Balkovci is a hamlet on the northern, Slovenian, side of the river Kolpa, directly to the east of the village of Zilje. This hamlet should be distinguished from a larger administrative region (gemeinde) also named Balkovci. This administrative region included the hamlets of Balkovci, Pavlini, Dejani, Valeti, Vidine and Novoseli.
Balkovci falls within the region of Slovenia known as Bela krajina (White Carniola in English, Weisskrain in German), thus named to distinguish it from the remainder of the historical Austrian Duchy of Carniola (Herzogthum Krain) to the north. Prior to inclusion into the duchy, this area was under the control of the Kingdom of Croatia, which had already been absorbed into the Kingdom of Hungary. Counts from Carinthia and Carniola to the north, setting their sights southward to the sparsely populated primeval forests of Bela krajina, conducted successful military campaigns in the 12th century. There is evidence, based on church records and Urbariae, that this hamlet was considered part of Zilje until ca. 1770.
The map here from the Francisian Cadastre of 1823 shows us the oldest households. The Vidari house has vanished, and its location is marked on the aerial photo with a rectangle. As of this date, Balkovci (“Wulkowzy“) seems to still be considered part of Zilje (“Sille“).
The population of Balkovci, has always worked predominantly, until very recently, in agriculture.
It is our hope that this website is useful and interesting, then, to people on both sides of the Atlantic: those whose ancestors stayed in Balkovci and those who felt they had to leave just to survive.
Continue on to explore the history of the People of Balkovci.