Saturday, May 5, 2012

Introducing My Carpatho-Rusyn FAN Club ~ Gydik and Kostun

Elizabeth Shown Mills' FAN Club strategy of researching friends, associates and neighbors has been enormously helpful in exploring the Tennessee and Tidewater branches of my family. I have also used it when examining immigration records and newspaper articles for my Carpatho-Rusyn family.

My aunt recently gave me a photo album and loose pictures belonging to her parents, Stephen Popp (Stefan Papp) and Anna Pereksta. Most of the images are of friends of the family from the Binghamton, NY area. Most are from the 1910s and 1920s. All seem to have been taken in the United States. Over the next months I will digitize and post the images and any cursory research I have done under the title My Carpatho-Rusyn FAN Club.

I know some of the relationships predate their immigration. These friends were called krajan or krajani - countrymen or villagers. Stephen was born in 1882 Berezovo (also known as Berezna) in what was then the Maramoros district of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today it is in the Ukraine. Anna was born in 1895 in Prislup (also known as Kis Pereszlo) in what was then the Zemplen district of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today it is in Slovakia.

Those relationships that were established in the United States likely resulted from friendships through their work at the Endicott-Johnson shoe factory, residence in Binghamton's immigrant First Ward, or membership in St. Michael's Greek Catholic Church.

The first photo in the album is this picture. On the back is written "Sue Sedor Gydik/ John Kostun" in my aunt's handwriting.

Susie Gydik (also spelled Guydik or Guydick) was the daughter of William and Mary Sedor (also spelled Sidor). She was born about 1898 in Starina (near Prislup) and came to the United States with her mother in 1903. She was a close friend of Anna Pereksta's and probably a cousin. Her father is believed to have been Anna's first cousin. She married Frank Gydik.

John Kostun is not a name I have heard before. Two adult John Kostuns appear in the 1930 census index on Both were born in Czechoslovakia - one in 1895 with a wife Mary and one in 1899 with a wife Anna. Both lived in the First Ward, worked at a shoe factory and were identified as Carpatho-Russian or Ruthenian. This man could be either of them, however the man born in 1895 has boarders in the household named Kost and Bundza. These are both names associated with the Pereksta family in Europe.

I would be delighted to share high resolution scans of these images and source information with anyone researching these families. Please leave a comment or email me (there is a link in the righthand column).


  1. What a nice project. Congrats.

  2. Susan, I've been trying the FAN approach in my own research lately, and while it hasn't yielded any hits for me, it has led me down some fascinating bunny trails :)

    I just headed over to your post because I saw you just mentioned it on Twitter. I wonder, if you retweet with your request at the bottom of your post if it would help get the word out about your search further.

    Hope your search soon turns into Mission Successful!

  3. Interesting find! My husband's family is Kostun in Michigan - we know of a group of Kostuns in New York/New England, but ours is a very small family without much record. It would be interesting to see if there is a connections! Coincidentally, my father-in-law is a John Kostun.


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