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, October 31, 2016

Rusyn Testaments Etched in Granite: The Genealogical Treasure of Rusyn Immigrant Gravestones

(originally published in the New Rusyn Times, May/June 2002)

For many people, a walk through a cemetery is something to be avoided except on the rarest of occasions and which inspires feelings of dread and images of the gothic horror movies that frightened us in our youth. But for me, a visit to a cemetery – most especially, a Rusyn cemetery – is usually a peaceful, heartwarming exercise. It inspires my imagination as I think of the early immigrants buried there, the vastly different world they left even long before I was born. I ponder their lives as I see their pictures, as many of the traditional stones will have. I feel at ease, knowing that I'm among my own people – gone from this life but still present in the memory of the living, present likewise in the hereafter.

St. Michael the Archangel Greek Catholic Cemetery, Shenandoah, Pa. – the oldest Rusyn cemetery in the U.S.
My reverence for their memories increases with each visit - knowing that their legacy, humble as it may be, reduced to a few lines of Slav expressions on the simple stones, surrounds me while I'm there, and is carried with me every time I meet their descendants, see the churches they lovingly built and supported, and uncover a new story about their way of life we can only imagine.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Then & Now (Bradenville, Westmoreland Co.)

Then and now, in Bradenville, Westmoreland County.
Specifically, Snydertown, St. Mary's Byzantine/Greek Catholic Church and Cemetery.

Then: (1932)

Now: (2016)

Also in Snydertown, in the shadow of St. Mary's Church, are two social clubs of the local Rusyn and Slovak American residents. I'm looking for information on the names of their founders, vintage photographs of the inside of the clubs or their members, etc. Please get in touch if you can help with this info.
The American Greek Catholic Beneficial Society, founded 1916.

The American Slovak Society Home, founded 1923.

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