Horváth surname in Slovakia

Horváth surname in Slovakia

Today I just figured out that the most common surname in Slovakia is a Hungarian surname that means from Croatia. Does anybody know why most Slovaks have such a foreign surname. Is it a result of Magyarization? 


  • Horvathization.
  • edited July 2017
    I'm not a historian, but I believe it's because Slovakia is a young country. Before WWI, we were part of Hungary (Uhorsko) and the official language was Magyar (Hungarian). So everything "official" had to be in Hungarian, including names. No matter if you called yourself Chorvát, it had to be understandable to Hungarians, so your name should've been written as Horváth. Another thing is that Slovak language was standardized pretty recently. It's like if gypsies wanted to use their own names, but f.e. "kh" would be transformed into "ch", although today there is more freedom in these things.

    Regarding to the actual name "Horváth" (Croat), I'm not sure why so many Slovaks have that name. I think last names were adopted in middle ages here. Their meanings usually referred to family craft (Kováč, Hrnčiar...), or to the tribe the people came from (Chorvát, Poliak/Polák...). We know that White Croats used to live in today's Slovakia back then. When Magyars arrived here, they firstly referred to all Slavs as Tóths, then only to Slovaks, Croats and Slovenes (that means Slavs living in Hungary) and later finally just to Slovaks. So Slovaks and Croats have common history, even if it doesn't seem like that at first glance.

    Hope it helped and that I'm not mistaken. :D

    EDIT: And to answer why is this name the most common in Slovakia, it could have infinite reasons. Maybe people with this name used to have more sex than others, so they had more descendants :D, or perhaps they had more boys than girls, so the name passed to more people than others. It's hard to answer.
  • edited July 2017
    A lot of Croats fled their homeland during the Turkish invasions of Bosnia and the Croatian hinterland. Many fled North into Hungarian and Austrian ruled territory such as Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia. The Croat-derived surnames are also somewhat common among modern day Slovenes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_common_surnames_in_Europe#Slovenia

    So @Kapitán Denis is correct. Surnames were often given to people by country/region of origin. My fiancee has Slovakian heritage and her Slovak spelled surname is Poliak/Polák which probably indicates some connection with Poles as well. As for Croat derived names among Slovaks , it's not that difficult to imagine considering we were under the same crown for hundreds of years.  
  • @Kapitán Denis 16th century southeastern Europe :) After Ottomans conquered today's Croatia many Croats fled before them to the north, mostly to Slovakia. You know that Croatian is one of recognized languages in Slovakia and that there are still few Croatian places, although most of them are fully assimilated. Also why many Serbs settled in military frontier after it was formed along the Ottoman border in what is today Croatia and northern Serbia (Vojvodina), that's the background of all Serbo-Croatian conflicts.
  • @Dušan Now that you're talking about it, you reminded me of a village called Chorvátsky Grob. I'm sure there are more places like that. Yea, there are even "East Slavic places" like Pohronský Ruskov or Rusovce. I've been to Rusovce. Their Roman-Catholic church has a two barred cross on the top of its tower.
  • @Xekoslav & @Dušan Why would Croats change their last name to "Croat", when they came here? Just to make their descendants aware of their heritage?
  • @Kapitán Denis People don't always choose their surnames, sometimes a nickname becomes hereditary and later a surname. Plus it doesn't have to mean that all of them were Croats, maybe they will simply from Croatia.
  • I didn't even noticed Xekoslav's comment, we must have typed simultaneously.
  • @Kapitán Denis They probably didn't personally change their surname. It was probably given to them by the locals distinguishing them from natives. It was quite common back then in that part of Europe to associate one's family with their ethnicity of origin or at least land/region of origin. Again my fiancee has a Slovak last name that strongly indicates some Polish influence as well. Check out these common surnames in Hungary for example. 

    You have Horvath( Croat/from Croatia) , Toth ( Slavic/Slovak), Nemeth ( German/from Germany), Olah ( Vlach), Racz ( Serb/ from Serbia). 
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croats_in_the_Czech_Republic

    Croat's came to the Czech Republic as well.  I even have cousins with the surname Charvát, though that's a pretty common name with Czechs as well.


  • edited July 2017
    The small villages that make up Bratislava like Dúbravka and Devínska nová Ves were originally Croatian villages and in Devínska nová Ves some people still speak Croatian there. Also many Slovak gedmatch kits I've seen seem to cluster very close to croatians(not like my family which doesn't). I'm also very curious about Croatian ancestry in Slovakia. 

    Horváth isnt a hungarian name. Trust me I've looked at old church records in slovakia. Last names were spelled in many different ways sometimes in Latin ,sometimes German ,some times Hungarian sometimes even in Czech. Spelling was not as important back then and some spelling variations stuck with different people. It's why you have people with the last name Urban and then  also urbanus in Slovakia. Horváth being spelled in a Hungarian spelling doesn't make it Hungarian at all just as urbanus doesn't make it a Roman name. 
  • I don't think there is any original/autochthon Croat ancestry in Slovakia ( maybe with the exception of Rusyn inhabited places which links to the White Croats). Many of the central European Croats that have been there for generations trace their lineage back to the refugees from Ottoman invasions of Croatia and Bosnia.
  • White Croatia (or Western Croatia...) Get its name by old Slavic tradition to asigned colors to a sides of the world so Noth was black, West was White, South was red and East was green or blue. When majority of Croats went to south in early 7th century significant number of Croats stay in nothern regions of Slovakia and South Poland (Malopolska) and just a small groups in Ucraine and on Karpatian mountains. Slovakian Croats were mountain people very well adapted to life in mountains and forests with compact , but remote villages. That was a reason to preserve their original national charateristics in Slovakia. Slovaks and Croats have had traditionaly good relations and there were no problem to have surname Horvath. I am very proud to our good relations with Slovaks over thousand years and I hope that our relations will be good as they are now in the future. Welcome to our coast and feel like at home! Pozdrav iz Hrvatske
  • edited July 2017
    @sedeslav In Slovakia, Croatia is often called "slovenské more" (Slovak sea), because most of Slovaks go on vacation to Croatia. I'm visiting Croatia this year. It's going to be my first vacation at a sea coast. Pozdrav zo Slovenska! :)
  • i just wonder why is it that many (sooo many) Horvaths in Slovakia are gypsies - that is a very common surname among gypsy minority.
  • @Jozinko Gypsies are very "productive" so they have big families. :D Big family = more people with the same last name.
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