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"pokrajac" family name, ancestry, and history

Origins: Balkans

Pokrajac (Cyrillic: Покрајац, pron) is a Serbian surname. There exist at least three theories as to its origin. According to one, it came into being when there was an individual who served the Austro-Hungarian forces on the military border – the past border between Austria and Bosnia, which later belonged to the Ottomans. Since the border was near the edge ("kraj") of the country, the surname Pokrajac came about. Pokrajac, therefore, is a name that describes an individual who lives or exists on an edge, or end ("kraj"). Another theory states that Pokrajac surname came from Montenegro. That hypothesis most probably came about through the efforts of Montenegrin nationalists, according to whom any Serbian last name is actually Montenegrin in origin. "Potkraj", in Serbian, means "at the bottom of a mountain slope", and there are a number of villages in Bosnia named "Potkraj". It is possible that people living in "Potkraj" got the word "Potkrajac" as their surname. Since "Pokrajac" is easier to pronounce, it is likely that letter "t" disappeared over time. Today, the surname Pokrajac can be found in many countries: Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Canada, Australia, United States and many other countries across the globe.

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