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Szczepański Family

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FILTZEK (Pol) element fil- from Filip, Teofil.

GRENZ/GRȨCA (Ger) grens. Meaning: Dweller near the boundary or frontier.

NEUMANN (Ger). Meaning: a newcomer, a “new man”, e.g. new guy in town, convert to Christianity – Polish nowak.

NIERZWICKI (Pol) nierzwić = mierzwić. Meaning; to tousle, ruffle, or to muck.

SZCZEPAŃSKI (Pol) Szczepan, a variant form of Stefan (Steven).


Jakob Szczepański, a small Farmer, (b. 1837–d. 1914) was born at Dalwin on 23 December 1837, the son of Piotr Jozef Szczepański (b. 1801–d. 1872) and Anna Filtzek (b. abt. 1810–d. 1856). Jakob married on 12 June 1859 at St. Jan Nepomuncen in Godziszewo to Barbara Ciesnikowska (b. 10 March 1832 at Obozin–d. 1865), the daughter of Franciszek Ciesnikowski (b. 1796–d. 1876) and Anna Nierzwicka (b. 1802–d. 1886). The family born at Trzcińsk were: Jozef (b. 1857), Franciszka Rozalia (b. 1859–d. 1884), Jozefina (b. 1861–d. 1955) and Anna (b. 1864–d. 1866). Barbara died at Trzcińsk on 20 August 1865 aged 33. Jakob then remarried on 13 May 1867 at Church of the Holy Trinity in Lubiszewo-Tczewskie to Maryanna (Maria) Gręca (b. 15 August 1834 at Lubiszewo-Tczewskie–d. 1881), the daughter of Jozef Tomasz Gręca (b. 1795–d. 1867) and Maryanna Neuman (b. abt. 1798–d. 1847). The family left the village of Trzcińsk for Hamburg where they set sail aboard the Reichstag on 10 May 1874, arriving at Port Nicholson near Wellington on 6 August 1874.  The family had been nominated by family and friends in Waihola to settle in New Zealand.


Listed aboard were: Jacob Szczepansky age 35, Maria 44, Rosalia 14 and Josephina 12. They were sent to Soames Island for isolation before being sent to Dunedin where they were sent to the western compartment of the Caversham Immigration Barracks. From here they settled in the Waikaka Valley at Germantown where Jacob worked at times as a labourer and farmer. Maria died at Gore in May 1881 aged 46 and is buried at the Gore Cemetery. While residing at Mosgiel, Jacob was first admitted into the Otago Benevolent Institution (Tall Boys) at Caversham in Dunedin on 1 November 1895 being unable to find work at the time. He then settled at Pine Hill in Dunedin and was later admitted back into the Benevolent Institution on 7 June 1898 being out of work. Jacob found work as a labourer and was naturalised a New Zealand citizen on 27 October 1903 while residing at Caversham. He died on 6 July 1914 aged 76 and is buried at the Andersons Bay Cemetery in Dunedin.


Franciska (Rosalia) Szczepańska was born at Trzcińsk on 07 October 1859.  She married in 1876 to James Henry Chittock (b. 1846 at London–d. 1926), the son of Frederick Camell Chittock (b. 1814–d. 1898) and Sophia Elizabeth Barton (b. 1819–d. 1878).  The family born at Gore were: Agnes Mary Sophia (b. 1876–d. 1967), Frederick Charles (b. 1879–d. 1968), Josephine Barbara (b. 1882–d. 1970) and James Francis (b. 1884–d. 1971). Rose died at Gore on 9 May 1884 aged 24 and is buried at the Gore Cemetery.


Josephina Szczepańska was born at Trzcińsk on 15 November 1861. She married on 12 September 1880 at Mckay’s Hall in Gore to John Frank Rydzewski (b. 23 April 1857 at Miłobądz–d. 1935), the son of August Walenty Rydzewski (b. 1828–d. 1909) and Rozalia Maryanna Sliwinska (b. 1832–1909). The family born at Hokonui were: Agnes Elizabeth (b. 1881–d. 1961), at Croydon; James August (b. 1883–d. 1947), at Waikaka Valley; Clara Barbara (b. 1885–d. 1975), Ellen Frances (b. 1887–d. 1969), John Francis (b. 1890–d. 1924), Joseph (b. 1893–d. 1907), Josephine (b. 1895–d. 1976) and Frances Victoria (b. 1901–d. 1989).  Josephina died at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Dunedin on 10 November 1955 aged 93 and is buried at the Mataura Cemetery.

Maria Szczepanski (nee Grenc) and Rose Frances Chittock (nee Szczepanski), Catholic Block 48 Plot 12 at Gore Cemetery

John and Josephine Rejeski (nee Szczepanka), Block M Plot 4 at Mataura Cemetery


Pobόg-Jaworowski, J. W, History of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand, ed. Warsaw; Chz “Ars Polonia.” 1990, pages 42 & 172.

Research Sources

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

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

Caversham Tall Boys, Patient Records, Dunedin Hocken Library.

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

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


Andersons Bay Cemetery – Jacob Szczeponski (1837-1914) – Dunedin City Council

Gore Cemetery – Maria Sczepanski (1834-1881) » Gore District Council (goredc.govt.nz)

Gore Cemetery – Rose Frances Chittock (1859-1884) » Gore District Council (goredc.govt.nz)

                                                                                                        Mataura Cemetery – Josephine Rejefsky (1861-1955) – Find A Grave Memorial


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2022)



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