book’s contents will include an appendix, “List of Settlements” (town, county) with cross-reference to the main entry. While it’s still a work in progress, the list of settlements numbers well over 600. See some examples here of how it looks.
This raises the question about terms that I’ve been using in this blog that I’d like to clarify. What do I consider a “settlement” and what is an “organized community?”
For purposes of this blog and the eventual book:
A settlement is a place (incorporated or otherwise) where Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants resided, regardless of their numbers. It is extremely unlikely, though possible, that only a single Rusyn immigrant or family lived in such a place, and it’s also somewhat unlikely that I would be able to learn of such a place where only one individual or one family was living. For the most part, the settlements are revealed in church records, where the place of a child’s birth or the place of residence of individuals being married or buried is noted. Generally, these locations are noted in some detail, down to the “patch” or village that may or may not be near the town where the church is. Some of these places—especially “patches”—no longer exist as inhabited places, and require reference to an old coal mine map or an excellent site like the Virtual Museum of Coal Mining in Western Pennsylvania.
An organized community is a place where a group of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants established a church or a fraternal organization lodge. I tried to map the geographic extent of these through several years of the 1890s to 1900, two examples of which are in my introductory post. Usually where a church was established, that indicated that the number of Rusyn immigrants in that vicinity was sufficient to sustain several fraternal organization lodges and probably some businesses or even a social club or two. But in many places there was a significant number of immigrants who had several fraternal lodges but no church. If the history of that community is substantial, I will give it its own entry; otherwise I will describe it in the entry for the community where the church is that served that area.
For example, Ormrod, Lehigh County, had several fraternal lodges, but the community was associated with the churches in Northampton and Catasauqua. Therefore Ormrod will be discussed in the entry for Catasauqua and Northampton (which itself is a combined entry, as those communities are geographically adjacent and both had churches whose membership came from the same settlements of the surrounding area).
|Society of the Archangel Michael, Lodge #27 of the Providence Association, in Ormrod, Lehigh County, founded 1914 with both Rusyn and Ukrainian members. (1938 photo)|
Saint Mary's Assumption Byzantine Catholic congregation was founded sixty-nine years ago to care for the spiritual needs of Rusin immigrants coming to the village of New Salem and its thirty-seven environs viz: Bessmer, Brier Hill, Buffington, Cardale, Dearth, Edenborn, Fairbanks, Filbert, Footedale, Gates, Gray's Landing, Grindstone, Helen, Herbert, Hoover, Keister, Lambert, Leckrone, Livingood, Masontown, Messmore, Miller Farm, Nemacolin, New Boro, Orient, Prospect, Province Mine, Puritan, Ralph, Republic, Rocks, Royal, Searight, Shamrock, Tower Hill 1 & 2, and Thompson No. 2.
Finally, to the extent possible, I will describe the primary streets or sections of the various towns and cities where Rusyn immigrants were concentrated. Naturalization and census records are very helpful in this respect, but even in some church records the street addresses of the individuals involved were recorded by the conscientious pastor.
There are still some unresolved questions in my mind as to how to apply these principles across the board.
- Since Pittsburgh has so many distinct communities each with a colorful and detailed history of its own, do they warrant a separate entry for each, or should all of Pittsburgh be covered in a single, long entry? (I am inclined to keep all of Philadelphia in one entry, which may still be of manageable length.)
- How geographically distant at most should the settlements be that I’m inclined to group together in a single entry? For example, there were small Rusyn immigrant settlements in Cornwall and Lebanon (Lebanon County) and Middletown (Dauphin County) that have no real relationship to each other, and none of which had any kind of Rusyn church, and the Rusyn history of each is quite limited. I’m inclined to combine them into a single entry, “Cornwall – Lebanon – Middletown.” In addition, I plan to write about the post-World War II migration of American-born Rusyns to the greater Harrisburg area, where they founded two churches. But this has no relationship to the handful of Rusyn immigrants who once settled in nearby Middletown. Should I include them all as one “Harrisburg/Lebanon Area” entry, perhaps?
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.