In the early year of the 20th century, many Rusyns from the Carpathian region in Eastern Europe came to the United States. Mainly, they became coal miners. In those days, coal mining was an extremely dangerous activity and accidents involving hundreds of fatalities were not uncommon. This resulted in a need for life insurance. To provide this life insurance, they formed organizations called "brotherhoods". In addition to the provision of insurance for those killed or disabled in work accidents, these brotherhoods helped introduce newcomers to American society and provided low-cost mortgages and shelters for the homeless, aged and unwell. And they also tried to preserve Slavic religious and cultural traditions. This high degree of organization also enabled them to document the integration of one ethnic group into another culture in a way that is almost unique. One form of such documentation was in annual yearbooks or almanacs called "Kalendars".
This site presents searchable, full-text content from many Kalendars issued by the Russian Brotherhood Organization (RBO), the Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society (ROCMAS), the United Russian Orthodox Brotherhood of America (UROBA), the Lemko Association and the Ukrainian National Association (UNA). The words "Russian" and "Ukrainian" in the names of the brotherhoods are misleading. The members of these brotherhoods were almost all Rusyns (about 90%), but the brotherhoods functioned to some degree like fan clubs — some Rusyns rooting for the Russians, and some rooting for the Ukrainians. It was the strength of these larger populations that appealed to numerically inferior and politically weaker Rusyns. Real Russians and Ukrainians, not being coal miners, had lesser need for the life insurance provided by these organizations and more seldom became members (only around 10% were ethnic Russians or Ukrainians).
These almanacs are a rich source of historical, linguistic, and genealogical material. The many ads (объявления) are likely to be of particular interest to English readers. For those interested in more background information, there is a short history of this site.
The publisher of this site would like to make as much content from these almanacs accessible on the internet as possible. So, if anyone has an almanac not now included in this presentation, please make contact.
This site contains thousands of pages of text so it is advisable to search efficiently for particular information.