This family was sovereigns, princes, dukes, despots and grand voivodas of Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Voivodina (then in Hungary, today in Serbia, whose name comes from the Voivode of Tchernetich). Some minor branches of the family converted from Orthodox Christianity to Roman Catholicism. The name “Montenegro” was given by the Venetians to the kingdom of the “Grand Voivoda and Despot of Zeta”, Stephan Komnenos. He was also called “The Black” (Stephan Cernoe or Crnoje) as were other members of the family. Komnenos Palaiologos Angelos ruled in the Balkans where he was well-known to the Ottomans for his skills as a fearless warrior. In this family there have been many non-Slav surnames during centuries such as Komnenos Angelos Palaiologos Lascaris, Skanderbeg, Djuasevic, Černoević, Crnojević, Černović, Crnoević, Csernovics, Cernovichio, Zarnovicchio, Zarnović, Zernovich.
It has been assumed that the House originates from Emperor John II Porfirogenito Komnenos called “The Black” (1087 – 1143, Emperor of Byzantium from 1118 to 1143) who married Piroska (Irene) Princess of Hungary who in turn gave birth to 8 children one of whom, John II, re-conquered the Balkans for the Empire. His son Manuel I Porfirogenito Komnenos, Emperor and father of many illegitimate children, in 1167 re-conquered the Eastern Empire (Dalmatia, Bosnia and Croatia) probably putting one of his sons on Montenegro’s throne.
The family have been Venetian Nobles since 1472; nobles of Dalmatia and Ragusa-Dubrovnik since time immemorial and definitely prospering there in the XIII century; nobles in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia and Russia; high dignitaries and governors (Beg and Sangiak-Beg) in the Ottoman Empire in Albania and Epirus until the early years of the 1900s and the last emperors of Serbia in 1526.
The famous Florentine humanist Leon Battista Alberti of the that Tuscan noble family married one of the Tchernetichs of Montenegro.
In 1700, the last sovereign of Montenegro, Stephan George IV Tchernetich, having to leave in the face of the Ottoman advance, left the government in the hands of the orthodox metropolitan, Petrovic Njegos (this family was formerly Hebrew merchants from the city of Njegos, who became Orthodox Christians), and lead his army to the safe region of Pannonia (Hungary). Since that time this region has been called Voivodina (from Grand Voivoda – Grand Duke – Tchernetich) This area now forms a part of Serbia as a self-governing region since 1919. In 1690 the Orthodox Patriarch, Arsene III Tchernetich, led a famous exodus of Serbians to Hungary, where he named as his capital the city of Szenthendre (St. Andrew) near Budapest. This land had been devastated by the Ottomans and was granted to him by Emperor Leopold I of the Habsburgs as a reward for his participation alongside the generals Piccolomini and Eugene of Savoia in the war against the Ottomans. More than 10 thousand Serbian troops and their families have been settled in Hungarian territory since 1500, thanks to the Tchernetich Emperors and the Orthodox Church Patriarchs. These Serbians are known as “Black Serbians” (from the root of the surname of the sovereign Tchernetichs of Montenegro).