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

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Author Gives Presentation on Carpatho-Rusyn Fraternals to CGSI

On October 24, 2020, I was a presenter for the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International's (CGSI) Virtual Symposium. The theme was Czech and Slovak Fraternal Organizations, but I spoke on the related topic of Carpatho-Rusyn fraternals.

The full title of my talk was "Carpatho-Rusyn American Fraternal Organizations: Record Sources for Your Family History."

The talk was recorded and is available to CGSI members, but I'm happy to share a selection of my slides (click to enlarge).

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Follow Us on Instagram!

Have you seen our Instagram account? We're @carpatho_rusyns_of_pa.

Take a peek, and follow us for new content, favorite content repackaged in an interesting way, and an eye on some of the visually striking aspects of Carpatho-Rusyn history in Pennsylvania.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Upcoming Virtual Seminar on Carpatho-Rusyn American Fraternal Organizations

On Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, I will give a presentation during the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) Virtual Symposium and Annual Meeting:
Carpatho-Rusyn American Fraternal Organizations: Record Sources for Your Family History

You can find more info and register at the CGSI website.
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Seeking a Research Assistant!

UPDATE (4/22/20): I already received two applications from most worthy candidates! But if you found this opportunity interesting, I will probably be posting another research assistant opportunity in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I hope you still enjoy the post.

Christos voskres! Christ is Risen!

2020 has been an unusual year, to say the least. Can we start over, or fast-forward to 2021? But really, I hope and pray you and your family and loved ones are safe and caring for each other in these difficult times.

Even though I've not posted here in 2020 until now, I've been working hard behind the scenes to finish gathering resources and computerizing some of my data. It started to dawn on me just how time-consuming the various aspects of putting it all together will be.

I want to start, as soon as possible, the process of creating the town/area maps for each chapter (community), and within many of the communities, I want to also illustrate where in the town (or city) the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants primarily lived. And that's down to specific streets and blocks as much as possible.

Homestead & Munhall, Allegheny County, 1908.
The original Rusyn church in town, St. John's Greek Catholic Church (later Cathedral), was built in 1897 at 531 Third Avenue, then moving in 1903 to 10th & Dickson Streets. In 1914, some Carpatho-Rusyns joined with Ukrainians from the Russian Empire to establish St. Gregory's Orthodox Church at 237 4th Avenue in an existing Protestant church building, later building a new church on East 15th Avenue. Finally, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church was founded in 1937 at 903 Ann Street. During World War II the Homestead Works expanded and took over many of the streets in the original neighborhood where the first St. John's was built and where many Carpatho-Rusyn and other Slavic and Hungarian immigrants lived. My goal is to map not just the churches' locations in the height of the immigrant era, but the Rusyn-owned businesses and clubs and the primary streets and blocks where Carpatho-Rusyns lived.

Naturalization document showing home address of a Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant in Duquesne, Allegheny County.

Some of this information is available in the church records I've gathered, and another good source is census records, which I haven't made extensive use of. But what I do have, numbering into the many hundreds, is naturalization documents. These tend to give the full address of the prospective citizen. The challenge is to sort through them and document the addresses in order to be able to map them. Realizing that this could be quite time-consuming, I hope to find a volunteer research analyst who can do that and provide me with some kind of database and report from which the specific settlement area in each town can be mapped.

Note I said "volunteer" -- but that doesn't mean you won't be compensated. Successful completion of the agreed-upon work plan will guarantee you a copy of the finished book. (I'm not sure how to do this beyond a promise / gentlemen's/gentlewomen's agreement, so if we are already friends or acquaintances it can be an easier mutual trust by which we each benefit as intended.)

So, if this sounds interesting to you, and if these specifics keep you interested, please get in touch (via Facebook or at and we can discuss it further.
  • You'll work from naturalization documents I've gathered from county courthouses and online.
  • I will also supply you with immigrant household addresses I've gathered from church records.
  • You are welcome to make supplemental use of census data depending on any access you might have to online sources (Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.), but this is not required.
  • Ideally, you will enter the immigrant's name and address into an Excel sheet or other database/spreadsheet format, but we will discuss the specific requirements (they will be the minimum required to be able to do the mapping).
  • You don't have to read any Slavic language; you may have to decipher challenging English handwriting depending on the naturalization document, but most are (mercifully!) typed.
  • You won't create the maps, but the data you compile will be an essential input for the cartographer.

There is a chance for follow-on research that would be paid work, pending satisfactory completion of this project.

And lastly, if you successfully complete this project, you will be credited in the book, which, as mentioned above, you will receive a gratis copy of upon publication.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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