My great grandfather John GORSCHE and great grandmother, Barbara THOMAS (possibly Tomec) were Ruthenians who spoke a form of Ukrainian (as described in their 1920 US census information), who immigrated to the US in 1856 and 1881 respectively. John GORSCHE was a peddler in Iowa for several years (until he had enough money to buy a farm), and may have come from a peddling tradition in Krain, Austria. They got married in 1883 and raised a large family in Iowa and were practicing Roman Catholics.
I have not determined the exact village they came from, but it is likely in White Carniola, most likely Semitsch, Krain (now Semic, Slovenia) or Tschernembl, Krain (now Crnomelj, Slovenia). Both names start to show up in the marriage records of both towns in the early-mid 1700’s. The families may have arrived earlier, but that is how far back the marriage records go.
My question is does anyone have any good ideas how Ruthenians would have ended up in the White Carniola region (Semic or Crnomelj) of the old AustroHungarian Empire no later than the early 1700’s?
Could they have been part of the group from Bereg County, Hungary to help resettle parts of Serbia in the early 1700’s, then to resettle in Krain, Austria?
Or were there other Ruthenian groups from the north eastern part of old Hungarian empire that would have settled in northern Croatian, then to ‘Austria’, or directly to ‘Austria’?
Did any Ruthenians participate with the Uskoks before they were re-settled in White Carnolia in the 1600’s?
Thank you for any information.