The hamlet is named most likely for it’s founders – people with surname Balkovec. The surname can be traced in its Croat form Balković to the town of Obrovac, which was invaded by the Turks in 1527. Balković refugees moved into Bela Krajina through Lika, and settled in Balkovci, and possibly in other villages around Vinica.
The first mention of an individual with this surname is Tome Balkovec (Thome Balkouaz) in the 1674 Urbarium, living in the župa of Zilje, and in charge of 2 mills south of Pavlini and south of Dejani on the river Kolpa.
By 1690, many more individuals with surname Balkovec (Wollkouez) appear in the Urbarium, but it is unclear whether they lived in Balkovci or in Zilje:
Marko (blacksmith), Jurica, Grge, Jure, Pavel, Peter, Ivanec, Mikula, Martin and Mihael Balkovec.
The first notation of a place named Balkovci was ca.1770 in birth registers. The Josephian Cadastre also mentions the place Bolkouze. It is likely that the administrative area of Balkovci was created at this time, and separated from Zilje.
Prior to 1800, there were likely only 3 households in Balkovci: the Biriči, Veliki Balkovci and Ivančevi, numbered as Zilje (Balkovci) 1, 2, and 3. Zilje 4 was the house that constituted the hamlet of Pavlini. The Dolnji Balkovci likely separated from the from the Biriči, and the Vidari from the Gornji Balkovci.
|1800||1850||1900||2000||Old House #||New House #|
|Biriči||Biriči||Biriči||Biriči||Balkovci 1||Balkovci 4|
|Veliki Balkovci||Veliki Balkovci||Veliki Balkovci||Gornji Balkovci||Balkovci 2||Balkovci 3|
|Dolnji Balkovci||Dolnji Balkovci||Dolnji Balkovci||Dolnji Balkovci||Balkovci 3||Balkovci 2|
|Ivančevi||Ivančevi||Ivančevi||Ivančevi, Karasi||Balkovci 4||Balkovci 1|