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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Press Coverage of October 2015 Presentation in Pittston, Pa.

"The steady morning rain on Saturday, October 3rd did not stop those wishing to learn about their ancestry from attending a very special program hosted by St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church, 205 N. Main Street, Pittston. In fact, quite a few participants made the journey from neighboring states in spite of the weather, including from New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and even Florida. Many came from other parts of Pennsylvania for the program that was held 9 am to 3 pm in the church hall.

Entitled “Celebrating the Present/Understanding the Past”, three speakers were featured. They were sponsored by the Eastern PA Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society: Rich Custer, Dr. Michele Parvensky, and Dr. Peter Yasenchak. All three captivated those in attendance with their expertise of Carpatho-Rusyn history. But they also entertained with their lively presentations."

The Eastern Catholic Life newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic included a detailed writeup of the program, including some information about yours truly's presentation. (The presentation will be published in online form on this blog in the near future.)

Click to display the complete article.
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Johnstown Slavic Festival Presentation: “From the Carpathians to the Alleghenies: Carpatho-Rusyn Immigrants in the Greater Johnstown Area”

The first Johnstown Simply Slavic Festival was held Saturday, September 19, 2015 at the Heritage Discovery Center in Johnstown, Pa. The Carpatho-Rusyn Society provided a Rusyn genealogy/culture display and sales table.

The festival included a speaker program as follows:
  • Connie Martin: Genealogical Research in Slavic Countries;
  • Dr. Michael Kopanic: The History of Slovakia;
  • Susan Kalcik: Kroje Slovenska: Folk Dress and Slovak Identity in the Old and New Worlds;
  • Bob Rychlik: Demonstration of the Fujara Flute;
  • Bob Dvorchak: Mike and Annie: A Family History;
  • Steve Purich: My Experience as a Serbian Immigrant to Johnstown;
  • Richard Custer: From the Carpathians to the Alleghenies: Carpatho-Rusyn Immigrants in the Greater Johnstown Area.
My presentation was primarily visual, numbering over 180 slides used to tell the story of the development of Carpatho-Rusyn community institutions in the area of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, including northern Cambria County, Somerset County, and parts of Indiana County. Here I present a synopsis of the presentation, and of necessity only a selection of the slides, briefly annotated for the online viewer's aid in following the presentation without my original verbal explanation.

Carpatho-Rusyns first settled the Johnstown area in 1887 and began to establish their own churches and other institutions. Other Rusyn immigrant centers quickly developed: Barnesboro, Patton, Windber, South Fork, Conemaugh, Portage, and beyond, with thousands of Rusyn immigrants making this area their home, and making up a strong part of the workforce of the local steel mills and coal mines.