I am doing research on my great-grandparents, Michael Hryc and Frances (Ivanciw) Hryc, and am confused about some of the listings of nationalities and race that were used for them. Was there an "official" race and nationality-listing that was followed when Ellis Island manifests were recorded? Was there a difference between the Austria; Polish and the Austria; Ruthenian listings that were used on the manifests?
My great-grandmother's birthplace is listed as Podkamien, Austria. However, it appears that in 1913 when my great-grandmother immigrated to the U.S., there were three Podkamiens in the Austrian-Empire. One in the Opolskie section of Poland. One between the Galician cities of Brody and Ternopil in Western-Ukraine. And, another in Western-Ukraine but between the Galician cities of L'viv and Ivano-Frankivs'k.
Here is my dilemma. I have always been told that my great-grandmother and great-grandfather were Polish. However, after finding some documentation I am puzzled about their "official" nationality. I can't seem to figure-out if they were "officially" Austrian, Polish, Russian or Ukrainian. I started doing this research because I was trying to trace my family back to Poland in order to possibly obtain a Polish passport and now I'm not sure if my ancestral nationality is in-fact Polish or not.
Any clarification regarding the nationality of my great-grandmother would be helpful as the next step is to try to contact the authorities in either Poland or the Ukraine to obtain birth and marriage records for my great-grandmother and great-grandfather and possibly a death-record for my great-grandfather. Thank you.
Here is some background information. My great-grandfather (Michael Hryc, Sr.) died shortly before my great-grandmother immigrated to the United States. However, the story goes that my great-grandmother was pregnant with my grandfather when she arrived in the United States in March of 1913. My grandfather (Michael Hryc, Jr.) was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in September, 1913. A year later, in October 1914, my great-grandmother married John Pelechowycz in Boston, Massachusetts. They had seven more children of their own over the next decade.
I have found my great-grandmother's immigration manifest. She arrived at Ellis Island on March 1, 1913 on the S.S. Pretoria sailing from Hamburg. Her name on the manifest is Franka Hryc. Her "nationality" is listed as Austrian. Her "race of people" is listed as Ruthenian. Her last permanent residence is listed as Podkamien, Austria. The name and address of her nearest relative from the country whence she came is listed as her father, Franc Ivanciw, of Podkamien. Her place of birth is listed as Austria, Podkamien.
I have found my grandfather's birth record that lists his name as Michael Hrycuw. It lists his father's name as Michael Hrycuw and lists the maiden name of his mother as Frances Ivancow. I know this is the correct record because the addresses and dates all match up.
I have found the marriage record for my great-grandmother and John Pelechowycz. It lists my great-grandmother's name as Frances (Dziminsky) Hrytz and lists this marriage as her second marriage and lists her place of birth as Austria; Poland. I know this is the correct record because the addresses and dates all match up.
I have found the 1920 and 1930 United States Census listing for my great-grandmother, step-great-grandfather and my grandfather. The 1920 Census lists both great-grandparents' birthplaces as Austria; Poland and their parents' birthplaces as Austria; Poland and their "mother-tongue" as Polish. The 1930 Census lists both great-grandparents' birthplaces as Austria and their parents' birthplaces as Austria and their "language" as Polish. I know these are the correct records because the addresses and sibling names and ages all match up.
I have also found the birth-records for my grandfather's seven step-brothers and sisters. My great-grandmother's birthplace is listed as Austria; Poland or just Austria on these records.