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 Majevica 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 Jeka 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 Draginja 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 Njive, i.e. at the bottom of Banj Brdo (Bany hill), was also used.

The important information in this story is that the place got its name from the hillside behind Ravne Njive, which belonged to Iliya´s son Milan Toromanovic,  around 700 meters away from the house of Mico´s son, Zivko Toromanovic II, towards Janjici. That hillside, owned by Bosko Janjic, was called Kolimer and formed the border between families that were located above or below it.

Kolimer Satelitenaufnahme
Viewed from Banj brdo towards Pozarnica

Kolimer Satelit Foto
Vievw from place of celebration in Bosnjakovici

  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: Janjici, Simici, Dzuvici, Maksimovici, Pajici, Vujanovici, 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 Pajici, Dzuvici, Janjici 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-Bijeljina and the electrification of Kolimer had been completed, it spread towards other villages between Draganovac in the north, Cviljevina in the west,  Seljublje 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 Bijeljina, 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 Polijesce, my best friend from childhood, Zivko´s son Joja 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 Banj Brdo.

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: Stanojka, Ilija, Milica, Cvija and Spasoje, called Pajko.

Jovos Urkunde
*** The only official document that was available as evidence with which one can prove that the families had already lived at Kolimer in 1855

  Within this first little community, my grandfather, Ilija´s son Lazo Tesanovic, married Milica, Jovo Toromanovic’s daughter. Lazo and Milica had three children: Petra, Blagoje 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 Blagoje, 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, Slavojka, Petar, Mileva, Zdravko and Dusan. I received the information about them from Tesa’s grandson, Zlatko Tesanovic and Grozda, the wife and widow of Teso’s and Maria's youngest son, Dusan.

Teso und Maria
Marriage certificate of Maria Aipeldauer and Teso Tesanovic in 1919

Mico und Cvija
Marriage certificate of Toromanovic Mico and Filipovic Cvija in 1936

I came to visit my hometown from Tuzla regularly to see my family and everyone else. A few times I also brought my friends from Tuzla with me, went swimming, fishing, mushroom picking, eating all kinds of fruit and wild fruits together with the youth from the village, and at night to admire the wonderful starry sky over the unlit village, but also sometimes to go to various village festivals. Only later, when I got older and traveled more, did these trips to the country become less frequent. After all, these visits to my hometown Kolimer, especially after my departure to Germany in 1973, were only reduced to visits to my cousin Jela Tesanovic, who was paralyzed from childhood.

Kolimer and the wars of the 1990s made their worst. Fighting also took place on this front line, the village was destroyed, houses were burned down and most of the people fled to Bijeljina and dispersed in the former republics of Yugoslavia, Europe and America. Only years after this war did two women return to the village, Visnja Toromanovic and Danica Janjic, who are still living there in 2012.

According to Blasko -Blagoje Tesanovic, Lazo Tesanovic, Bozana Micic, Draginja Tomic, Vela Toromanovic -Vejzovic, Zora Toromanovic -Stevanovic, and Joka Toromanovic -Cuic, Cvijan Toromanovic, Pajo Toromanovic, Cvijeta Tesanovic -Petkovic, Vinka Tesanovic -Pajic and Dusanka Toromanovic -Jelen. ** To my research. *** According to Jovanka Cujic /Toromanovic, Official dokuments.





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                      Hamburg, February 16th 20012