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HomelandVisits
  • Homeland Visits

  • 1980
    Dymitr Szach


  • 2001
    Maryann Dubowchik Bacsik/
    Mary Yurkosky Dubowchik


  • 2001
    William Morrison


  • 2003-2004 Andrew J. Smith

  • 2004
    Carol Morrison


  • Back to the Beginning

    When I began the search for my family's ethnic identity, I had never heard the words Rusyn or Lemko, thought Central Europe was Eastern Europe and, if asked, would have placed the Carpathian Mountains somewhere inside Romania.

    Our family knew the familiar story. Our grandparents were from Galicia in the Austro- Hungarian Empire which no longer existed. The area they were from was now somewhere in Poland--but we were not Polish. If pressed, we would say we were Russian, for our family was Russian Orthodox, but we also knew we were not really from Russia. We were far more sure of what we were not, than what we were.

    The research on our family and the Rusyn people has been fascinating. After three years, helped by so many kind people who had shared their own family research on the Internet, we produced The Pelak Chronicles, 130 pages of family history and photographs which honored our immigrant grandparents and explained our ethnic identity and religious background.

    The next step seemed a natural progression-- to see where we had begun. I had learned that although our people had been dispersed, our ancestral villages still existed. Though my interest in the homeland was extremely high, my husband was far less than enthusiastic about driving around Eastern Europe without any language skills or real knowledge of the area.

    Our visit was made possible through participation in the 2004 Carpatho-Rusyn Society Heritage Tour. It would be impossible to imagine a more convenient way to get an overview of one's ancestral area or to acquire more compatible traveling companions. Although my research had indicated that our family was Lemko-Rusyn and one CRS trip was going to cover Lemko geography and history, I chose the second more comprehensive trip because, after all my research, I wanted an overview of the areas in which the Rusyn people had settled. The trip included stays in Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine-the three major areas of Rusyn history.






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