Monday, February 2, 2009

And in the Beginning ...

It's been a long and strange journey from there to here and back.  For most of my adult life, a good chunk of my free time has been spent chasing my elusive ancestors.  In Siemuszowa and Perth Amboy, Minersville, Primrose, Olstzyn, Gorzow and Lviv.  In Toronto, Edmonton, Rosil'na, Barvinok, Gloversville and Sanok.  And many more places ...

Why? Why do I do this?  Once a fellow tracker I met in the bowels of a Mormon reading room described this crazy passion we shared as the direct result of a mutant gene.  A consuming quest that used to require long Winter nights spent with my head stuck under the hood of a microfilm reader desparately searching in the dim light for some clue to where my ancestors came from.  

Ah, but those days are behind me now.  Since 1978 when Aunt Helen's letter came complete with a xerox of Baba Julia's baptismal certificate, my incessant diggings have taken me far and wide.  And along the way I've had my share of complete dead ends, bad luck and lots of bad memory from relatives and near relatives unable to connect the dots for me.  But now, it's all much clearer.

And so I want to share my family stories with you in the hopes that you might bring along some of your own to tell so that all of us will know our Carpathian ancestors better. Lemkos, Rusyns, Rusnaks, Ruthenians, Carpatho-Rusyns and Ukrainians.  And Poles and Slovaks with Lemko roots.  Whatever you call your Carpathian ancestors in your patch, we might share some common history.  Tales of parents, grandparents and great grandparents leaving their ancestral homes motivated by adventure, the possibility of a better life for their kids, or the utter cruelty of political masters who unilaterally decided back then that it was better for your family to leave at once and never come back home again.  

Whatever happened back in the past to ignite the big bang that hurled us out into various corners of the world, we have manged to survive and thrive and now it's time to get together again and tell our family stories. So come, sit down by the fire, warm yourelf and write a line or two about who you are. Maybe we'll find out that we are directly related, or maybe we won't, but we can all share the tales of our Slavic roots and how we came to be where and who we are today.  

2 comments:

  1. Hi Michael,

    Thank you so much for this website and your chronicles. I have visited a few times since our family reunion several years ago, and it seems you have added a few things.

    You write about wondering why you have painstakingly documented our shared family history, and here is one of the reasons....

    I just spent 90 minutes reading the stories to my (almost 16) year old son, Ian, who is very interested about his heritage. He spent significant time trying to wrap his mind around the significance of Eastern European history and how political and social change affected our family. (as I also have).

    It should make you feel good that he was so interested in our history and your writings, as it is rare to capture his attention for this very long time in order to be read to. A lot of discussion followed and it was very enjoyable to share this time and these stories with him. He does remember Grandma Kost, as she used to come and visit us near Pittsburgh, before and even after her memory began to fail. He often has heard me talk about Baba and Gigi. Because we don't live with the rest of our family in Minersville, it's like a big puzzle for him to understand which relative I am referring to in conversations....but he is very interested in learning!!

    So, you write for the sake your children and all the descendent children of Julia and Michael, so they can draw from the past to help them understand and affect the future.

    Please keep adding to your wonderful website...We really appreciate all your hard work and will continue to check in from time to time.

    Cousin Maria Davis

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  2. HI Michael!
    Im Yaroslav Buryk (Florida) my Grandpa from Ukrainian Village Bridok Chernivci Region and there is 4 different families with last name Buryk from there
    I strongly believe that long time ago it all started from one person.....

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