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, February 23, 2015

Emigration from Prykra to America in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Príkra, Slovakia (Прикра -- Prykra) in the Svidník district
(From Michal Blicha, Richard Custer, and Vladislav Grešlík, Príkra, Prešov, Slovakia: Akcent Print, 2006.)

Large-scale emigration of Rusyns from villages in the Carpathians to the United States began in the 1870s and reached its peak in the years immediately preceding World War I. In 1884 Rusyns established their first Greek Catholic church in the town of Shenandoah in the hard-coal mining region of northeastern Pennsylvania, which served other communities until they established their own Greek Catholic, and later Orthodox, churches. It was also in the 1880s and 1890s that Rusyns established their own fraternal organizations and newspapers.

Immigrants sailing to the United States on an Atlantic Ocean passenger steamship, around 1906. (Photo: Edwin Levick, courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Our immigrants first lived in Pennsylvania towns where coal mining was the main occupation and life was difficult. These are immigrant homes along the “street of rocks” in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, in 1891.

Rusyns in the United States became divided according to religious affiliation and national orientation, and their fraternal organizations and newspapers followed a similar path. Thus in different American towns we find that Prykrans might have been members of the Greek Catholic Union – Sojedinenije Greko-Katoličeskich Russkich Bratstv (a Greek Catholic organization, of Rusyn or Russophile national orientation), the Russian Brotherhood Organization – Obščestvo Russkich Bratstv (a secular organization of Russophile orientation), and the Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society – Russkoe Pravoslavnoe Katoličeskoe Obščestvo Vzaimopomošči (an Orthodox and Russophile organization).  Each of these organizations published a newspaper reflecting its own cultural orientation, and so in the American home of a Prykran one might find the Amerikansky Russky Viestnik, Pravda, Svit, or all of the above.
Front page of the first Carpatho-Rusyn newspaper in America from 1894, the Amerikansky Russky Viestnik, published by the fraternal benefit society Greek Catholic Union of the U.S.A. (Sojedinenije) in Scranton, Pa.
These religious and community-organization factors resulted in divisions between Rusyns into Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities, and into pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian groups, but for the most part the Rusyn immigrants from Prykra in the United States and their descendants have maintained a Carpatho-Rusyn or “Carpatho-Russian” identity.

Most of those who emigrated from Prykra to the United States did so via the port of Bremen, Germany, and arrived in the United States at the Port of New York. In New York they were processed first at Ellis Island, where they had to meet medical, administrative, and economic criteria, and pass a medical and intelligence test before being allowed to go to the mainland to proceed to their final destination. If for whatever reason they did not have correct documentation, enough money on their person, or had a serious illness, they could be sent back across the ocean. While New York and Ellis Island was the point of entry for most Prykrans, the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia also were used.
A list of passengers from an immigrant ship from Bremen arriving at Ellis Island in 1902. On board from Prykra were Terča Volčko (age 15, Rusyn (“Ruthenian”), to Passaic, New Jersey, to join her sister Marja Capko); Marja Nastišŷn (age 15, Rusyn, to join her sister Anna Nastišŷn in Passaic); Jan Derco (age 15, Rusyn, going to Passaic); Anna Leferovič (age 16, Rusyn, to join her uncle Petro Leferovič in Passaic); and Jan Hroncsko [Hromoho?] (age 15, Rusyn, to join his uncle Štefan Hroncsko in Passaic). With them were countrymen from nearby Medvedže, Krajnja Poljana, Hinkivci, and Pysana.
A list of passengers from an immigrant ship arriving from Bremen at Ellis Island in 1910. On board from Prykra were Mychal Brenišŷn (age 16, Rusyn (“Ruthenian”), to join his father Petro Brenišŷn in Heilwood, Pennsylvania); Jan Brenišŷn (age 45, Rusyn, to join his wife Anna in Clifton, New Jersey); Dymytrij Mytruška (age 32, Rusyn, going to join his wife Paraska in Heilwood); Mychal Derco (age 16, Rusyn, to join his father Jan in Clifton); Nykolaj Leferovič (age 19, Rusyn, to join his mother Marja in Scranton); Jan Volčko (age 18, Rusyn, to join his father Teodor in Heilwood); and Mychal Chromoho (age 44, Rusyn, to join his wife Hanja[?] in Heilwood). With them were countrymen from nearby Nyžnij Komarnyk and Krajnja Bŷstra, and other Rusyns from Litmanova (okres Stará Ľubovňa).
Among those who left Prykra during this time, we can ascertain that the earliest who went to the United States were there already in 1891, as the first marriage recorded in the newly-established Greek Catholic Church of the Archangel Michael in Passaic, New Jersey, was of Jan Hrinko (born in Prykra in 1870) to Suzanna Chromoho (born in Krajnja Poljana in 1871).

Passaic, Clifton, Garfield, New Jersey
Passaic, New Jersey, circa 1910. The city sits along the Passaic River; the neighboring city of Garfield, visible in the rear, also adjoins the river.

Passaic and its neighboring cities of Clifton and Garfield are located 24 km from New York City and sit aside the Passaic River. The industrial plants and the textile industry’s wool mills such as Botany Mills, Robertsford Worsted Mills, Forstmann & Huffmann Woolen Mills, and New Jersey Worsted Spinning Company, attracted thousands of Rusyns, Poles, Slovaks, Magyars, Ukrainians, and other central and eastern Europeans during the late 1880s through the outbreak of World War II.
The first Greek Catholic church, St. Michael the Archangel, founded by Rusyns in Passaic, in 1890 (pictured in 1905). The first immigrants from Prykra were members of this parish.

The type of homes in which our immigrants
lived in Passaic, Clifton, and Garfield
where they were employed in the wool mills and factories.
Rusyns organized a mutual aid society in 1890 to pay death benefits to its members and their families. The society purchased an old Protestant church on 1st Street that year, and a priest came soon thereafter to serve the new parish. The parishioners, which included Prykrans and many others from neighboring villages, lived near the church in Passaic and in the neighboring Garfield and Clifton.

The original parish of St. Michael the Archangel continued to grow and a new larger church was built. Here is a 1909 view of the larger church and the neighborhood where many Rusyns lived, near the Dundee Canal on the Passaic River.

The parish grew quickly as Greek Catholics (primarily Rusyns and a few Ukrainians) from Austria-Hungary settled the area in large numbers. A group of parishioners bought land for a cemetery in the nearby town of Garfield and named it St. Peter’s Greek Catholic Cemetery. A few years later, conflicts arose in the parish between the priest and a segment of the congregation, and a large group established a new parish in 1902.  The new church, built on 3rd Street, was also Greek Catholic and was named for the Holy Prime Apostles Peter and Paul.
Rusyns in the Passaic area founded another church in 1902, the Church of the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul. The largest number of parishioners were from Prykra and other villages under Dukla, especially Ladomyrova, Hinkivci, Krajnja Bŷstra, Jadlova, Kapišova, and Verlych.
In 1897 local Rusyn immigrants bought land and established their own cemetery of St. Peter just outside Passaic in Garfield. In this cemetery were buried many people from Prykra and their families.
Cemetery cross at St. Peter’s in Garfield in the traditional Rusyn village style.

With continued immigration of Rusyns to the Passaic area, Saints Peter and Paul Church became the largest center of Rusyn religion and culture in northeastern New Jersey, and Prykrans were at the heart of this parish from the beginning. But it was not immune to factors affecting the Rusyns elsewhere in the U.S.; after much consideration, the parish decided to join the Russian Orthodox Church in 1910. A much-needed larger church, magnificent and imposing, was built in 1911. The parish continued to grow in strength and influence and became the religious and cultural center for Orthodox Rusyns throughout the United States.
The parish of Sts. Peter and Paul entered the Orthodox Church in 1910 and built a huge new church in 1911 which today serves as a cathedral.
The interior of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on 3rd Street in Passaic.
Marriage certificate of Terča Breniš from Prykra and Mychal Chromoho from Krajnja Poljana (the author's maternal grandparents) in 1907, from Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Passaic. Within a year or two they had a son, John, and moved to Pennsylvania to find new work.
A page of the baptismal register of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Passaic, 1909. Within just two weeks, two children of parents from Prykra were baptized there: John Chromoho (son of Terča Breniš of Prykra and Mychal Chromoho of Krajnja Poljana), and Michael Krivka (son of Jan Krivka of Krajne Čorne and Terča Hrinko of Prykra), along with children of parents from Hinkivci, Verlych, and others. These children also had godparents from Prykra: Jurko Derco and Ulja Mytruška.

A dramatic play given by members of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the 1930s. The women and men are wearing the traditional dress of the under-Dukla region.
A “village wedding” play performed by parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, circa 1935. Here also they are wearing the costumes are of the under-Dukla region.

Something rather unique about the Passaic area compared to other Rusyn-inhabited places in the U.S. is the large number of women who were also employed by the primary industry of the area, namely wool mills. Word quickly spread through the Rusyn community that if a young man were seeking a wife and the prospects where he lived (such as a small coal-mining village in Pennsylvania) were few, his best chance to find a spouse was to head to Passaic. Many of the marriages celebrated in Passaic’s Rusyn churches involved a bride from Passaic (or Clifton, or Garfield) and a groom from somewhere else (especially Pennsylvania).
Rusyn men in other parts of America came to Passaic to find a bride. Here is the marriage record from Sts. Peter & Paul Church in 1902 of Teodor Chromoho from Prykra (living in Braddock, Pennsylvania) and Hanja Andrijko from Nyžnij Svidnyk (of Passaic).
A stained glass window in the cathedral is given in memory of Teodor Chromoho
and his wife Hanja (Andrijko) by their children.
Among the largest Rusyn organizations in the Passaic area was the Russian National Organization which owned its own building, the Russian National Home on 4th Street near Sts. Peter and Paul Church. As the officers of the Russian National Organization Home would write about their home town: “Among us Carpatho-Rusyns, we don’t have even one Carpatho-Rusyn city in the old country. We all live in villages, in the hills and by the streams. But here in America we have our own city: Passaic. On the streets here you can hear the Carpatho-Rusyn language, you see beautiful Rusyn churches, you find Carpatho-Rusyn businessmen and there are strong Carpatho-Rusyn brotherhoods and organizations.”

Although there were large numbers of Rusyns from other villages of northeastern Slovakia living in Passaic, especially Ujak/Udol, Starina, Čirč, Virliv, and Hajtivkŷ, and who were members of the Saints Peter and Paul parish, as well as from Galician Lemkovyna, those from Svidnyk and the villages to its north, especially Nyžnja Jadlova, Nyžnij and Vŷšnij Verlych, Kapišova, Ladomyrova, Hinkivci, Bodrudžal, Krajnja Poljana, Krajna Bŷstra, and Vŷšnij and Nyžnij Komarnyk were the large majority of the parishioners.

Today inner-city Passaic’s eastern European population has been largely replaced by Hispanic immigrants from Puerto Rico and Latin America, but the churches remain. Thousands of descendants of the original Rusyn immigrants still live in the Passaic-Clifton-Garfield area. Rusyn immigrants from the Svidnyk region have continued to settle in the area, although not in the great numbers as in the past. Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral is still one of the largest Russian Orthodox parishes by membership in the United States, and Americans with roots in Prykra are still among its members.

Prykrans who lived in Passaic and vicinity:
Barna, Marja (Derco)
Bilŷj, Jan
Breniš, Jan
Breniš, Mychal
Breniš, Petro
Brenišŷn, Helena (Bila) *
Brenišŷn, Jan
Brenišŷn (Petriv), Mychal *
Brenišŷn (Vaskiv), Mychal *
Brenišŷn (Jankiv), Vasyl’
Capko, Dymytrij *
Capko, Nykolaj
Capko, Marja (Volčko)
Hromoho, Jan *
Hromoho, Mychal
Chromoho, Teodor *
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš)
Cuper, Terča (Volčko)
Derco, Jan *
Derco, Jurko *
Derco, Mychal
Hrinko, Jan
Jurkovič, Aftan *
Koval’, Marja (Volčko)
Krivka, Terča (Hrinko)
Lazorčak, Marja (Hrinko)
Leferovič, Nykolaj
Leferovič, Helena (Volčko)
Leferovič, Hanja (Bila) *
Leferovič, Petro
Leferovič, Štefan *
Marcynyšyn, Helena (Hrinko)
Muli, Terča (Volčko)
Povch, Eva (Hrinko)
Ščambora, Hanja (Capko)
Sipajda, Ulja (Hrinko)
Volčko, Jan
Volčko, Terča
Volčko, Vasyl’
* died and is buried in Passaic/Clifton/Garfield

Passaic’s proximity to the port of New York and Ellis Island helped it to become the destination for dozens of Prykrans, many of whom lived the rest of their lives there. However, other colonies of Prykrans, who settled together with their neighbors especially from Bodrudžal, Krajnja Poljana, Hinkivci, Ladomyrova, Krajnja Bŷstra, and Vŷšnij and Nyžnij Komarnyk, began to develop especially in the state of Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, Passaic (“Pasejk”) became the most popular destination in the new world for those who left Prykra in search of prosperity in the new world.

Philipsburg, Hawk Run, and Morrisdale, Pennsylvania

The town of Philipsburg and the villages of Hawk Run and Morrisdale just 4-7 km to the east lie near the geographic center of the state of Pennsylvania. Coal companies started mining bituminous (“soft”) coal in the area in the mid-1800s, and Rusyn immigrants first came to the area some 20-30 years afterwards. A Greek Catholic church was built in 1890 in the nearby town of Osceola Mills. Under the influence of Fr. Aleksij Toth (“apostle of Orthodoxy to the Carpatho-Rusyns”), the church came under the Russian Orthodox bishop’s jurisdiction in 1893. A year later, the Rusyns in Philipsburg and Hawk Run, most of whom were from Nyžnij Komarnyk, Vŷšnij Komarnyk, Krajnja Bŷstra, and Prykra, built their own church in Philipsburg dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The Orthodox priest in Osceola Mills served both churches. In 1904, a new Greek Catholic church was built in Hawk Run; this church soon had several members who were born in Prykra. This church was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and some families switched their membership from one St. John the Baptist Church to the other several times. Among the community leaders was Štefan Leferovič, who was a president of the Morrisdale-based Brotherhood of St. John the Baptist of Morrisdale, of the Greek Catholic Union.

Greek Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Hawk Run, Pennsylvania, founded in 1904 by Rusyns from Šaryš County and attended by several from Prykra.

Icon screen of the first Hawk Run St. John the Baptist Church

In a turbulent decade in which the American Rusyn community was torn apart by conflicts over the Vatican imposition of celibacy for clergy and over parishioner vs. eparchial ownership of church properties, the Hawk Run church (along with dozens of others) entered the Orthodox church – specifically, the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Eparchy under the Ecumenical Patriarchate – in 1938. The pastor of this parish in 1953 elected to return to the Greek Catholic Church, as did a minority of parishioners. The majority refused to go along with this and the matter ended up in a court process that was decided in favor of the minority who wished for the church to return to Greek Catholic jurisdiction. The losing faction built a new church, in an adjacent field in Hawk Run, again dedicating it to St. John the Baptist. The Jan Brenišŷn (John Brenish) family was part of the group that built this new church.
Grave of Prykra natives Jan Brenišŷn and Hanja (Leferovič) in the new Orthodox cemetery in Hawk Run.
Prykrans who lived in Hawk Run / Philipsburg / Morrisdale:
Brenišŷn (Jankiv), Andrij
Brenišŷn (Nykolajiv), Jan *
Brenišŷn, Hanja (Leferovič) *
Brenišyn (Nykolajiv), Michal
Hrinko, Štefan
Hrinko, Teodor *
Leferovič, Štefan
Leferovič, Hanja (Bila)
Barnesboro / Patton and Clymer / Heilwood, Pennsylvania

About 72 km to the southwest of Philipsburg/Hawk Run, along a railroad line that served the local coal companies, sits the town of Barnesboro. Rusyns came to work in the local coal mines around 1895 and established a Greek Catholic church named St. John the Baptist in 1897, and the first Prykrans came there around 1905.
The Rusin Greek Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania, founded in 1897 (the current church built in 1926).
Gravestone of Marja (Brenišŷn) Pysančik in St. John the Baptist Greek Catholic Cemetery in Barnesboro, noting her Prykra birthplace.

Barnesboro and its St. John the Baptist Church served as a spiritual and community center for the Rusyns of that town, but also for those of numerous surrounding towns – Clymer, Heilwood, Alverda, Clymer, and others – where in most of which eventually other Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches were founded and of which other Prykrans were members. In 2000, Barnesboro merged with a neighboring town and is now called Northern Cambria.
Gravestone of Terča (Breniš) Chromoho in St. John the Baptist Greek Catholic Cemetery in Barnesboro. The Prykra native and her husband Mychal Chromoho from Krajnja Poljana raised 14 children.
The small town of Patton, 13 km to the east of Barnesboro, was also the new-world home of several Prykrans, along with their former neighbors from Vŷšnij Komarnyk and Krajnja Bŷstra. Like in Barnesboro, the men worked in the soft coal mines. Coal mining was also the occupation of Prykrans in the nearby towns of Heilwood, Clymer, Alverda, and Colver.

Prykrans who lived in Barnesboro and vicinity:
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš) *
Hrinko, Jan
Jaciško, Paraska (Volčko)
Pysančik, Marja (Brenišŷn) *
Prykrans who lived in Patton:
Fedorovyč, Marja (Leferovič)
Leferovič, Štefan
Leferovič, Hanja (Bila)
Leferovič, Petro
Pysančik, Marja (Brenišŷn)
Prykrans who lived in Clymer:
The photo of Teodor Brenišŷn (“Frank Brenish”)
he submitted with his citizenship application.
Breniš, Teodor *

Application for American citizenship for Teodor Brenišŷn (“Frank Brenish”, born 1878, son of Hanja Brenišŷn), came to America in 1896, applied for citizenship in 1930. He became a citizen in 1935.
Prykrans who lived in Heilwood and Alverda:
Brenišŷn, Petro
Brenišŷn (Petriv), Mychal
Chromoho, Mychal
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš)
Jaciško, Paraska (Volčko)
Mytruška, Dymytrij
Volčko, Jan
Volčko, Teodor
Prykrans who lived in Colver:
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš)

Nanticoke (Hanover), Pennsylvania
St. John the Baptist Uhro-Rusyn Greek Catholic
(later Orthodox) Church, Nanticoke
(Hanover Section), Pennsylvania, built 1911.

In the hard-coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania, the town of Nanticoke, particularly its Hanover section, attracted Rusyns from the entire under-Dukla region who built two churches, both Greek Catholic. The first, Transfiguration, built in 1909, was primarily Lemko, and the minority group from Šaryš County founded their own church in 1911, named St. John the Baptist. Prykrans were among the founders and officers of the church: one of the first curators was Mychal Brenišŷn (Nykolajiv, b. 1887). This parish joined the Orthodox Church in 1913, after which it received some financial support from Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Passaic. Although the parish was rather small, it was culturally active and maintained its distinct Rusyn culture, unlike many other Rusyn churches in the U.S. who after joining the Orthodox Church became mostly Russified in their religious and folk culture.

Iconostasis of St. John the Baptist Church
A “village wedding” play performed by parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church in Nanticoke, circa 1935. The people and their costumes hail from the “Under-Dukla” region including Prykra, Hinkivci, Ladomyrova, Korejivci, Krajnja Bŷstra, Vagrynec, etc.
Grave of Prykra native Paraska (Breniš) Limnjanska, 1889-1918, and her husband Andrij Limnjanskŷj from Vilšavka-Bukovec. Both died within one week of each other in 1918 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic and are buried in the parish cemetery of St. John’s Orthodox Church in Nanticoke.
Jan Breniš (John Brenish) and his wife Marja (Hrinko)
Many families who emigrated from Prykra did not intend to stay in the United States permanently. For example, Jan Breniš (born in Prykra, 1894) and Hanja Cuper (born in Vagrynec, 1895) had a son Jan in 1921 while living in Nanticoke. They and their son returned to Prykra. Their son Jan (“John Brenish”) married Marja Hrinko of Bodrudžal in 1943; they emigrated to the United States in the 1950s and lived in Clifton, New Jersey, where they operated a tavern, but eventually they returned to Czechoslovakia and lived the rest of their lives in Svidnyk.

Prykrans who lived in Nanticoke:
Breniš, Jan
Brenišŷn (Nykolajiv), Mychal
Hrinko, Pavel
Limnjanska, Paraska (Breniš) *
Vel’goš, Marja (Hrinko) *

Syracuse, New York

Immigrant coal miner and Prykran Petro Leferovič left Patton, Pennsylvania in the late 1910s and moved his family to Syracuse, a large industrial city in central New York. There he became part of a small Rusyn community composed mainly of people from Svidnyk and Jadlova. Leferovič served as recording secretary (zapysnyk) of the brotherhood of St. John the Baptist of the Greek Catholic Union.

Grave of Prykra native Petro Leferovič and his wife Marja (Babej)
from Vŷšnij Komarnyk, St. John the Baptist Greek Catholic Cemetery, Syracuse
Grave of John Joseph Leferovich (b. 1916), son of Petro and Anna Leferovič,
U.S. Naval Reserve WWII veteran, St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Syracuse
Photograph of the young Prykran-American
Julia Leferovich before her early death.
Gravestone of Julia Leferovich (1914-1929), daughter of Petro and Marja Leferovič,
in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Syracuse.
Other Prykrans who lived in the United States:

Beaver Meadows, Pennsylvania
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš)
Limnjanska, Paraska (Breniš)
Ščambora, Hanja (Capko)
Braddock, Pennsylvania
Capko, Jan *
Chromoho, Teodor
Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania
Leferovič, Jan *
Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania
Bilŷj, Vasyl’
Manville, New Jersey
Krivka, Terča (Hrinko) *
Martindale (Portage), Pennsylvania
Chromoho, Terča (Breniš)
New Haven, Connecticut
Derco, Jurko
New Salem, Pennsylvania
Skirkanyč, Hanja (Hrinko)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Leferovič, Nykolaj
Mudrak, Jan
Sharon, Pennsylvania
Gula, Hanja (Volčko)
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Malynčak, Marja (Leferovič)
Treveskyn, Pennsylvania
Chromoho, Petro
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Brenišŷn (Nykolajiv), Mychal *
Brenišŷn (Vaskiv), Mychal

Whether they were coal miners, mill and factory workers, shopkeepers, or housewives, our immigrants in the United States worked hard, built beautiful churches, and raised their families with love and dedication. They instilled a love for their roots in their children and their children’s children. The immigrant life was not an easy one, but it is a life that their descendants think of today and give thanks for the sacrifices and achievements of Prykrans in the new world.

The first visit of the author (at right) to Prykra, in 1996.
Here he meets Ulja (Gulova) Brenišinova and her grandson.
In the 1990s and early 21st century there has been a renewed interest among American Rusyns with roots in Prykra about the history and current events in their ancestral village.  A number of them with connections to the Breniš/Brenišŷn, Leferovič, and other families have visited the village on several occasions.

In 2001-2002, a group of 8 Americans, led by Richard Custer of Washington, D.C. (grandson of Terča Breniš Chromoho born in Prykra), donated a total of $625 toward the restoration of the wooden church in the village.  Custer is also setting up a website, Rusyn Villages Under Dukla – – that will contain information on the history and culture of Prykra and other nearby villages. With the help of the people of Prykra and their descendants, the village will continue to be well-known not just in Slovakia, but around the world.

Richard D. Custer © 2006

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


  1. Dear Rich,
    I greatly admire your work.
    I 'm writing a novel now that echo's much of what you have told us above. But it doesn't end with the Rusyn story of my grandparents. Entwined throughout is the history of what they suffered under capitalism here.

    Please keep up your excellent work.

  2. Great Work. Thank you very much for your blog about Prikra.
    We heave met once there. BUt for very short time. Have you plan to come to Prikra again? I wopuld want to meet with you there. Your work about emigration form Prikra is very very interestiong for me. MY name is Stefan Capko, and i finde three names of our relatives on your list. Have you more informations about comunity of Pasaic? PLease can you contact me nby email or on facebook I found the pages: Thnaks and good luck Dear Richard.

  3. Heartbreaking to know this area is no longer a vibrant area. Churches and homes built in 1911 should last 100-150 years. Immigrants like this worked too hard making America good for other people instead of working to pass their DNA and culture into America for the next 500 years.

  4. My Rusyn family is from further east in Slovakia (Valaskovce and Nemet Poruba), and their US settlement was in Star Junction-Clairton-Wilkes Barre-Great Falls. Reading through your detailed information gives me a good flavor of what my own ancestors experienced. Thank you for all your great work enlightening us about 'our people.'

  5. This is fantastic thank you so much, very informative!

  6. This is fantastic thank you so much, very informative!

  7. This is a fantastic article, I’m glad I came across it!


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