.+64 3 477 5552
Select Page

Smoliński Family

     Click flag to open the families map locations

click on name or picture to go to Smolinski Family Tree at ancestry.com

 Click ship to open the Marlborough ship page

Spoken Polish
If you would like to hear the Polish names and text spoken in Polish then we can help.
Firstly click on this link "Text to Polish" and then copy the text you wish to hear, and paste it into the translation box. You can either listen to it or have it download onto your machine.
Enjoy !!



MALINOWSKI (Pol) malina. Meaning: raspberry bush.

REKOWSKI (Pol) rak. Meaning: crab, cancer.

SMOLIŃSKI (Pol) smola. Meaning: tar, pitch, or smolic – to dirty.


Jan Smoliński, a farm labourer, (b. 1844–d. 1922) was born at Stanisławie on 28 February 1844, the son of Anna Smolińska (b. 1820–d. 1882). Mona Todd, a granddaughter, recalls;

“When I was much younger, I recall hearing that grandfather was the son of either a guest at the German manor, (at a time when guests were often entertained and fraternising with staff was common), or the landlord himself.”

Anna went on to marry Maciej Klimek at Godziszewo on 25 April 1847 and Jan eventually became the eldest child of five surviving children.  Jan married on 17 October 1869 at the Church of the Holy Trinity at Lubiszewo-Tzcewskie to Franciszka (Fanny) Malinowska (b. 05 October 1850 at Kolincz–d. 1913), the daughter of Tomasz Malinowski (b. 1807–d. in America) and Katarzyna Rekowska (b. 1815–d. in America). The family born at Małźewo were: Jakob (b. 1870–d. 1870) and Maryanna Rozalia (b. 1871–d. 1879), at Rukosin; Jan (b. 1874–d. 1905), Jozef (b. 1876–d. 1878) and at Małźewo; Franciszek (b. 1878–d. 1940).


It is said the family were organized to go to America with Franciszka’s parents and sister Johanna.  Prior to leaving, sadly their daughter Marianna Rozalia fell ill and died on 14 July 1879 at Małźewo age 8. The fact that Jan’s mother Anna was suffering from cancer of the face may have persuaded the family to go to New Zealand where she had migrated with extended family in 1874. The family left Małźewo and sailed for Clyde in Scotland, which was said to have been a nerve-racking journey encountering very rough seas. It is said that Franciszka had fallen ill either at Clyde or on-board ship and it was documented that one of the fellow passengers had nursed a German woman through her illness. The family had set sail aboard the Marlborough on 23 October 1879, arriving at Port Chalmers near Dunedin on 7 January 1880.  The following year, the Malinowski family migrated to America and settled at Marble Township, Minnesota.


John Snr, John Jnr, Francisca (nee Malinowska), Frank and Martha Smolenski c. 1882 Waihola, courtesy of Patricia Clark


The family travelled south to Waihola where John’s extended family were residing. It is believed that John and fanny lived in a tent close to the lake side where they gave birth to Martha (b. 1881–d. 1951). In November of 1883, the family moved north and settled at Greytown/Allanton where John worked as a farm labourer.  The family born at Allanton were: August (b. 1883–d. 1967), Minnie (b. 1885–d. 1887), Rosie (b. 1888–d. 1972), James (b. 1890–d. 1969), Annie (b. 1892–d. 1898), and William (b. 1895–d. 1980). John purchased section 20 of Block six on 14 October 1887 where he built a wooden cottage for his family, high enough to avoid the major floods that eventually affected Allanton. He also leased section 48 next door and adjoining section 47. He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 November 1893.  Four of his sons went on to work on the railways and son August decided to work on the trams. John was a dedicated man in all public affairs and was elected onto the Greytown School Committee in June of 1895 and onto the Greytown District Board in the following year. He was said to be a pinnacle of the community who befriended anyone always with a helping hand and a favourite with the youth. Fanny died at Dunedin on 18 March 1913 aged 62 and John died at the residence of his daughter, Martha, at 524 Cumberland street in Dunedin on 3 October 1922 aged 78. Both are buried together at the Allanton Cemetery.

Patricia Smolenski, who started the family research, discovered that John and Fanny had 25 grandchildren, 97 great grandchildren, 257 great, great grandchildren, 292 great, great, great grandchildren and over 1100 entries on their family tree, 135 years after their marriage in 1869.

A family reunion was held at Allanton in memory of Antoni Velenski, Martha Smolenski, Arthur Palmer and deceased relatives and friends, on Sunday 27 October 1991. A celebration mass was held at the Sacred Heart Church followed by a picnic in which 150 family members reunited.


August, William, Franciszka, James, Rosie, Frank, John Snr. & Martha Smolenski. c. 1907, courtesty of Patricia Clark


John Junior Smoliński was born at Rukosin on 25 February 1874. He married on 19 July 1899 at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Allanton to Annie Maria Black in a double wedding ceremony. The family born at Dunedin were: John Joseph (b. 1901–d. 1968) and Nellie May (b. 1903–d. 1972). John worked as a labourer and was a member of the Loyal Mosgiel Lodge.  He died at Allanton on 30 December 1905 age 31 and is buried at the Allanton Cemetery.

“FUNERAL NOTICE. The Friends of the late JOHN SMOLENSKI (and Family) are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave his late Residence, 21 Clarendon street, for the Allanton Cemetery. THIS DAY (MONDAY). 1st January, at 11.30 a.m., reaching Allanton about 2 p.m. A. J. WYNN & HOPE, Undertakers, 36 St. Andrew street.

M. U. I. O. O. F. The MEMBERS of the LOYAL MOSGIEL LODGE are requested to attend the FUNERAL of the late BROTHER JOHN SMOLENSKI, at Allanton, THIS DAY (MONDAY), January 1, 1906, at 2 p.m. JAMES AITKEN, N.G.” Otago Daily Times, 1 January, 1906, p 4

“IN MEMORIAM. SMOLENSKI.—In loving memory of John Smolenski, beloved husband of Annie Smolenski, who died 30th December, 1905; aged 30 years. R.I.P. He is gone, but not forgotten— Never shall his memory fade; Fondest thoughts shall ever linger round, my darling husband’s grave. —Inserted by his sorrowing wife.” Otago Daily Times, 1 January 1907, p 4


Smolenski Cottage at Allanton, courtesy of Patricia Clark.


Frank Smoliński was born at Małźewo on 17 September 1878.  He worked as a labourer for Kirkland’s at Allanton and was married on 13 February 1901 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin to Margaret Brennan. The family born at East Taieri were: Francis Joseph (b. 1902–d. 1930), at Dunedin; William (b. 1904–d. 1964), Mary (b. 1907–d. 1992) and John Augustine (b. 1907–d. 2004). Frank died on 4 March 1940 aged 61 at Sawyers Bay and is buried at the Port Chalmers Cemetery.

“DEATHS. SMOLENSKI.—On March 4, 1940 (suddenly), at his residence. Hall street, Sawyers Bay, Frank, dearly beloved husband of Margaret Smolenski; aged 61 years. R.I.P. Requiem Mass at the Catholic Church. Port Chalmers, To-morrow (Wednesday), March 6, at 9 a.m.—The Funeral will leave the church immediately after Mass for the Port Chalmers New Cemetery.—Cole and Son, funeral directors.” Otago Daily Times, 5 March 1940, p 8

“OBITUARY. MR FRANK SMOLENSK! Last week the death took place suddenly at Sawyers Bay of Mr Frank Smolensk!. He had resided there for the past 22 years. Born in Finland, Mr Smolensk! migrated with his, parents 60 years ago. and the family settled at Lake Waihola. As a young man, Mr Smolenski joined the Public Works Department on the Central Otago railway construction, and from then he later transferred to the Railway Maintenance Department. He retired 18 months ago. His interests lay in the ardent support of the Port Chalmers Catholic church, in bowling, and in local Labour activities. He is survived by his wife, two sons (Mr William and Mr John Smolenski), and a daughter (Mrs W, L. Smith, of Port Chalmers).” Evening Star, 11 March 1940, p 8


B. Eric Velenski, John Smolenski (arms folded), Frank Velenski, M. Bill Smolenski, Franciska (nee Malinowska), Tom Velenski (on knee), Nellie Smolenski, Min Velenski, Johann Snr., Stan Smolenski (on knee), Frank Smolenski, F. Twins Jack & Mary Smolenski. c. 1910, courtesy of Patricia Clark


Henry Frank (Mikey) Michalski

US Marine, Henry Frank (Mikey) Michalski, courtesy of Patricia Clark

Patricia Clark with “Mikey”, courtesy of Paul Klemick

During the Second World War, Henry Frank Michalski, a US Marine, happened to call into Dunedin, where he went hunting for extended family. You see his grandmother, Johanna Zitterman, nee Malinowska was the youngest sister to Franciszka Smolenski. Johanna and her husband, Frank Zitterman had migrated to America with her parents, Tomasz aged 75 and Katarzyna aged 65. The extended family sailed from Bremen aboard the Kronprinz Friderich Wilhelm and arrived at Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 16 April 1881 and settled at Marble Township, Lincoln, Minnesota, USA.

Henry had berthed at Lyttleton and boarded a train for Dunedin.  While on the train he happened to talk to a gentleman who was also going to Dunedin and told the man who he was looking for.  The address being 524 Cumberland Street was not far from the Dunedin Railway Station and the man said he could take him right to their door.  While in Dunedin, Henry met up with Martha Velenski including a very young Patricia Todd, a great granddaughter of Franciszka Smolinska (nee Malinowska) who happened to be also born on Henry’s birthday, the 10th of July.  Henry gave Patricia a small teddy bear which she called Mikey, Henry’s nickname, and still has it in her possession today.  Now in her eighties, she has never forgotten Mikey and his visit. Sadly, he lost his life on 25 June 1944 at the Marshall Islands during the Second World War.  Henry was the son of Frank and Anna Michalski (nee Zitterman) and grew up on the family Orangery at San Bernadino, California, USA.  Franciszka’s oldest sister, Anna Rosalia Malinowska, married Johann Borowski.  The family of Borowski/Brooks migrated to America at various times from about 1891 and settled in Detroit, Michigan, USA.


Once the Palmer homestead at 524 Cumberland Street taken in February 1973, courtesy of DCC Archives


552 Cumberland St, 1973 | 5 Emily Siedeberg Place today. DCC… | Flickr

(552) Cumberland Street, Colin Taylor        (548) in 1973 Margaret Graham (1947)         (544) in 1973 Richard Legg (1947)                (540) in 1973 Sidney Todd (1947)


(536) in 1973 Jno Gleeson (1947)                 (532) in 1973 Elizabeth Farmer (1947)         (528) in 1973 Jno Brown (1947)                   (524) in 1973 Arthur Palmer (1947)                             552 is now 5 Emily Siedberg Place, part of the One-way System Developement 1973, courtesy of the DCC Archives


548-524 Cumberland Street is now part of the Dunedin Hospital Pay & Display Carpark at 89 Frederick Street.  A barber shop once stood on the corner


540 Cumberland Street on Coronation Day 1948              In 1973 by DCC Archives                                             Taken in the 1980’s before its demoliton


Original Smolenski Grave

Original grave of John & Francesca Smolenski, Catholic Plot 45 at Allanton Cemetery, courtesy of Patricia Smolenski

John Smolenski, Catholic Plot 40 at Allanton Cemetery


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 25, 26 & 171.

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.

Clark Patricia, Fairfield, supplied family photos and information.

Lauder Reta, Dunedin, supplied family informtion.

Lubiszewo Tczewskie & Starogard Gdański Parish Records, Pelplin Diocese, Poland.

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

Smolenski Patricia (nee Patrick), Timaru, Johann & Francesca Smolenski – The descending family tree.

Todd Mona, Dunedin, supplied family information.

John and Francesca Smolenski, Catholic Block Plot 45 at Allanton Cemetery


Frank and Margaret Smolenski, Block DB. Plot 8 at Port Chalmers Cemetery


Allanton Cemetery – Francesca Smolenski (1850-1913) – Find A Grave Memorial

Allanton Cemetery – John Smolenski (1840-1922) – Find A Grave Memorial

Allanton Cemetery – John Smolenski (1874-1905) – Dunedin City Council

Port Chalmers Cemetery – Frank Smolenski (1878-1940) – Dunedin City Council



Compiled by Paul Klemick (2023)



Chairperson .....  Ewa Rożecka Pollard
Phone ......+64 3 477 5552
Secretary ..... Anna McCreath Munro
Phone ..... +64 3 464 0053

Facebook ..... Poles Down South 

Contact Poles Down South

7 + 14 =

Poles in New Zealand   We would like to hear from Poles or people with any Polish connection, who visited New Zealand and particularly those of you who paid a visit or lived anywhere in Otago or Southland.

Polski  “Poles Down South” jest stroną internetową organizacji polonijnej w Nowej Zelandii działającej w rejonie Otago i Southland na Wyspie Południowej. Siedzibą organizacji jest Dunedin.