Friday, April 12, 2013

The Genealogy of the Rychly Family

I am related to the Rychly( also spelled Rychlyj or Rychlij) family on my mother's side.  Since I knew nothing about my father's family until I started to do genealogy research, this was "my family".  Most of the anecdotal information I have came from my grandmother, Pauline Rychly Koshuba Haydak, my great aunt, Anna Rychly Romanchuk and my mother Julia Koshuba Noznick.  I have more recent information from an oral history from my great aunt, Katherine Rychly Pylatuik, recorded and edited by her daughter Julia Pylatuik Lawryk, and from my cousin, Mairanne Pylatuik Theis.

The oldest known ancestor of the family, is Pawlo Rychlyj, who was born about 1850, possibly in Bohemia or in Bila, Tarnopil, Austria, now Ukraine.  He married Varvara Wojtuik, who was born in Bila around 1850.  Pawlo may have been previously married to Maria Manchouri, but I can find no verification for this person except  in an unsourced family tree.  The source  for Varvara Wojtuik is my grandmother's baptismal certificate.
Pauline Rychliy's Official Baptismal Certificate, 1933

Pawlo and Varvara married in Bila,  Tarnopil, around 1870-1871.  They had five children: Sylvester born 1872, Katherine born 1879, Constantine (Stanley) born 1886, Pelagia, born 1890, and Oleksa, born in 1892.  The All of the children immigrated to the United States except for Oleksa, who went to Canada.  Pawlo and Varvara stayed in Europe.

Pawlo's place of birth and ethnic background is a question--according to my grandmother, Pauline Haydak, and aunt, Anna Romanchuk, the Rychly name is Czech.  Anna Romanchuk told me that the Rychly family left Bohemia after losing their property and moved to Bila.  From what I have read, there was movement of people within the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and Bohemians often found employment in other parts of the Empire.  In my research on, I have found many Rychlys, none of whom are listed as Ukrainian or Ruthenian (an old name for Ukrainian) except for my ancestors.  Most of the other Rychlys were listed as Bohemian. I do not know if Pawlo  or his parents or both moved to Bila. The Rychly name means quick or fast in Czech.

In Bila, the Rychly family were farmers, growing hemp.  Hemp was an important agricultural product, used for making rope, and various fabrics, including burlap and a type of linen.  The custom in Eastern Europe was to divide property between sons when the father died.  By the end of the nineteenth century,  many family farms were so small, often only 2 acres, that farming couldn't support a family of 5 or more children. Many farming families were impoverished, and immigration was a viable alternative for many.  My great-grandfather, Sylvester Rychly, said that he left Bila in 1907 because he didn't want his children to work like slaves and never get ahead.  In other words--they came for a better life.

The two oldest of Pawlo's sons, Sylvester and and Constantine came to Pennsylvania, to the town of Tower City, because there were other immigrants from Bila living there. They worked as farm laborers. Eventually sister Katherine's husband, Michael Domelko immigrated, and was followed by Katherine in 1912.
The pattern of immigration was for the husband to come to the USA first, work and save money and eventually send for the wife and children. The Rychly family followed this pattern.  Although the fare to the USA seems inexpensive to us today, it often took an immigrant man over a year to save enough money to pay for passage for his wife and several more years to save enough for fares for the children.
Katherine and her husband remained in the Reinerton, Pennsylvania, area. Anna Rychly was the first of Sylvester's children to come to Pennsylvania in 1912-3. Sylvester, Anna and Constantine moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota around 1913-4. Pelagia's husband, Dymytro Popko, came to the USA and was followed to Minnesota by Pelagia and daughter Stefania. Oleksa immigrated to Canada, probably to the Winnipeg, Manitoba area.  Pauline Rychly came to Minneapolis with Constantine, his wife Maria and daughter Jenny, in July of 1914, just before World War I began.  No more Rychlys were able to immigrate until the 1920's because of major anti-immigration changes in American immigration policy.

I will be taking a break from eeroots for three weeks.  Next post will be Friday May 10.

Pauline Rychly (bride), John Koshuba, Anna Rychly and Sylvester Rychly (seated), 1916

For more information about the reasons why Eastern Europeans immigrated, click  here
 Take a virtual tour of a New York City tenement and see how immigrants lived, click here