Mary Vasily--Ellis lsland Oral History Project

Copyright © 1996 by GCU and used here with permission

On September 23, 1985, Lodge 15 member Mary Vasily became one of the first participants in the Ellis Island Oral History Project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Edward Applebome interviewed Miss Vasily in her Trenton, NJ home where she talked about her birth in Duquesne, PA, her return (with her mother) to her father's village of Hazen in Ungvar, Austria-Hungary. and her repatriation to the United States in 1912.

Included among many fascinating anecdotes is the story of how Mary and her mother had their first pair of steerage tickets cancelled, which she suspects saved them from perishing on the doomed final voyage of the Titanic. Miss Vasily's remarkable personal story paints a detailed picture of the childhood immigration experience so common to her generation. Her recorded interview is part of the permanent exhibit housed at Ellis Island, which is open to the public. The written transcript is on file at the Ellis Island Archives in York, PA.

Miss Vasily is past president of Lodge 15, one of the GCU's oldest, and she served six terms on the Tribunal until her retirement in 1973. She has been a GCU member since the 1920s.

Thanks to Greg Kopchak of the Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn Genealogy Research Web Site for HTML'ing this article for us.

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