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

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Carpatho-Rusyn Immigration Studies: The View from 1974

I pulled this book off my shelf the other day and sat down to read it again.

Conference on Carpatho-Ruthenian Immigration, Stephen Reynolds, and Richard Renoff. Proceedings of the Conference On Carpatho-Ruthenian Immigration, 8 June 1974. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1975.

At the conference, held at Harvard University, 15 scholars met to lay the groundwork for methodical study of Carpatho-Rusyns in the U.S.: to establish guidelines for terminology, research procedures, and geographical boundaries of the ethnic group; to exchange bibliographic and documentary data; and to discuss basic project-related research problems.

They proposed and described a wide-reaching research project, some aspects of which have been essentially completed, and others that unfortunately have not come to fruition.

The discussion covered a wide variety of topics relevant to the Rusyn immigration, such as:
  • Carpatho-Ruthenian Publications in the United States;
  • Anthology of Documents;
  • The Language of Carpatho-Ruthenian Publications;
  • Geographic Settlement Patterns;
  • Carpatho-Ruthenian Religious Music (which, while eminently worthy of study, seems as described here to be out of place in the study of Rusyn immigration).
I'm not sure how much reading this text years ago influenced the concept for my book, but I see some echoes of it particularly in the "settlement patterns" discussion. While I hope that my work will be a major contribution toward what was envisioned 41 years ago, a lot of the other issues raised are still waiting to be addressed in depth by specialists in the field. Lots of worthwhile angles remain to pursue!

Here's the portion most relevant to my work.

Andrew Perejda: Geographic Settlement Patterns

Gentlemen, I’m not here to give you any answers or conclusions at this stage on the settlement patterns of the Carpatho-Rusyns in the United States, as I will commence my searching in depth only after I leave this session at Harvard University. My intentions here are to solicit your experiences, your ideas, and your suggestions. I have no fixed position, and I do not have any preconceived notions about the problem I am about to undertake.

From the general literature on the Carpatho-Rusyns and from my personal knowledge as a first generation descendant, a study of the Carpatho-Rusyns in the United States involves three stages in the settlement and expansion of these people across the country. The first stage concerns the original or pioneer Rusyn settlers from the old world. The second stage relates to individuals who were born of old-world stock but who make up the first generation of American-born Rusyns. The final stage concerns those American-born generations who have been unaffected by the original or pioneer settlers and who comprise the third- and fourth-generation Rusyns. If I may digress momentarily, I would like to trace the spread across the United States and show a pattern or patterns of expansion. Also, as a problem or objective, a brief resume will be provided on the geographical and historical backgrounds of the Carpatho-Rusyn’s homeland oversees followed by a brief statement on their immigration to the United States — based on library materials, congressional documentation, and immigration reports. The real objective will be to map and describe the original nuclei of the immigrant settlements of the Carpatho-Rusyn people in the United States and to describe or depict the cause or causes of their settlement patterns. Likewise, a causal treatment will be made of the settlement patterns of the first-generation American-born Rusyns and those American-born Rusyns making up the third and fourth generation who have been unaffected by the original or pioneer settlers.

Another aspect of the problem will concern the settlement features per se, their distribution and their grouping. The problem will involve a study of both rural and urban features such as architectural styles, properties, settlement ensembles, occupations (professional, industrial, agricultural, business and commercial), and many other material accomplishments. On the cultural side, the role of religion, of benevolent and political organizations, of press and publications, and of cultural and social activities and events in the lives of Carpatho-Rusyns will all be analyzed.

In both the material and cultural aspects of the life of the Rusyns, an attempt will be made to show the variety of material and cultural imprints that they have made in their areas of settlement in the United States through time. Thus we will have a geographic and historical treatment of the Carpatho-Rusyn in the United States. At this point I solicit any questions and comments.

[Paul R.] MAGOCSI: Have you considered looking into the problem of determining, as closely as possible, the actual number of Rusyns who came to the United States? And how do you intend to do it?

PEREJDA: I have prepared an aspect of this report to answer questions just like that. First of all, as you well know, these people called Rusyns might in the immigration data be called Rusniaks; they might be called Ukrainians; they might be called Russians; they might be called Galicians; just about every other description might be applied here. And so, I have an idea. I have seen the matrikas109 of three different churches. I have looked into this very extensively; I have spent a full day on each one. I find that maybe I can trace the number of original settlers that came to the United States through these matrikas.

There might be a little shortcoming in the fact that some people never joined the church; they might not be listed in the matrikas, but those would be quite few and far between because in the life of the Rusyn the church was a unifying factor. The people lived around the church. Very few, if any, did not go. So I’m hoping that there will be no problem.

MAGOCSI: I might mention in this context that we have received permission from the diocese in Johnstown110 to view all the matrikas and we are working on gaining permission ([there is] is a good possibility), from the larger diocese, the Byzantine-Rite one. In Munhall,111 several years ago, all the matrikas were microfilmed, and the microfilm is kept in Pittsburgh, so one wouldn’t have to travel around to all the parishes. Perhaps you can view the matrikas there. And then, I understand that the Ukrainian diocese in Philadelphia contains a significant amount of records from the pre-1924 period,112 which is essential to consider.

PEREJDA: I’m hoping too that I might even go on an interview basis with some of the older professional Rusyns in various parts of the United States to obtain some oral histories on this.

[Joseph] DANKO: I wonder if Hungarian sources on emigration and re-emigration would be helpful in checking or corroborating the data collected. There are some. Have you checked into that possibility?

PEREJDA: A very good suggestion.

MAGOCSI: Yes. Vasylii Hadzhega in the 1930’s, in one of his last published articles, as well as Tajtak today in Košice,113 have written on emigration to the United States from the Subcarpathian side and based their studies on the Hungarian statistics. Hadzhega came up with the figure of 58,000 before 1914, which I don’t believe really suggests the actual number that came.

DANKO: ... I don’t remember the source. ... There is material published, government material I think, on the basis of exit visas. They collected this material and recounted also those people who, after a couple of years in America, when they thought they had made enough money, returned. And these figures are, I think, referred to.

[Richard] RENOFF: The Hungarian Census of 1910,114 which is in French as well as Hungarian, does give the region of origin of the émigrés, I think, by county not by village, unfortunately.

MAGOCSI: It does by village also.

RENOFF: Then, if you had the atlas of the Rusyn villages in the old country, it would be a simple matter to see who was a Rusyn and who was a Slovak. It’s not really a simple matter, but you could arrive at a fair amount of accuracy.

MAGOCSI: I think elements such as these can be used perhaps as control data. However, the primary sources to answer such a question will have to be the matrikas in the United States, because, first of all, official statistics in Hungary did not take into account illegal departures, of which there were many (particularly the draft dodgers before the First World War). Then many immigrants went to other parts of Europe or died on the way. Ship records, however, (this is a problem which is going to be discussed this afternoon) have now been opened and it would be interesting to see what kind of data would be available there.

RENOFF: How do you propose to trace the third and fourth generation, particularly those that have migrated to regions where there is no church or who have assimilated maybe into the Latin church?

PEREJDA: ... I’ll go to their parents’ church and find out where their youngsters have moved to. Now, in recent years, particularly in the last decade or a little longer than that, the younger generations have migrated out toward California, the South, and Florida. There seems to be a gap in this expansion somewhere when you get to the other side of the Mississippi, outside of Denver — then you don’t find them again until you get over on the West coast. And California is the leading state. My brother’s daughter is one of those young individuals that moved with her husband, who is an engineer and who wound up in the aircraft industry there. So, there are a lot of Ruthenians in California.

RENOFF: It’s probably a typical American pattern, rather than a Ruthenian pattern.

PEREJDA: Yes. It’s not a Ruthenian pattern. It’s a typical Americanese [sic] pattern.

RENOFF: Does the church actually keep records of where these children have moved?

PEREJDA: No, I would just ask the church to get a spot-check on certain families and then go visit the families.

[Omeljan] PRITSAK: Can you do it yourself? How many families are there?

PEREJDA: I wouldn’t do every family; I would take a statistical sample for each area.

PRITSAK: I see. How many generations are there? Four?

PEREJDA: We are beginning to count into the fifth. Someone said that the first individual came here in 1878. I’d question that a little bit... maybe more like the 1880’s. Then too, if you look at the developments here in this country, they’re so closely tied in with the Ukrainian developments, even church-wise. So it’s pretty hard to separate these things out and be very, very accurate.

[Edward] KASINEC: At this stage, I can’t resist just telling one anecdote. Professor Perejda enumerated some of the names of these people. I do recall that once I was at a seminary and was looking over a particular library. One seminarian came up to me and he told me that his name was Ward, and he said that I shouldn’t be led astray by that “Waspish” name, since actually he was a Slavish [he pronounced it “Slave-ish”] Byzantine...; so this seems to be also one other name that we have to reckon with.

PEREJDA: I’d add too, Professor Kasinec, that a lot of names have been changed from Slavic into Anglicized forms. Jaroslavsky might become Jaros; Foltanovich might become Fulton, for Americans’ sake, or for simplicity; now some of this goes back to the days when they used to discriminate against people for being, shall we say, “Hunkie”....

[Walter C.] WARZESKI: Some of this came about because of the immigration officials. There was one family I know of Polish extraction, whose name was Dobosiewicz, and saying it very rapidly the immigration authorities put it down as Doublesavage.

PEREJDA: There’s going to be a lot of interesting little anecdotes like that.

MAGOCSI: Yes. We’ll have to make a special dictionary of the forms before and after of the surnames.
109 Literally, “records” or “record book.”

110 See note 38.

111 Industrial suburb, east of Pittsburgh, seat of the Byzantine Ruthenian Rite Metropolitan See.

112 Bishop Stephen Soter Ortynsky’s episcopal See was located at Philadelphia from 1913 until his death in 1918. Bishop Ortynsky had jurisdiction over all Uniates from Bukovina, Carpatho-Ruthenia, and Galicia; see notes 50, 72. It was only in 1924 that separate jurisdictions were established in Pittsburgh (for immigrants from the Hungarian Kingdom) and in Philadelphia (for immigrants from Galicia, Bukovina, and the rest of the Ukraine). See note 74.

113 The reference to Hadzhega is erroneous. Magocsi was actually alluding to Oleksander Mytsiuk, “Z emihratsii uhro-rusyniv pered svitovoiu viinoiu,” Naukovyi zbirnyk Tovarystva 'Prosvita’, XIII-XIV (Uzhhorod, 1937-38), pp. 21-32; Ladislav Tajtak, “Pereselennia ukraintsiv skhidnoi Slovachchyny do 1913 r.,” Duklia, I, 4 (Prešov, 1961), pp. 97-103, and his “Východoslovenské vysťahovalectvo do prvej svetovej vojny,” Nové obzory, III (Prešov. 1961), pp. 221-247.

114 The speaker was referring to the publication cited immediately below and incorrectly called it the census of 1910; Publications statistiques hongroises, Emigration et retour des émigrés des Pays de la Sainte Couronne hongroise de 1899 á 1913 (Budapest: Société Anonyme d’imprimerie de Pest, 1918), xli. 106, 120 pp., tables and charts.

Proceedings of the Conference On Carpatho-Ruthenian Immigration is available for purchase from the Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

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