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Smoliński Family


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Smoliński, Jan, Farm Labourer, (1844-1922) Stanisławie, the son of Maciej Klimek (1819-1899) & Anna Smolińska (1820-1882), married on 17 October 1869 at Church of the Holy Trinity, Lubiszewo-Tzcewskie to Franciszka (Fanny) Malinowska (1850-1913) Kolincz, the daughter of Tomasz Malinowski (1807) & Katarzyna Rekowska (1815). Family—Małźewo; Jakob (1870-1870) & Maryanna Rozalia (1871-1879), Rukosin; Jan (1874-1905), Jozef (1876-1878) & Małźewo; Franciszek (1878-1940). The family organized to go to America with Franciszka’s sister, but their daughter Maria fell sick and died on 14 July 1879. The family left Małźewo and sailed for Clyde, Scotland, which was said to have been a rather nerve racking journey as they encountered 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 aboard the Marlborough on 23 October 1879, arriving at Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 7 January 1880.


Johan Snr, Johan Jnr, Francisca (nee Malinowska), Frank & Martha Smolenski Ca. 1882 Waihola. Kindly provided by Patricia Clark.

The family travelled south to Waihola where Johann’s parents, sister & brothers were residing. It is believed the family lived in a tent close to the lake side where Fanny gave birth to Martha (1881-1951). In November of 1883, the family settled in Greytown where Johann worked as a farm labourer and had the rest of the family—August (1883-1967), Minnie (1885-1887), Rosie (1888-1972), James (1890-1969), Annie (1892-1898), & William (1895-1980). Johann purchased section 20 of block six on 14 October 1887 where he built a wooden cottage. He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen on 14 November 1893. Johan 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 pinnicle of the community who befriended anyone.  He was always with a helping hand and a favourite with the youth. Fanny died at Dunedin on 18 March 1913 aged 62 and Johann died at Dunedin on 3 October 1922 aged 78. Both are buried at the Allanton Cemetery.

Smolenski Cottage, Allanton. Kindly provided by Patricia Clark.

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. The celebration was held at the Sacred Heart Church and followed by a picnic in which 150 family members reunited.

John Jr. Smoliński married on 19 July 1899 at Church of the Sacred Heart, Allanton to Annie Maria Black in a double wedding ceremony. Family—Dunedin; John Joseph (1901-1968) & Nellie May (1903-1972). John, a labourer, died at Allanton on 30 December 1905 aged 31 and is buried at the Allanton Cemetery.

Frank Smoliński worked as a labourer for Kirkland’s at Allanton. He married on 13 February 1901 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Dunedin to Margaret Brennan. Family—East Taieri; Francis Joseph (1902-1930), Dunedin; William (1904-1964), Mary (1907-1992) & John Augustine (1907-2004). Frank died on 4 March 1940 aged 61 at Sawyers Bay and is buried at the Port Chalmers Cemetery.

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. Ca 1910 Kindly provided by Patricia Clark

Henry Frank (Mikey) Michalski

US Marine, Henry Frank (Mikey) Michalski. Kindly provided by Patricia Clark.

Patricia Clark with “Mikey”

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 Johanna’s parents, Thomas aged 75 & Catharina 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 and still has it in her possession today.  Now in her eighties, she has never forgotten Henry (nicknamed “Mikey”) & his visit. Sadly Henry lost his life on 25 June 1944 at the Marshall Islands.  Henry was the son of Frank & 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.

Original Smolenski Grave

Original grave of John & Francesca Smolenski, Catholic Plot 45, Allanton Cemetery Kindly proviided by Patricia Clark

John Smolenski, Catholic Plot 40, 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 & Francesca Smolenski, Catholic Block Plot 45, Allanton Cemetery


Frank & Margaret Smolenski, Block DB. Plot 8, 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 (2021)