Carpatho-Rusyns are one of the major ethnic groups of Pennsylvania. From the time they settled the state’s small towns and cities in the late 1870s until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state, and their story should be told. This blog is about a project that will do just that. Read more

Monday, June 23, 2014

Table of Contents-to-be

Here’s my first experiment in crowdsourcing the content. Feel free to offer your opinion/reaction/suggestions in the comments.

I foresee the book to be organized as follows.
Table of Contents
Dedication & Acknowledgements
Notes (on transliteration, spelling of proper names, spelling of village names)
Introduction (essay)

History by region:
Lower Anthracite Region
Upper Anthracite Region
Southeastern PA
Lehigh Valley
Central PA
Altoona-Johnstown Region
Pittsburgh Region
Monongahela River Valley / Southwestern PA
Westmoreland Region
Allegheny-Kiski Valley
Northwestern PA
List of Settlements (town, county) with cross-reference to main entry
Lodge listings by organization (sorted numeric / by location)
Chain Migration by village
Index (of proper names? – localities will be indexed in the Appendix: List of Settlements)
Within each region (I may call these the “chapters”), there will be entries for each main community.

The text will be footnoted, or endnoted, with the notes presented at the end of each entry/chapter.

Coal fields of the anthracite region.
From Michael Novak, The Guns of Lattimer (1978)
I chose the regions not just by geography, but by relationships of the communities within a region to each other, and the extent of influence from the key communities.  For example: the “Lower Anthracite” region I’ve designated as going as far north as Freeland in Luzerne County. The distinction between “Lower Anthracite” and “Upper Anthracite” there may seem arbitrary, but it’s by reasoning: in the early years of the Freeland church (founded 1885), it also served Rusyns in/around Hazleton, McAdoo, and Beaver Meadows; the Hazleton churches had relationships also with McAdoo and also Sheppton; Sheppton also had relationships with Shenandoah, and so on. But the influence of Freeland did not extend farther north, to Glen Lyon and Alden Station, for example; those communities were firmly tied in their early years to Kingston and Wilkes-Barre. So at its edge, the communities I designated “the Lower Anthracite region” had relationships primarily with other communities in that same region.

As to the order of the regions, overall I’m trying to go from the earliest settlements (which are in the anthracite region both “lower” and “upper”) and move generally to their geographically contiguous areas, then moving westward. Of course, I jump from Upper Anthracite down to Southeastern PA to acknowledge the earlier settlements in Philadelphia and Mont Clare/Phoenixville before those in the Lehigh Valley, which began a bit later.

Also, by this method of ordering I’m a bit torn, because Pittsburgh had Carpatho-Rusyn settlers already in the 1880s, the first church was founded in 1890 (in Duquesne), etc., yet it’s in the second half of the order. (And it comes after Altoona-Johnstown, whose Carpatho-Rusyn communities were a bit later to develop than Pittsburgh.)

Within a region, I am not sure how to order the entries. One approach would be alphabetically, but then you wouldn’t logically be presented first with the place that had the earliest settlement in that region that was a key to the development of other communities in that region. So how best to order them? Should I start with the earliest settlement in that region, and then go through the rest alphabetically? It would be difficult to do it purely from oldest to most recent. Whichever way it’s done, there will be entries that seem out of order.

Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.


  1. Your regions make good sense to those of us who understand Pennsylvania geography, but it won't make as much sense to outsiders or the geographically challenged. I suggest you divide Pennsylvania into 3 parts, like Julius Caesar divided Gaul, and then use your sections as subsections of the big 3: Eastern PA (Delaware River west to the Susquehanna River); Central PA (Susquehanna River to Appalachian Continental Divide in Bedford County and straight north); Western Pennsylvania (Bedford County and north then west to the OH and WV state lines. So I won't use the chronology organization. I'd use East, Central, West, with subsections within each.

    1. Thanks, Peter. Very good point, and I'm glad you think the subdivisions could still work. Within each of the 3 groups there's going to be a LOT of entries, and to present them all alphabetically the reader will lose the sense of interrelatedness. I think the regions as I outlined would still fit into your tripartite schema and help to "keep it together" on a more local basis.

  2. I like the idea of places being alphabetical within your defined regions. Alphabetical order is more intuitive than chronological order for those who are not already familiar with the chronology. A map or index for each of your defined regions with each town and a referenced chronological year and page number could help readers find other nearby towns which may interest them. You could also have a main map or index showing towns within your regions, and also show the broader Eastern/Central/Western PA designations to help the geographically challenged as Peter said.


I welcome your feedback, inquiries, and suggestions. Hostile or off-topic comments will not be approved.