Kartzoff -Medal of Order of Australia – year 1977

If you enter the surname Kartzoff into Trove online library you will get about 18 entries on this surname in 1917. All were about General Kartzoff who was killed in 1917 in Russia.

Move forward to April 1930 and you will find the first entry on his son in Australia – Michael de Kartzoff, who became an outspoken citizen of Australia.

“No citizen can enjoy freedom in a democratic State unless he is willing to exercise his duties and obligations as a democrat.”

were his words in 1939.  Leonard Ward called Michael an “extreme extrovert” in 1981 Canberra Times article.

Michael Evgenyevich Kartzoff (Михаил Евгеньевич Карцов) was born on 27 February 1908/1911 in Kiev.

His father was the above mentioned General Evgeniy Petrovich Kartzov (01.02.1861 – 24.04.1917), who participated in World War I, received St George medal of 4th degree in 1915, but was brutally murdered in Riga in 1917. His corpse with a bullet through his head was found at the railway embankment 100 meters from the headquarters of the division. The killers have not been found.

His mother Elizaveta with a small child (Michael was 6 years old), left the country and travelled to Italy.  At first I could not find any info on his mother, but one clue after another revealed her identity.  She was born Elizaveta Mikhailovna Stukovenko (29.19.1876-1955), daughter of Mikhail Stukovenko and Olga Perosio.  Her ancestry explains the choice of country of migration.  There is a wonderful article written by one of the descendants on Perosio family in Russia (refer link below). Elizaveta later married Prince Nikolai Sayn Wittgenstein and died on Capri on 29.8.1955. This makes her Princess by marriage and not by birth as claimed by many Australian newspapers.

Michael’s youth was spent in Italy.  He had barely matriculated in Naples University when the Fascist National Party declared Italy’s Fascist state to be totalitarian.  He made a decision to leave Europe and arrived to Australia in 1926.

By the time World War II started Michael worked on land as a farmer, builder’s assistant, gold miner, was a well outspoken journalist and lecturer with hundreds of articles in Australian newspapers on issues which concerned him.  His ancestors’ military heritage was not forgotten either.  Four years before the war started he served as a member of NSW Lancers.  He enlisted for overseas service in early 1940 and went to Palestine and Syria. In May 1942 he was a regimental police sergeant of a 9th division A.I.F. battalion in Syria as a war correspondent. His knowledge of 5 languages became handy.  No wonder- his great-grandfather knew 12 languages.

Even so Michael claimed not be involved in politics he became a Soldiers’ Independent Candidate for Werriwa in 1943.  He took a special leave from service to contest the election and hitch-hiked more than 1500 miles in two days.

Upon his return from war Michael married and had the family.   Trove library has an amazing photograph of Michael and his fiancé.  Guess who was the best man?  Prince Michael Romanov himself.

His interest in Agriculture landed him a job by the Forestry Commission of New South Wales in 1940 (served in AIF during WWII ).   In 1946 he was appointed a seed collector and until 1953 travelled all over the State on seed collection and making ecological observations.  After holding many various positions in Forestry industry he retired in 1973 only to become a Mayor of Ku-ring-Gai Municipal Council in 1973/1974.  Later he became a consultant on the environment and on arboriculture.

In 1977 Michael Kartzoff was honored by Australia and received a Medal of Order of Australia for community service.  He died on 22 December 1987.

Russian ancestry

“Four hundred years of Cossacks behind me, old boy”

Michael Kartzoff used to say.  Now I know that he was talking about his maternal ancestors – Cossacks Zataevich.

Michael’s great-grandparents was an interesting combination of Italian blood and Cossacks traditions. The article prepared by a Russian descendant of Perosio family explains how an Italian Paolo Perosio came to Odessa and successfully settled in Russia. At the same time it mentions that Paolo’s son Nikolo (Nikolai) married Maria Zataevich (1824-1869) (Затаевич), a daughter of Cossack ataman and by some records chamberlain Zataevich.

Odessa archives should reveal the metrical documents on Perosio family.  Since Nikolo moved to St Petersburg,  I was able to locate 12 archival documents on Perosio in electronic database of St Petersburg archive.

 Maria Zataevich (1824-1869)was from Kiev and she married Nikolo Perosio in Kiev therefore metrical and marriage documents should be sourced from Ukrainian archives.

Military Historical archive in Moscow should have a file of Michael’s father since he was a General in Imperial army. This will reveal his birth place where one can continue the search. A website commemorated to World War I has a summary on his military service without mentioning his birth place.

Once again to be successful in Russian archives research, you need to know the exact places and dates.


Application for Naturalisation – KARTZOFF Michael Eugene born 27 February 1908 , NAA: A446, 1955/25436

1917 GENERAL ASSASSINATED. (1917, May 19). The Maitland Weekly Mercury (NSW : 1894 – 1931), , p. 14. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128040103

DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (1938, June 16).Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954) , , p. 11. Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133616993


THE SATURDAY PAGE (1981, July 11).The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), , p. 13. Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127051064

Peroio family



Russians in Italy



Source: Extracted from: Hall, N. (1978) Botanists of the eucalypts. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne


Photograph from “Bush fire bulletin”, Vol. 8 No. 12 (Summer, 1972) – Trove

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