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Kowalewski Family


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BRANDT (Ger) a derivative of brinnan. Meaning: to flash, with an element of the word for sword brand.

CACKOWSKI (Pol) czacz, archaic for cacko. Meaning: toy, bauble.

DROSDOWSKI/DROZDOWSKI (Pol) drozdz. Meaning: a thrush. DROSDOWSKI is a habitation name of a person coming from the place where the Thrushes live. The name DROSD is also used as the surname in some records.

KOWALEWSKI (Pol) kowac. Meaning: to forge metal, or kowal. Meaning: smith. KOWALSKI is the occupational name for a blacksmith. Names like KOWALEWSKI AND KOWALCYNSKI etc are the habitation names of families living in the general area where the smith-shop was located. In earlier times the smith-shop was the provider and repairer of tools and weapons. There were therefore many smith-shops and the name KOWALEWSKI was a common name nationally.


Franciszek (Anton) Kowalewski, (b. 1831–d. 1911) was born at Miłobądz on 16 November 1831, the son of Tomasz Kowalewski (b. abt. 1795–d. 1851) and Elzbieta Brandt (b. 1797–d. 1849). Franciszek married on 12 February 1854 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to widow, Barbara Feyster, nee Drozdowska (b. 15 November 1830 at Rukosin–d. 1891), the daughter of Michal Drozdowski (b. abt. 1806–d. 1863) and Maryanna Cackowska (b. abt. 1802–d. 1852). Barbara was previously married to Jan Feyster (b. abt. 1825–d. 1852), of Miłobadz, on 20 October 1850 with whom they had a son, Jozef (b. 1851–d. 1852) at Rukosin. The family born at Sliwiny were: Rozalia (b. 1854–d. 1855) and Franciszek (b. 1856–d. 1865), at Rukosin; Justyna Rozalia (b. 1858–d. 1859), August (b. 1860–d. 1863), Anton Franciszek (b. 1862–d. 1863), Maryanna (b. 1864–d. 1887), Jan (b. 1866–d. 1867), Jakob Gabriel (b. 1868–d. 1868), Ludwik August (b. 1869–d. 1888), Marta (b. 1870–d. 1872) and Julia Barbara (b. 1872–d. 1890). They left the village of Lubiszewo-Tczewskie for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Lammershagen on 1 April 1875, arriving at Port Nicholson in Wellington on 11 July 1875.


Listed aboard were: August (Anton) Kowalewski age 42, Barbara 42, Maria 9, Julius 5 and Julia 2. They travelled south to Allanton, where Anton’s brother was already residing and where they had their youngest child, Anna (b. 1876–d. 1877). According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, Anton as he preferred to be called, owned two acres at Allanton to the value of £200. Barbara died at Allanton on 12 July 1891 aged 60 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.

A married women named Barbara Kovalveski, whose husband is a labouring man, died suddenly at Greytown last Sunday, and upon the circumstances having been reported to the Coroner, Mr. Carew deemed an inquiry necessary, and accordingly an inquest was held at the residence of deceased on Monday. Mr. W. Read, was chosen foreman of a jury of six, and the following evidence was tendered:- Franz Antone Kovalveski, husband of deceased, deposed: I am a labourer and reside at Greytown. I have lived here for 16 years. Barbara Kovalveski is my wife; she was born at Deisham, Russia, and was 59 years old. She has had 12 children, but none of them are alive. Since the death of a daughter on the 17th of March 1890, her health has been bad, and she got worse and worse, but she never kept to her bed. Dr McCaw attended her eight or nine years ago for rheumatism. Since then, no medical man has attended her till Dr Peters came about six weeks ago. Dr Peters told me that my wife was not strong in the chest; prescribed cod liver oil and a lotion for her chest. Three weeks ago, Dr Peters came again and after seeing my wife told me that she was a good deal better, my wife thought she was a good deal better too. Dr Peters has not seen her since then. On Saturday the 11th inst. she was up and went outside the house, but she was very weak then – she had been very weak for several weeks past. My wife has been unable to attend to her household duties for some time past; I have attended to those duties myself. On Sunday the 12th inst. she got up at about 9.30 in the morning and seemed in her usual state of health. She made no complaint. I went to chapel and returned home about 12 o’clock, my brother Lawrence was with me when I arrived at the fire. I noticed that something was wrong with her, and went up and supported her in my arms. I found she could not speak, although she seemed to be quite conscious. Some water was given to my wife, which she drank. My brother sent his son for Dr. Allan, but my wife died about five or six minutes afterwards. I noticed that she had vomited a little blood, but not a large quantity. To my knowledge it had never happened before. No one was left with her in the house when I went to chapel. I did not think she was worse than usual or I would not have gone. My wife was always quite right in her head. She died about 20 minutes past 12 on Sunday, and Dr Allan told me she was dead, but he did not say what was the cause of death. Evidence was also given by Lawrence and August Kovalveski, after which the jury returned a verdict of ‘Death from natural causes.” Taieri Advocate, 15 July 1891

“The unoccupied house at Greytown of Mr August Kovalski was destroyed by fire on Saturday. It was insured for £80 in the Norwich Union.” Otago Witness, 25 May 1893, p 34

Anton was employed as a labourer and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 25 October 1899, a resident of Allanton. It is believed Anton was a veteran of the Franco-Prussian war and to the children he was known as Uncle Choo-Choo. Anton was nervous about sudden noises, a legacy of his army service, and on celebration of the New Year, the children had much delight in letting off crackers behind Uncle Choo-Choo and watch his reaction. He died on 12 March 1911 aged 79 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin, alongside his wife.

“FUNERAL NOTICE. The Friends of the late ANTON KOVALESKI are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave the Residence of Mr Frank Kovaleski, Quarry Hill, Allanton, THIS DAY (TUESDAY), 14th inst., at 11 a.m., for the Southern Catholic Cemetery. HUGH GOURLEY, Undertaker, Clarke and Maclaggan streets.” Otago Daily Times, 14 March 1911, p 4


Maria Kowalewska was born at Rukosin on 02 January 1864.  She died at Allanton after a long illness on 1 June 1887 aged 23 and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.

DEATH – I regret to have to record the death of one of our settlers, the daughter of one of Polish residents, Mr. Anthony Kervolovski. She died last week after an illness of many months’ duration. Much sympathy is felt for her parents, who have had to deplore several such calamities during their residence in Greytown. Her funeral left here for Dunedin on Saturday morning, and was followed by a number of friends.” Taieri Advocate, 8 June 1887


Ludwig August (Julius) Kowalewski was born at Rukosin on 09 September 1869.  He was employed as a bootmaker and died at Allanton on 13 July 1888 aged 18 years. He is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.


Julianna Barbara Kowalewska was born at Rukosin on 22 September 1872.  She died at Allanton on 16 May 1890 aged 17 years and is buried at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.


Kovaleski family collection


Lohrenz August Kowalewski (b. 1834–d. 1894) was born at Miłobądz on 16 August 1834, the son of Tomasz Kowalewski (b. abt. 1795–d. 1851) and  Elzbieta Brandt (b. 1797–d. 1849).  While residing at Kolnik,  August married on 30 October 1859 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Jozefina Drozdowski (b. 22 March 1835 at Rukosin–d. 1900), the daughter of Michal Drozdowski (b. atb. 1806–d. 1863) and Maryanna Cackowska (b. abt. 1802–d. 1852). When Jozefina’s mother died on 8 September 1852 aged 50, a victim of cholera, Jozefina took on the roll of housekeeper and assisted to the needs of her younger brothers. The family born at Szpęgawa were: Franciszek (b. 1860–d. 1941), at Rukosin; Rozalia (b. 1862–d. 1941), Barbara (b. 1864–d. 1867), Paulina (b. 1866–d. 1867), Franciszka Augustina (b. 1868–d. 1912) and Marta (b. 1870–d. 1872). It is thought that on deciding to immigrate, the family were required to give up their accomodation and seek temporary work and accommodation while awaiting the time to leave.  They resided at the village of Stanisławie which was the location of a large pig farm where it is most likey Lorenz found emplyment while awaiting emmigration instructions. They left the village of Stanisławie for Hamburg where they set aboard the Palmerston on 29 July 1872, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 6 December 1872.

Listed aboard were: Lorenz Aug Kowalewski age 34, Josephina 35, Franz 9, Rosalia 8 and August 4. On the journey to out, Josephina gave birth to Mary (b. 1872–d. 1943). The family was sent south to Scroggs Creek on contract work with Brogden and Sons to lay the southern railway through the Taieri. The family born at Allanton were: Annie (b. 1876–d. 1953) and Agnes (b. 1878–d. 1947). According to the 1882’ Return of Freeholders, August owned 250 acres of land to the value of £800 in Allanton. Lawrence worked as a farmer and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 November 1893 and died at Allanton on 1 August 1894 aged 59. Josephina died in Dunedin on 17 August 1900 aged 65 and is buried with her husband at the Southern Cemetery in Dunedin.


Annie Elizabeth (nee Bielicka) and Francis Kovaleski, taken on the day of their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1939


Francis Anthony Kowalewski was born at Szpęgawa on 07 October 1860.  He married on 1 May 1889 at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Allanton, in a double wedding ceremony to Anna Elizabeth Bielicka (b. 05 Janurary 1872 at Waćmierz–d. 1951), the daughter of Maciej Ludwik Bielicki (b. 1832–d. 1902) and Maryanna Jablonska (b. 1842–1876). The family were: Lawrence Mathew (b. 1890–d. 1969), Mary Josephine (b. 1895–d. 1959), Annie Augusta (b. 1897–d. 1949), Veronica (b. 1902–d. 1935), Doris Eileen (b. 1909) and Agnes Frances (b. 1912–d. 1980). Franz worked as a farmer and was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 20 September 1899. Francis died at Mosgiel on 8 July 1941 aged 80 and is buried at the Allanton Cemetery.


Rosalia Kowalewska was born at Rukosin on 27 October 1862.  She married on 1 May 1889 at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Allanton, in a double wedding ceremony to Joseph Bielicki (b. 13 August 1864 at Radostowo–d. 1940), the son of Maciej Ludwik Bielicki (b. 1832–d. 1902) and Maryanna Jablonska (b. 1842–1876). The family were: Annie Elizabeth (b. 1889–d. 1912), Albert (b.1889–d. 1912), Joseph (b. 1891), Frank (b. 1892–d. 1953), Barbara Augusta (b. 1894–d. 1967), John (b. 1897–d. 1952), Joseph (b. 1900), Olive Rose (b. 1904–d. 1904), Mary Agnes Elsie (b. 1907–d. 1992).  In 1914, Barbara had a son Clarence George (b. 1914–d. 1939) who was raised as the youngest child of Joseph and Rosalia. Joseph died on 6 December 1940 at Allanton and Rosalia died on 29 April 1941 aged 78. They are buried together at the Allanton Cemetery.


Laurie Kovaleski in front of Roxburgh’s Store, Allanton. Ca 1920’s.


Francisca Augustina Kowalewska, known as Aunt Fanny, was born at Rukosin on 02 August 1868.  She never married and moved to Wellington around 1910 with her sisters Mary, Annie and  Agnes. She died at Wellington on 16 November 1912 aged 44 and is buried at the Karori cemetery.



Lottie Kovaleski, Roman Catholic Block 59 Plot 5 at Southern Cemetery in Dunedin


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 22, 23, 25, 26, 155, 169, 196 & 197.

Research Sources

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara O Te Kawanatanga; Land Records.

Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, St Mary’s Church, Milton; Baptism Register.

Lubiszewo Tczewskie, Miłobądz & Tczew Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.


Anton and Barbara Kovaleski, Roman Catholic Block 63 Plot 18 at Southern Cemetery in Dunedin

New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Naturalisations, Births, Deaths and Marriages.

New Zealand Government Property Tax Department, from the rates assessment rolls, Return of Freeholders of New Zealand 1882, published 1884.

Walsh John, Masterton, supplied extensive history of Prussia, family history & family documents (1998).


Allanton Cemetery – Francis Anthony Kovaleski (1860-1941) – Dunedin City Council

Allanton Cemetery – Rose Beleski (1862-1941) – Dunedin City Council

Karori Cemetery – Frances Augustina Kovaleski (1868-1912) – Wellington City Council


Joseph Beleski and Rose (nee Kovaleski), Catholic Block Plot 38 at Allanton Cemetery

Papers Past (natlib.govt.nz)

Southern Cemetery – Anton Kovaleski (1831-1911) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Barbara Kovaleski (1830-1891) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Josephine Kovaleski (1835-1900) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Julia Kovaleski (1872-1890) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Lawrence Kovaleski (1834-1894) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Ludwig Kovaleski (1868-1888) – Dunedin City Council

Southern Cemetery – Mary Kovaleski (1864-1887) – Dunedin City Council


Lawrence and Josephine Kovaleski, Roman Catholic Block 64 Plot 8 at Southern Cemetery in Dunedin


Francis and Veronica Kovaleski, Catholic Block Plot 3 at Allanton Cemetery









Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)



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