About the origin of the surname Jerončič and Sv. Jerome

About the origin of the surname Jerončič and Sv. Jerome

Photo (c): Tino Mamić

We have a whole series of surnames from the saintly name Hieronim in Slovenia. Jere, Jerič, Jerko, Jerkič, Jerkovič, Jerom, Jeromelj, Jeromen, Jeronič, Jeronel, Jerončič, Jerman.

There are also many Croatians, as he was a popular saint, especially along the eastern Adriatic, where this great philosopher, theologian and translator was born. This is also one of the proofs that his cult is very old and widespread, which confirms the hypothesis of Hieronymus' birthplace near Pivka.

Hieronymus was a very rare name among Slovenes in the Middle Ages. When they arrived 1500 years ago, Slovenes already had a very developed culture of their own names. Therefore, Christian names did not penetrate. Not until the Council of Trent (1563). After this, at the request of the Church, newborns began to be named more and more often after Catholic saints through priests. But here the selection was quite limited, although the number of saints is extremely large, and Hieronymus was not on this list. Although pastors demanded that people give children names from a “list,” people continued to insist on their wishes. Therefore, many Slavic names have been preserved, although most of them were not recorded in the baptismal books. Micka and Mojca as Marija, Rado as Jakob, Zdravko as Valentin. Among these, a Hieronymus also crept into the Primorska region.

Let's look at one example. It can already be found in the oldest registry book of the Vipava parish, when on 15 May 1612 he was baptized “Hieronymus legitimus filium Gregorij Jeronzihc matris Agnetis”. So Hieronymus, the married son of Gregor Jerončič and mother Neža. The place is not listed, but it is probably Col or the surrounding area. Name and at the same time surname in the parish, which at that time also included the church of St. Hieronymus on Nanos, first mentioned in 1360, fits nicely into the hypothesis of dr. Rafko Valenčič that the saint has always been popular among the people of Primorska.

The name comes from the Greek. Hierós means "the world, of God," ónoma and "name," a kind of suffix. Hieronymus is the same one who has a holy name, a name consecrated by God.

The oldest mention is from 1507. In Brda, in a place we have not been able to recognize so far, Nedeis, there lived a taxpayer in 1507, written in the Goriška land register as Jeronime. He lived near Gornji Cerov. Peter Stres, the author of the book on surnames in Brda, says that the surname Jerončič came from this name, as well as the house name and surname Jeron.

In the vicinity of Sovodenj near Gorica we find the toponym Jeronišče, which is probably connected with the name Hieronim. However, the nearby toponym Jeremitišče pri Štandrežu, which originates from the Jeremites, hermits, is not of this origin.

The surname Jerman is very common in Slovenian Istria. It is found in several nests all over the country. Although it is a surname derived from the German name Herman, this may not be the case in Istria. It would be quite possible that it originated precisely from the name Hieronymus.

More about the surname will be published in Novi Glas and in the future genealogical magazine Drevesa.

Tino Mamic

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