The Family Kowalewski

The name Kowalewski has its origin from a Polish place name of Kowale, Kowalewo or Kowalewice. The name Kowal in the Polish language means blacksmith.

The native country of the Kowalewskis is Strzelniken in Ostpreußen. (east Prussia). This surname is found with many families that are all related, because the names of the family relatives appear as godfathers at the birth of the children many times. For the time period reviewed, there are 3 families with the surname Kowalewski.

Johann Kowalewski, the great-great-grandfather of Gisela is by profession an Eigenkätner.(a Farmworker) born in 1820 and died on 9-8-1885 in Strzelniken. He married Maria Kopka in 1845 and she was born on 11-2-1827 in Weißenburg.

At first they lived in Weißenburg, the hometown of Maria Kopka. Her 1st son Michael Kowalewski was born into Weißenburg on 7-2-1846 and the second son, Johann, was born 1851 in Strzelniken.  One can draw the conclusion from this, Johann Kowalewski with his wife Maria Kopka went back into his native village Strzelniken. After the birth of the 1st son, the second one, Johann  died at the age of 1 year in Strzelniken, and the father Johann Kowalewski also died in Strzelniken on 9-8-1885. After searching the church registers, no more children were found for Johann and Maria Kowalewski.

  Gisela’s great-grandfather, Michael Kowalewski, married Lowisa Brom on 11-20-1874. She was born on 7-9-1850. By profession he was an Eigenkätner, that is an farmworker.. We have searched for brothers and sisters of Michael in the "Protestant Central Archives in Berlin". We found four children including the well-known Ludwig Kowalewski. Gisela remembers an uncle who has emigrated to America and returned for a visit to the old native country. We haven't found the descendants of this American emigrate.

Ludwig Kowalewski, the grandfather of Gisela, married  in Altenessen on 12-9-1904, to Auguste Giesa of Groß-Spalienen in Ostpreußen. Ludwig emigrated in 1900 from east Prussia to the Ruhr district. After finding work in the mining industry, he married Auguste in 1904.

Ludwig's mother died in East Prussia on 9-14-1907. His father, Michael Kowalewski moved to the Ruhr district at 61 years old. Michael died, at the age of 76 years old, on 6-17-1922 in Essen-Katernberg. We do not know if  he worked here after moving to the Ruhr district.

Ludwig and Auguste Kowalewski had together 10 children. The oldest son, Friedrich Ernst Walling, is the father of Gisela. When Anna Regina Fuhs wanted to marry in 1928 to Friedrich, Anna’s father Hermann Fuhs had to think over, giving his daughter to a man who bore a Polish name. The family Kowalewski decided to change their surename. The change of the last name was made on 10. February 1928.The new surename name became Walling.

The change of the surname was made about 3 months before the marriage of Friedrich Ernst Kowalewski (that now became Walling) and Anna Regina Fuhs. This story is handed us down from Gisela's mother. At the beginning of the 20th century, prejudices were towards immigrants. During this period, it is certain that many from the east changed their names to a German surname.