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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chronology of Carpatho-Rusyn Churches in the U.S., 1884-1900

While working on an article about Lemko Rusyn businessmen (& a businesswoman) in Shamokin, Northumberland County (forthcoming), it became clear that I often have to keep piecing together a list of all of the Carpatho-Rusyn churches founded in the U.S. and in what year they were founded.

To definitively establish a year of founding can be a challenge due to varying circumstances in the history of each parish. I have tried to use the date generally accepted both by the parish and in primary sources of the time to say that this parish/church was unquestionably in existence at some point that year. Generally this would either be the granting of a civil charter to the parish, the existence of a permanent place of worship, and/or the assignment of a priest (or a visiting priest making regular visits for services and sacraments).

Occasionally the date I use conflicts with the date used by the parish. For example, Shamokin's Transfiguration Church has celebrated its anniversaries based on 1884, when Father Ivan Voljans'kyj began to visit the Shamokin/Excelsior area occasionally. However, a church was not built until 1889 (the date I am using here); the parish was chartered only in 1892.

For my own reference and for your interest, here's that list, from the first in 1884 through 1900. The list is always open to correction and improvement.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Press Coverage: Byzantine Catholic World, July 5, 2015

To hopefully get the word out beyond the usual online channels (and the Carpatho-Rusyn Society's New Rusyn Times, which I edit), I've been submitting articles on my book & blog to some print publications.

The first one to appear is in the Byzantine Catholic World, the newspaper of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

While there's no new ground here for those who have already been reading the blog, here it is for your interest. My article begins on page 11.

(Note: I do not endorse the remainder of the content of that issue. It's a Catholic publication; 'nuff said.)

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

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.

Friday, July 3, 2015

“Lost” Settlements: Betula, McKean County

(Part of the series “Lost” Carpatho-Rusyn Settlements)

Betula, now considered a "ghost town," "started about 1910 when the barrel factory moved in. In Betula's prime, 1915-1921, there was 3000-4000 people." (capsule history and photo here)

Pictured here is the family of Pavel Panc'o (Paul Pancio); he came from Tŷl'ova, Krosno County, to the U.S., to Pittsburgh, in 1905, where he joined Lodge 102 of the Russian Brotherhood Organization (RBO). From Pittsburgh he moved to Betula in north central Pennsylvania, where assisted by his brother Teodor they organized Lodge 146 of the RBO. Pavel served as the lodge secretary/treasurer.

In 1922 there was a dearth of work in Betula, and the Pancios moved to Olean, New York, and transferred RBO Lodge 146 also to Olean.

In Jan. 1933, with the assistance of his brother John, Pavel organized a youth branch, Lodge 52 of the RBO Youth Division.

In 1993 a family member published this history, which I have yet to read. Perhaps it will shed some more light on how this family came to live in Betula, if only for a short time.

Bell, George E, The Pancios from Galicia: The Pancio family history, 1993

In the records of Holy Trinity Greek Catholic Church in Sykesville, Jefferson Co., are several baptisms in 1912 of Rusyn children born in Betula, of the Pancio, Dadio, and Kaszczak families. Most likely there were other Rusyn families there. What happened to them?

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