Last year marked the 100 year anniversary of the Great War which broke out when the Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, assasinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina. Austria-Hungary as we knew it ceased to exist by the end of the War. Bosnia-Hercegovina would enter a new union with the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later to be known as Yugoslavia).
The War had a great impact on World events and naturally, with my family living within the borders of then Austria-Hungary, a number of my family members were called to serve in the Austro-Hungarian army.
One such relative was my great-grandfather, Ante Ćurković (1877-1918). Not much is known about his life. My grandfather was only six years old when his father passed away. He was said to be a good and likeable man who served in the Austro-Hungarian army somewhere in Galicia (the area roughly bordering southern Poland and western Ukraine). According to his death record, he was wounded in the War and died a short time after arriving home.
For the longest time I wondered about the man who died at the young age of 41. Who was he? What did he look like? Where did he go? Why? All these questions and more had me determined to learn more about the man whose surname I proudly carry today.
Thanks to RadixIndex I may now have a way to learn more about my great-grandfather. RadixIndex pointed me to a great website at the Digital State Library of Upper Austria that hosts digital volumes of a publication that was printed during the War called the Verlustliste, or simply the casualty list of all Austro-Hungarian army personnel wounded, killed or captured during the course of the War.
When glancing at the Verlustliste, it is mind boggling just thinking about the list of names. Thankfully, there is a neat search feature on the website that allows you to search through the OCR content. Be warned though, some of the names you look for may appear differently in the database. For example, if I am looking for "Županjac" (the name of today's Tomislavgrad during Austrian times) it may appear as Zupanjac, 2upanjac, Znpanjac, etc. This is where the search feature becomes your saving grace.
After some searching I think I may have stumbled on to my great-grandfather's record:
Čurković Ante, PatrfTitUntJäg., bh. FJB. Nr. 4, 3. Komp., Bosnien, Zupanjac, Konto, 1883; verw.
At first glance, the record does not seem to tell you much. The spelling of the name is a bit off as is his year of birth. It does mention which part of the army he belonged to (FJB = Feldjägerbataillon = rifle battalion) and it also notes that he was wounded (verw). "Konto" or Korita (proper) may be where the nearest recruiting centre was located. This particular piece of news was printed in Volume 656, p. 12 of the Verlustliste (dating back to March 5, 1918).
A good start for finding more info on my great-grandfather. Let's hope I can uncover more information and piece together enough to learn more about my family's history in the process!