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Families Before 1956

Tajti Family

The TAJTI family of Matramindszent, Hungary

Welland City Directories show that the surname was changed to TAYTI in 1937.

The earliest ancestor know to this family was Janos Tajti of Matramindszent. He was the grandfather of Istvan Tajti, who sailed from Antwerp aboard the ship Minnedosa, arriving in Quebec City on August 21, 1925, and went to Welland, ON. He had left behind his wife, Anna Katona and sons Pal and Zoltan. Anna and the boys sailed from Antwerp aboard the Cunard White Star Lines ship Montcalm, arriving in Quebec City on October 24, 1930. They traveled by train to meet Istvan. The ship’s manifest said Istvan lived at 446 South Main St., in Welland. A daughter, Anne, was born the next year in Canada. The Tajti family was Roman Catholic. As adults, Zoltan and Anne converted to Protestantism.

Istvan b. May 04, 1899 in Matramindszent d. summer 1970 in Welland, ON. Anna Katona b. 1901 in Doroghaza, Hungary, d. spring 1976 in Welland. Pal b. May 03, 1921 in Hungary d. September 2000 in Welland. Zoltan b. April 09, 1924 in Hungary d. August 05, 2001 in Welland. Anne b. August 15, 1931 in Welland d. September 2000 in Welland. NOTE: All three siblings died within an 11-month period. Anna Katonah’s father was Janos Katona. Her mother died when she was ten years old and father remarried. Istvan’s father was Pal Tajti who was a farmer with cattle, sheep, and bees. Pal also raised corn for making brooms.

Istvan went to Norway to work in early 1920s, returned to Hungary for a short time and built a new home for the family in Matramindszent. In Welland, Istvan became known as Steve. He worked for Electro-Metals and retired from that company. After moving to Welland, he made several trips to Hungary. Wife Anna returned only once. He was a great singer and made his own wine. He was a member of the Independent Mutual Benefit Federation and an affiliate of the IMBF Hall (Munkas) on Park Street, Welland. IMBF organization was formed as an insurance company in the 1930s, to cover funeral expenses of members. The IMBF hall (Munkas) was sometimes referred to as the Hungarian Labour Temple. It was a place for social gatherings, allowing the people to retain their culture and language.

In the early years the family moved around in rental homes, then purchased a farm about 1939, later selling that and buying a house in 1943 at 254 Niagara Street, Welland. Istvan quickly learned to speak English. Anna did not learn much English, although she could understand some bits of conversations. She still took her Hungarian prayer book when attending Mass. There was no need for her to learn English. She spent most of her time with fellow Hungarians and they spoke Hungarian in the home. Welland had a large farmers’ market where the Hungarian women would meet on Saturday.

Zoltan’s widow Elizabeth, has the family history for 7 generations beginning with JANOS, including information on names, where the people located (some went to Beckley, West Va.) etc.

The following is about Zoltan and his life in Canada:

Zoltan Tayti is the fourth generation of the Tajti family, beginning with his great grandfather Janos Tajti from Matramindszent, Hungary. He was born Zoltan Tajti in Matramindszent. Traveled here on Cunard White Star Line ship Montcalm arriving at Quebec City, October 24, 1930, then traveling to Welland, Ontario by train. While in Cdn. Army (WWII) he legally changed spelling to Tayti and legally took the name Chester as his middle name. The surname had been changed when he and his brother were in elementary school in Canada. Chester was a name he adopted, taken from the comic strip Chester Gump. He was known as Chester at General Motors. When he retired in 1981, he again used Zoltan Chester. Family and Hungarian friends called him Zoly. When Zoltan was born Hungarians often had but one name, with no middle name.

In teen years he belonged to the IMBF orchestra under Henry Stahl. They played over CKTB radio station Sundays, a program called Hungarian Homeland Memories. They also played for dances and picnics at Kossuth Park and at Hungarian Labour Temple. He was member of IMBF cultural dance troupe and Drama Club that traveled to Tillsonburg, Hamilton, Brantford, etc. performing in Hungarian Halls.

Employment:

  • Worked in tobacco fields when young, then for various employers in Welland over years, including Electro Metals, Atlas, Canada Forge, etc.
  • Canadian Army 1943-46
  • During 1946-47 sold insurance for Toronto Mutual; then had a crew under him selling Street & Smith magazines in different cities.
  • Employed full time at General Motors 1949 – 1981 except for one year. In 1953-54, he operated his own restaurant, called Argyle Coffee Shop in Preston, ON. He was a Union Shop Steward for 3 years. He took early retirement at age 56 after arterial by-pass

He was married twice and had two children, Mark and Michael Tayti, three stepchildren Nancy, David and Stephen Sherwood.

While living in St. Catharines, he attended West St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, later going to St. Giles Presbyterian. While at St. Giles ran a Scout troop, cooked for the Men’s Club; purchased and sold Christmas trees to help the church.

After moving to Welland he transferred his membership to Knox Presbyterian in 1976. Was member of Board of Managers, later a Trustee. Member of Men’s Breakfast Club and Friendship Club.

Hobbies:

  • Played football in High School
  • Taught ballroom dancing with Paul Barta School of Dancing. Paul Barta was owner of Budapest Restaurant of King Street, Welland.
  • At one time rode an old Indian motorcycle to B.C.
  • Held pilot’s license. Flying 1949-60. Owned in 5-way partnership a Cornell, call letters CFFUM; later owned personally a Piper Super Cruiser, 3 places.
  • Held black belt in Judo and was instructor for same. Was member of Judo Club at GM
  • Sang barbershop in St. Catharines
  • Played golf for about 15 years
  • Member Pioneer Square Dancers, St. Catharines, from about 1979-84. Went ballroom dancing at the many ethnic halls in Niagara area 1976-90 with wife Elizabeth.
  • From 1960s until 2000 collected militaria, handguns and long guns. Was a member of the Welland and Handgun Club for 20 years until end of 2000. He and buddy, Paul Eros showed and sold at many gun shows around Ontario.
  • Operated a DJ business called PLATTER CHATTER from about 1979 to 1984.
  • Very musical, a good singer and enjoyed playing harmonica
  • Zoltan made two trips to Hungary. One with Elizabeth, when he was 52, after being away 45 years. He remembered exactly where his Aunt Erszebet lived and went directly to the house. The other trip was 9 years later, with David Sherwood. He was still speaking Hungarian.

He went to Ghana three times with Elizabeth. They were instrumental in helping establish a Girls Vocational School in Dormaa-Ahenkro, Ghana in 1990. The school was later offered help by the Presbyterian World Service and Development, Canada, and as of 2005 is still operational.

They lived with the local Presbyterian minister, Rev. Ohemeng Boakye (OB) and his family. When there in 1990 he became the Godfather of Kwadwo. In 1991 the second son was born and given the name Kwasi Zoltan. Kwasi was called Papa Zoly by the villagers when he was very young. Kwasi later requested some of the ashes of Zoltan, who had been cremated at death, and the request was granted.

Zoltan and Elizabeth traveled extensively from 1976-1999, in Europe, Canada, USA and Caribbean Islands. They spent many summers at their cottage in Nova Scotia. He never regretted his father had brought the family to Canada, and maintained his Hungarian connections until his death. One of his early Hungarian memories was driving the horse and wagon home, by himself, when his grandfather stopped at the local tavern. He was age five. At that time the grandparents were living with Zoltan’s family.

All the early information, about ancestors, and from 1930-1975 was given to Elizabeth Tayti by Zoltan Tayti.