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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Table of Contents-to-be

Here’s my first experiment in crowdsourcing the content. Feel free to offer your opinion/reaction/suggestions in the comments.

I foresee the book to be organized as follows.
Table of Contents
Dedication & Acknowledgements
Notes (on transliteration, spelling of proper names, spelling of village names)
Introduction (essay)

History by region:
Lower Anthracite Region
Upper Anthracite Region
Southeastern PA
Lehigh Valley
Central PA
Altoona-Johnstown Region
Pittsburgh Region
Monongahela River Valley / Southwestern PA
Westmoreland Region
Allegheny-Kiski Valley
Northwestern PA
List of Settlements (town, county) with cross-reference to main entry
Lodge listings by organization (sorted numeric / by location)
Chain Migration by village
Index (of proper names? – localities will be indexed in the Appendix: List of Settlements)
Within each region (I may call these the “chapters”), there will be entries for each main community.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Launching now!

Even though a blog shows the most recent posts at the top, since we're starting with a bunch of posts already published, you should probably read the Welcome & Intro post first, then go on to the others. So to avoid confusion about what this is, please start here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Carpatho-Rusyn Immigrants, Carpathian Rus’, Identity

Perspective on the identity question

Carpathian Rus’, 2004. Used with permission.
The author identifies himself, and the immigrants in the scope of this study, as Carpatho-Rusyns. That is, Carpatho-Rusyns are a distinct East Slavic people whose homeland has been a defined territory known as Carpathian Rus’ or Carpatho-Rus’, which is found in the present-day countries of Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, and Romania. [maps: Carpathian Rus’ in the 19th Century | Carpathian Rus’ in 2004] The Rusyns of former Yugoslavia—present-day Serbia and Croatia, the historic Bačka and Srem regions—are also included in this study. (The question of Greek Catholic Slovaks and Hungarians, and their inclusion in this study, will be dealt with in a separate post.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Research Sources

While the sources of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant history are many, the most significant holdings are concentrated in just a few institutions. Some other institutions have much smaller but no less important collections. The archives and major libraries I have visited in the course of this project include the following:
(A number of valuable materials in these institutions are classified not as Carpatho-Rusyn or Ruthenian, but Ukrainian or Russian.)

I am indebted to the staff and curators of these institutions and to those who collected and deposited the materials over many decades, and who welcomed me in some cases as many as on seven different occasions.

Additional valuable sources include the following.
  • Naturalization documents:
    • County courthouses (Cambria, Carbon, Clearfield, Indiana, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill)
    • Pennsylvania State Archives (Lehigh, Indiana)
  • Census records -,, etc.
  • Immigration records (ship manifests) -
  • Incorporations/charters of churches, ethnic clubs, and fraternal lodges - mainly in county courthouses
pyrohŷ-making in Jessup, mid-1900s
Many pastors of the various parishes have been very helpful in allowing me to go through parish archives of photographs and books, and of course granting me access to metrical records (which I will write about in a separate post).

And I am grateful to those individuals who made their own substantial – and unique – holdings of relevant materials available to me:
  • Joel Brady
  • David Felix
  • +Joseph Krawczeniuk
  • Paul R. Magocsi
  • +John Schweich
  • Anthony X. Sutherland
  • John Uram
  • and others.
Thanks is due to many other folks who have helped me through the years by hosting me in their homes, donating or loaning materials, contributing research, and in innumerable other ways.

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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Welcome & Introduction

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 19th century until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state with their “onion-domed” churches, rich cultural traditions, and devotion to their roots.
Rusyn church, Jermyn, Lackawanna County, Pa.
Carpatho-Rusyns began to settle in the anthracite coal mining districts of northeastern Pennsylvania in the late 1870s. Small towns and burgeoning cities like Shenandoah, Freeland, Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Mahanoy City, McAdoo, Centralia, Nesquehoning, Lansford, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Olyphant were among the first places these immigrants first found work and made their homes. There they built churches, established fraternal insurance societies and social clubs, founded small businesses, met their spouses, raised children, and buried their deceased.