Even though this year I will concentrate my research time, nearly a week's worth, on the same area, my emphasis will be a little different. Feeling the pressure of my quickly-approaching self-imposed deadline to complete and publish this book, I'm now trying to gather as many final artifacts as possible over the next few months, especially old photographs.
Yes, I'll be doing a fair amount of photography, as usual, perhaps even gaining access to a handful of parishes' metrical records I have yet to work with, and visiting libraries, archives, and courthouses. But more than anything I hope to learn who might have those wonderful historical photographs from the life of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant communities in the region.
For sure, most of the kinds of photos I'm including here would be kept in the archives of various Carpatho-Rusyn-founded churches, and I absolutely intend to inquire with their pastors before my trip as much as I can to get an idea of what they may have and to see if I would be permitted to visit to scan them. I'm hoping that some parishes which published anniversary books in the past few years have already done that and would be willing to share the digital files. But if not, I know there are a few parishes where these photos definitely are, and I will try my best to get permission to scan them (and eventually reprint them in my book).
But that limited number of photos, to the extent parishes still have any, don't tell the whole story. This is where I need your help. If you know of and can connect me with anybody who would have historical photos from the Carpatho-Rusyn (or Ukrainian, or Russian...) community in these places, including any of the photos I am including in this post, please let me know how I can contact them. My e-mail is email@example.com.
Saturday, May 27:
Day 1 I will actually spend not in the northeast, but in central Pennsylvania, mainly in Clearfield County. As I will go into detail about in an upcoming post, this area has some of the oldest Rusyn immigrant communities in the state, but the available history of these communities is generally very basic and historical photos seem to be few and far between. Those photos that have appeared in anniversary books are generally not usable because of the poor quality of print or they are just too small in the book.
Places I plan to visit that day or would want to learn of anyone with such photos from there:
- Dixonville, Indiana Co.
- Bakerton, Cambria Co.
- Smithmill (Janesville)
- Osceola Mills
- Hawk Run
|From several anniversary booklets of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Dixonville|
Also in that vicinity are the Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Ramey, St. Mary's Annunciation, founded 1893 – of which I do have a few photographs of interest, though scanned from books only – and the Russian Orthodox (OCA) parish in Madera. The only old photo I have from the Rusyn community around this church is this mislabeled postcard. While St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Madera was always a smaller community, surely there are interesting old photos from this community that built their church back in 1909.
The saga continues with the Orthodox parishes in Osceola Mills, founded 1890, in Philipsburg, founded 1894, and the Byzantine Catholic parish in Hawk Run, founded 1904. Where are all the old photos? The Philipsburg parish has put some interesting ones in past anniversary books, but the reproduction quality was not very good, and they are so small! I hope some of these will turn up somewhere, not to mention from those other two parishes, of which I have next to nothing.
|They're so small! And without dates or descriptions... :-(|
Sunday, May 28:
After a quick visit to my mom's on Sunday, I will head north. My destinations will include a few notable communities that are rather distant from one another.
- Glen Lyon, Alden Station, Kingston, Edwardsville
The current pastor of St. Vladimir's lives about an hour away from the church, so I am hoping with advance notice he may be able to meet with me or that someone else from the parish could share with me whatever might be on hand. Here are some of the better ones from that 75th anniversary book that I would love to do original scans of if possible. The parish gets extra credit for identifying so many of the people in the photos, and the date.
|Wonderful photo; unfortunately here it's too small!|
|Wonderful detail – so many names!|
- a photo (from the 1910s?) of the church choir holding a sign that said РУССКІЙ ХОРЪ [Rusyn/Russian Choir]. I saw it in the rectory of Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian G.C. Church in Nanticoke around 1999-2000.
While Glen Lyon, Alden Station, Kingston, and Edwardsville are not specifically on my targeted list for photo-finding on this trip, I will always welcome any leads on old photos from these communities.
Monday through Wednesday, May 29-31:
Memorial Day is the main day of the long-running pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's Monastery in South Canaan, where I will spend the morning and early afternoon, but later that day and for two days afterward I will be based in/around Scranton.
- Old Forge
In Jermyn, nestled between Archbald (few Rusyns) and Mayfield (mostly Rusyns), is the St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church (OCA), a community almost evenly mixed between Lemko Rusyns from Nowy Sącz, Jaslo, Krosno, and Sanok Counties, and Subcarpathian Rusyns from northern Šaryš and Zemplyn Counties. They have also done a pretty good job through the years publishing historical photos in their anniversary booklets, but they didn't always turn out so clear in the books. Here I seem to recall that in the church hall they display many old photos in glass cases, so I hope to get permission to scan them and any others that might turn up. The longtime pastor was welcoming enough years ago when I requested permission to do research with the metrical records, so I hope his disposition will still be that way for this.
|A magnificent photo from an anniversary book of St. Michael's in Jermyn that needs to be scanned to reprint it with the detail it deserves.|
Its first few decades are well documented in photographs, and the parish's 1991 centennial book especially shows just how well. Unfortunately, the reproductions of the photos in that book are difficult to effectively scan, due both to the textured paper it was printed on and because of the tight binding. Here are some of the older and more interesting ones. Kudos here as well to the parishioners who were able to identity so many of the individuals in many of those precious images.
The town of Simpson, aka Fell Township, just outside of Carbondale, more or less crowns the "new Lemkovyna" that starts in Olyphant and goes north through Jermyn and Mayfield. These towns had probably the highest percentage of residents of Lemko Rusyn heritage of anywhere in Pennsylvania except perhaps Carnegie in Allegheny County or Conemaugh in Cambria County. Simpson, with two churches of Rusyn origin (actually now three), is a fascinating historical study, but unfortunately only one of the two original churches has extensive photo documentation of that history – St. Basil's Russian Orthodox Church.
St. Basil's Church's 75h anniversary book (1979) had some fantastic photos, many of which had the individuals identified as well. I suspect the church may still have some of them, but I have yet to inquire about it. It may be the case, as elsewhere, that after the book was published the photos were returned to people who loaned them out, and finding the originals today may be a hopeless quest.
|So many names, and from so long ago! These photos are real treasures.|
|I learned recently that the Y.M.R.A. (Young Men's Russian Association, maybe?) Club was Simpson's local branch of the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs (FROC).|
As for the equally historic Ss. Peter & Paul Greek Catholic Church of Simpson, I am still searching for that needle in a haystack of historical photos. Perhaps a reader knows where that might be.
The remainder of my week will be spent mostly in New Jersey, where I will be speaking at a genealogy conference at St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Hillsborough on Saturday, June 3. In the few days before, I hope to gather some additional data and materials to enhance my presentation, which will cover the history of Carpatho-Rusyn immigration to New Jersey. If this sounds of interest, please register – there's still time!
For more about my quest for photos statewide, see these previous posts: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.