Chapter 14. Other Ullians - Related or Not?


“John Ullian and Linda Ferraro:  Roots and Legacy   March 2018”





There are at least 3 separate families who are or have been in the U.S. with the very unusual Ullian surname: descendants of Catholic Italian John Ullian (the focus of this report) and his brother Romano; descendants of Jewish Ukrainian Samuel and Sara Bella; and descendants of Catholic Swiss Valentine Ollin/Ullian. Other Ullians who are probably related to our family still live in Italy and South America, and probably elsewhere, but we have no evidence of such relationships. We encourage contacting us with additional information.



Ullian is a quite unusual surname. A study by the U.S. Census Bureau (Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000) shows that it appeared only 116 times in the 2000 U.S. Federal Census ( – viewed 8 Dec 2017). The surname Ullian and its variants exist in the U.S., in Italy, and in other areas into which Italians immigrated, including South America.


There are families in the U.S. with the surname Ullian who we know are related to our family, families who are not related, and others about whom we are uncertain of our relationship.


Perhaps the most widely-known Ullians, though, were fictional. The Ullians in Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 5, episode 12 (The Violators) were a humanoid species interested in serving as historians and archivists by collecting human memories telepathically. One of them got into trouble on the U.S.S. Enterprise by mis-using his powers. Unfortunately (perhaps), the authors of this report on John Ullian and Linda Ferraro have no telepathic powers. We are, of course, curious about how and why this name was used in Star Trek for a species with those particular powers.



Jewish Ukrainian Ullians


We are not related. In a phone call from Rev. James C. Ullian to John A. Ullian Jr. in 1990, we both learned that we did not share the same ancestry. John informed James of his Catholic Italian ancestry, and James informed John of his Jewish Ukrainian ancestry. We were both surprised to learn that not all of us with the very unusual Ullian surname were related. According to James, who was born into a Jewish family but became a United Methodist minister [but that’s another story…], his grandfather Jacob, the son of Samuel and Sara Bella Ulansky, came to the U.S. in 1905. Jacob’s parents and other family members did likewise at some point. After coming to the U.S. from Ukraine, the Ulansky families adopted the Ullian surname. They settled initially in Massachusetts and New York, and have since moved a great deal, mostly on the east coast – many to Florida, but also to North Carolina, Georgia, Connecticut, and probably elsewhere. This family seems to outnumber our Italian Ullians. James has done a great deal of research on his Ullian family and invites anyone interested to contact him at or 757-650-4266.






Jacob Ullian, Son of Sarah Bella and Samuel Ulansky.

Born 12 Dec 1882 in Klintsy, Ukraine.

Died 4 Mar 1951 in Freeport, Nassau, New York.



Swiss Ullians


There were a few other Ullians in the U. S. when John arrived, in addition to his brothers Antonio and Romano. We are not certain about the relationship of those individuals to John, and thus to us. We have no evidence that John knew of them. We would be grateful for any additional information the reader can provide.


In October 2001, John A. Ullian Jr. exchanged emails with James Roberts about a possible family connection. Unfortunately, we lack current contact information for Mr. Roberts. In one email, Mr. Roberts wrote the following: “My connection to the Ullian family is as follows: My grandfather’s mother was Eva Ullian, born February 1, 1894 in Dubuque, Iowa, she married and moved to Canada. Her father was a Henry Ullian, born December 1868 in Novan, Iowa. He was the son of George Ullian, born in Bern, Switzerland, and an Irish woman named Katherine James. Family history indicates that his father was an Italian sailor, able to speak Spanish and French, eventually settling in Switzerland.”


Henry Ullian is said to have been born in Novan IA in 1868; there doesn’t appear to be a Novan in Iowa, but there had been a Navan (whose post office was discontinued sometime prior to 1918) in Winnieshick County, about 26 miles southwest of Decorah, and very roughly 200 miles north of Centerville IA.


George, Henry’s father, was born in Bern, Switzerland, and arrived in New Orleans aboard the S.S. Pontiac with his father, Valentine Ollin. Valentine’s wife and George’s mother, Christine Rossetag, died at sea during the crossing. Valentine Ollin’s Ullian descendants were spread over time in North America from Tennessee to Iowa to Alberta and to British Columbia. The information on Valentine’s descendants on the following pages provides what we know of this family’s genealogy.


Are the “Swiss Ullians” related to our family? We cannot be certain, but it is a possibility. The spelling of this family’s surname on documents was primarily Ullian in the U.S. If the family history reported by James Roberts (that George’s father was an Italian sailor who settled in Switzerland) is accurate, a connection to Italy is established. The family was Roman Catholic, another connection to Italy and our family. The name Valentine is one that appears in our family. Like our John and his brothers Antonio and (Valentino) Romano, Valentine Ollin’s sons George and Valentine went to Iowa, where son Valentine was a “coal digger” in 1870. The reader may wonder about a sailor coming from the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, but the area of John’s birth is only about 60 miles northwest of Venice, once a major sea-power. Further research in Italy and Switzerland might verify a connection.



Other Ullians in the U.S.


In addition to the Ullians in our family, and those we believe to be descendants of the Ukrainian Ulansky/Ullians or the Swiss Ullians, we sometimes see references to Ullians in the U.S. that we cannot place in a family. Further research aimed at identifying all members of these 3 “Ullian” families would assist in determining whether these individuals have different ancestors than those we have identified.



Other Ullians in Italy and Elsewhere


We know that there are Ullians still in Italy, as well as in South America (including Brazil and Argentina). We believe that we are related to them, but have no evidence. Again, further research would be beneficial.



Contact Us!


We strongly encourage Ullians from any of these families to contact us with information on their family.

Linda Wysocki –

John A. Ullian Jr. –

David Ullian Larson –




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