Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961) - Stories of Tragedy and Strength

This is the 2nd of 52 weekly posts planned for 2018. It was inspired by the #52Ancestors writing challenge issued by professional genealogist, Amy Crow Johnson. The challenge: once a week, for all 52 weeks of the year, write about a relative in your family tree.


Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961)

Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961) was born and raised in Pennsylvania, around Cambria County. In 1891 she married John August Malzi (1865-1899). Ellen was widowed young, around the age of 33, two months before her last child with John was born.

Ellen and John had 5 children, one of whom died at age 1. Pictured here is Ellen, husbandless, with her 4 surviving fatherless children. 

Ellen George Malzi and family.jpeg

This photo came from a treasured photo album that belonged to my great grandmother, Ida (Rhoads) Sears (1900-2002)

Ellen (George) Malzi was the daughter of Rachel Costlow (1844-1920) and John George (1841-1904). Rachel was a sister of my great grandmother Ida's mother, Mary (Costlow) Rhoads (1858-1947). Ellen would be my 1st cousin 3x removed and a 1st cousin of Ida's.

Here is a chart that depicts the relationship between Ellen and Ida.

 Relationship between Ellen Amelia (George) Mazli and my great grandmother, Ida Agnes (Rhoads) Sears

Relationship between Ellen Amelia (George) Mazli and my great grandmother, Ida Agnes (Rhoads) Sears

I was especially happy when, using some AncestryDNA evidence, I connected with a direct descendent of Ellen. Karen (Hughes) Lowe is my 4th cousin. She provided me with some wonderful information about Ellen and her family:

Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961) married John August Malzi (1865-1899) in October of 1891. The Malzis (John, his father and his brothers) were all butchers/grocers in Johnstown, PA.
John's father, Johann Peter Malzi immigrated to the US from Darmstadt, Germany in 1846. Two of John Malzi's older brothers (Jacob and Erhart) died as a result of the Johnstown Flood; Jacob Malzi died in the flood on May 31, 1889 and Erhart Malzi died one week after the flood.
Ellen and John Malzi had five children: Marie (my grandmother), George (died at 1yr old), Cecilia, Matilda and Grace. Their youngest child, Grace, was born two months after her father John Malzi died of 'consumption'.
After John Malzi died when he was 34 yrs old, his wife Ellen continued to run his butcher/grocery store to support herself and her children. This was at a time when women had just been given the right to vote.
Among the many interesting things about Ellen was that she went to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 with the LCBA (Ladies Catholic Benevolent Association).
Ellen's oldest daughter, Marie (Malzi) Adams was my grandmother. Marie is with her oldest three children in the photo you sent. They are Dorothy, Paul Jr ("Boots") and Ruth along with their dog "Shep".

Here is the photo from my great grandmother that I was able to send to Karen:

 Marie (Malzi) Adams (1892-1985), Ellen's oldest daughter, with three children and their dog, "Shep"

Marie (Malzi) Adams (1892-1985), Ellen's oldest daughter, with three children and their dog, "Shep"

Here is the photo of Ellen standing in front of the grocery store that she ran. Ellen is the woman in the middle, with 3 of her 4 daughters next to her. The boy is unidentified. 

 Mrs. E. A. Malzi - Groceries and Meat Market

Mrs. E. A. Malzi - Groceries and Meat Market

Karen spoke admiringly about Ellen's ability to handle adversity. There was a lot of it. "Tragedy followed the Malzi Family," Karen said. 

From the death of a young child, to the loss of a husband, to a heart wrenching murder of her husband's brother by her father-in-law, to the loss of her hearing due to a lightening strike - Ellen saw much tragedy in her life. 

Here she is, presumably before much of that tragedy struck. Young and poised, her face conveys resilience and strength. 

Ellen George Malzi.jpeg

Karen also said of her great grandmother: "She was well-loved and didn’t dwell on life’s tragedies. Later in life, Ellen lost her hearing when lighting struck while she was on the telephone. She was still physically active and lived with her daughters until her death, staying a few months of the year with each one, until her death."

 Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961)

Ellen Amelia (George) Malzi (1866-1961)