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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Genealogy Conference Presentation: "Uncovering and Publishing the History of Pennsylvania’s Carpatho-Rusyns"

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter's second annual Rusyn Genealogy Conference: From Eastern Europe to America's Coal Regions was held Saturday, November 1, 2014 at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Speakers included:
  • Jim Kaminski (President of C-RS),
  • Tom Peters (genealogist),
  • Rich Custer (historian),
  • Dr. Peter Yasenchak (Director of research at the Historical Society of Schuylkill County), and
  • Jerry Jumba (Carpatho-Rusyn music, dance and culture specialist).
Yours truly gave a presentation, "Uncovering and Publishing the History of Pennsylvania’s Carpatho-Rusyns." I'm pleased to share information about the presentation, my handout for conference participants, and some of the slides.

This presentation will discuss the preparation of a history, in words and in pictures, of the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant communities in the state of Pennsylvania. Through the collection and research of chain migration data, parish histories, church and civil records, immigrant newspapers, photographs, oral histories, and memoirs, the author has amassed a collection of source material that he is assembling into the most comprehensive look at the history of Carpatho-Rusyn communities anywhere in the world.

Special focus will be given to the influence the pioneer Rusyn immigrant settlements in the anthracite region had on the development of Carpatho-Rusyn religious and cultural institutions statewide and nationwide, and the audience will hear powerful first-person accounts of the earliest days of Rusyn community life in the coal mining towns of the region.

Download Presentation Handout [PDF]

The aforementioned first-person accounts came from the translated memoirs of early Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants to the anthracite region, including Teodozij Talpaš (Shamokin) and Dymytrij Kapitula (Honey Brook/Audenried, near McAdoo), and the American-born Michael Luchkovich, writing about his early life in Shamokin. Each of these described the difficult conditions for those working in the mines, and for the newly-arrived Rusyn immigrants to establish themselves in a new land, in a community where there were but a few of their own people.

Here is a selection of the presentation slides.

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


  1. I sure wish I would have been able to attend....Do I need to wait for the book to hear more of the Bells in the village of Kybljary? This is where parts of my family originated and the first I have heard of this.....


    1. Hi Dennis,
      I was in Kybljary in 1996 and saw this for myself and photographed the plaque. I believe most of the people who donated lived around Brownsville, Fayette County. Also, I think it was written up in the Greek Catholic Union's newspaper Amerikansky Russky Viestnik which I probably have a copy of which contains all the details. When I come across it I will let you know :-)


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