Tretjak, Petak, Šestak, Sedmak, Osmak, and Devetak sounds like rhyming words from a poem, or like a child playing with words. In fact, they are Slovenian surnames, all of which are formed in the same way. Tretjak is Third, Šestak is Sixth, Sedmak is Seventh, Osmak is Eigth, Devetak is Nineth.
The surname Sedmak has a few possible origins. The first was that a son was the seventh child born and the name Sedmak was given to this offspring. Of course, it is possible that, in fact, he was not the seventh child, but the seventh son of live births, or, which is a little less likely, the seventh child. However, his mother gave birth to at least six children before his.
Surname from Primorska region
Sedmak is truly a name from the Primorska region. It can be found in parish records from villages located along the sea as well as in the interior of the province. It is also possible that Sedmak actually originates from one of them.
The source of the surname can be explained with simply viewing a map of this region. When a particular surname is very common in one parish, it is almost always the case that everyone with this surname in the surrounding places are the descendants of the newcomers from the ‘first nest’.
Sedmaks from Kriz, north of Trieste, and from the hill Planina near Ajdovščina, forming the ‘second nest’, are almost certainly connected, although we do not have concrete evidence yet. The hypothesis will of course have to be confirmed by a genealogical survey, but the probability is very high.
The ‘third nest’ is Narin and Nadanje Selo near Pivka. They can also be connected with the Sedmaks from Vipava. The distance between these villages may be considered very widespread, but we find a connection between two surnames in both places: Penko and Sedmak. In past centuries, marriages between such distant parishes were not as rare as one may believe. Today, routes between villages are very different from a century or more ago. So, marriages between villages which may seem very “far” today, because of the current routes, were actually much closer in distance.
The oldest Sedmak is from 1494
Academician Paul Merku has found the oldest Sedmaks in the village of Rubije, dating back to 1494. Rubije is a small village in the Karst (Kras) region,in the parish of Holy Cross (Sv. Kriz). Professor Marko Oblak, the excellent genealogist in the Trieste and Primorska region, found, in the same village, the Sedmak name dating back to 1507.
Sedmak from Narin (Pivka)
The oldest Sedmak in the Pivka region is found around 1600. At that time Primož Sedmak lived in Narin, of the Košana parish. The surname is also found in the other village of the same parish, Nadanje Selo, but they probably moved from Narin. We documented the ancestors of these individuals from the middle of the 17th century to the earliest and oldest preserved registers. The oldest Sedmak from Nadanje Selo was born in 1679. His name was Janez (John) Sedmak. Almost certainly his father’s name was Anton Sedmak, who was born in 1717, from which arises all the proven Sedmaks from that line. Today his descendants can be found everywhere from the villages of Slovenia to the American city of Cleveland, Ohio. I came to these conclusions because of the contracted genealogical research for Richard Sedmak from Cleveland. For several days we visited Nadanje Selo, the village of his ancestors, and other archives, as well as some homes of his living relatives. A long and costly trip across the ocean was made just to see where his ancestors came from. He was also happy to visit his relatives living in Brkini and Pivka.
Sedmak from Planina (Ajdovščina)
On the hill at Ajdovščina, however, in the beginning of the 19th century lived an interesting family of Sedmaks. Valentin Sedmak married Marija Kodre. They had a son named Valentin Sedmak, who succeeded the domestic farm in Gorenja Vas 76. This Valentin Sedmak married - Marija Kodre. His wife has the identical name as his mother... The wedding book does not say that Valentin and Maria were younger than the former, which means that they were at least distant kinship.
It is important to know that the name of Marija (Mary) was the most common female name in Slovenia. Considering that there are no Sedmaks in the 1822 Planina cadastre, and since there is no Valentine Sedmak in the baptismal records, we can conclude that he is a newcomer. To determine if he came from the Karst or the Pivka regions, a more detailed survey will have to be done.
Among the famous Sedmaks we find only three in Primorska's biographical lexicon and the online lexicon of Primorci.si.Teacher and psychologist Danilo Sedmak’s (1937) home is in Sv. Kriz, which means that we can link him with the Sedmaks of Rubije, half a millenniumago.Nova Gorica’s inventor and electrician Philip Sedmak (1929) has mountain roots. The third known Sedmak, Paul, is the author of the outstanding novel Kaplan Martin Čedermac.Naturally, every Primorec’s ears perk up when the word "čedermac" is heard. The author of the famous Čedermac was the writer France Bevk. It's true. Because of pressure from the fascists, the book was published in Ljubljana (1938) under Bevk’s pseudonym, Paul Sedmak.
A few more Sedmaks can be found in the Slovenian Wikipedia:Painter and Graphic Artist Aleš Sedmak (1952), biologist Bojan Sedmak (1952), singer Goga Sedmak, journalist Marjan Sedmak (1938), sociologist Mateja Sedmak (1971), officer Stojan Sedmak (1958), veteran from the Independence war.
Across the world, there are 1,900 people with the surname Sedmak. In Slovenia there are 326, some 100 less than a decade ago. In 2014, the region of Primorska reported a total of 300 Sedmaks, including 90 on the Italian side of the border.
In Croatia, where they have their own native Sedmaks, lives more than 400. Most live in the vicinity of Zagreb and Slavonia. Katica Sedmak from Vinkovci was a Member of Parliament.In Europe, there are 250 Sedmaks found in Slovakia. In the overseas countries, the number of Sedmaks is considerable: 370 in the US, 60 in Canada, and 40 in Australia. The nationality of these Sedmaks (Slovenian or Croatian or Slovak) is not known.
Translation: Richard Sedmak
|Prevalence of the surname Sedmak around the world. Slavic surname formed in various places, but it has the same meaning, the “seventh son”.|
|The title page of the marriage book from Košana (1650), in which we find many Sedmaks. It is a real calligraphic work. The book is kept by the Diocesan Archives of Koper.|
|The oldest Sedmaks in the village of Rubije, dating back to 1494|
Richard Sedmak encountered a “wide open door” and a table lined with delicious foods from his relatives in Ritomeče and Koče.
Thank you, dear Richard, for the translation. I was very happy that I could help you with searching your relatives and ancestors. It was my pleasure.