Chapter 5. 1908 to 1917: The Early Years

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




John and Romano worked as coal miners in the Centerville area until at least 1915, leaving in 1916 or 1917 to move to Illinois. Two of    Romano’s children Pauline and Romey were born in Iowa.


Romano Ullian and his wife Teresa Soardi Ullian

John’s brother Romano was the fourth child of Antonio Francesco Ullian and Maria Mascarello. Born in Mason Vicentino, Vicenza, Veneto, Italy on 23 Jun 1879, he was 11 years older than John. While in the U.S. he was typically known as Romano Ullian, the name he used did vary: he was Romano Valentino Ullian in church records in Italy and on his Petition for Naturalization in the U.S.; Valentino Ulian on his Italian Army discharge certificate; and Valentino Ulliani on the ship manifest for his voyage to the U.S.

Romano had served in the Italian Army prior to coming to the U.S. He is the "Ulian Valentino" named in a discharge certificate from the Italian Army as a soldier (serial number 10232) in the 62nd Company, 6th Alpine Regiment, Vicenza. The certificate was signed 14 Sept 1901 at Verona. A photocopy of the certificate was sent to John’s son Gino by Romano’s grandson Tony [Anthony Stuart Ullian] in about 1999, identifying the certificate as his grandfather’s.

Valentino/Romano Ullian's Certificate and Discharge from the Italian Army


Five years after his Army discharge Romano sailed on the S.S. La Provence from Havre, France, on 15 Nov 1906 and arrived at the Port of New York on 24 Nov 1906, according to the ship’s manifest and his Petition for Naturalization filed 8 Dec 1926. The ship’s manifest for that voyage lists him as Valentino Ulliani, and shows his birthplace as Lusiana, Italy. Lusiana, Vicenza, Veneto, Italy is about 8 miles from Fara Vicentino, which church records and his Petition for Naturalization show as his birthplace. He was a 27-year-old laborer going from his home in Lusiana to join his brother Antonio, PO Box 157 in Chesington [Kensington] Illinois.



Valentino Ulliani [Romano Ullian] Is LISTED ON THIRD LINES of the Ship Manifest.
He arrived from Havre, France on 15 Nov 1906 Onboard the
S. S. La Provence


About eighteen months after Romano arrived, his wife Teresa Soardi sailed with their 22-month-old son Antonio on the S.S. La Savoie from Havre on 18 Apr 1908 and arrived in New York on 28 Apr 1908. Thus Romano left Italy when his first-born son was 4 months old. Teresa was at the time a 25-year-old married housekeeper living in Lusiana. Her nearest relative in Italy was her mother, Angela Novello. She was going to join her husband Romano Ullian of RFD 5, Centerville, Iowa. Teresa was 5’4" tall, light complexion, with auburn hair/eyes, and had $16 with her. Antonio also had a light complexion and auburn hair/eyes. Both were born in Lusiana, according to the manifest.



Teresa Soardi and Antonio Ullian Are LISTED ON LINES 29 and 30 of the Ship Manifest.
They arrived from Havre, France Onboard the
S.S. La Savoie [from]


Sometime between his arrival in the U.S. in November 1906, and his wife’s departure from Havre in April 1908, Romano had arrived at the coal fields of Centerville IA instead of, or perhaps after spending some time in the industries of, Kensington IL.

Romano and Teresa had four children:

            Anthony Stuart – born 6 Jun 1906 in Lusiana, died 9 May 2003 in Grants Pass, Josephine, Oregon
            Pauline – born about 1909 in Iowa;
            Romano Jr.
[always called Romey] – born 18 Jan 1911 in Centerville, died 24 Nov 1998 in Palmdale, Los Angeles, California; and
            John Robert – born 18 Jun 1920 in Illinois, died 6 Apr 1999 in Anniston, Calhoun, Alabama.

The 1910 Federal Census lists the surname of the family as "Olyons" or "Olyono." At their enumeration on 18 Apr 1910 Romano was a 30-year-old coal miner, and his wife Teresa was 21 years old. They had been married for 4 years, and they and their parents were both born in Italy. Teresa could read and write. They had two children: 4-year-old son Tony, born in Italy, and 1-year-old daughter Ryalice [Pauline], born in Iowa. They lived in Vermillion Township, which surrounds Centerville, Appanoose, Iowa. John was not, to our knowledge, enumerated in that census – we have come to believe that he had a knack for eluding census-takers!

Romano Ullian and Family in the 1910 Federal Census, Lines 69 through 71


The 7 Oct 1910 issue of the Semi Weekly Iowegian newspaper in Centerville indicated that C. E. Campbell had transferred a real estate parcel to "Romony" Ullian for $125.00, filed October 2.


Semi Weekly Iowegian [Centerville IA] 7 Oct 1910

Romano was included in lists of individuals who had unclaimed letters at the Centerville Post Office in the 19 Apr 1909 Centerville Daily Citizen, the 20 Apr 1909 Semi Weekly Iowegian, and the 17 Feb 1911 Semi Weekly Iowegian.

John Ullian and Romano’s Family

The 1915 Iowa State Census showed that John and his brother Romano (and Romano’s family) were living in Vermillion Township, Centerville Post Office, Appanoose County. Their surname was written as "Ulina" or "Ulino." This state census indicated that John was 19 years old [he was actually about 25], a Catholic, single, a miner who could read/write, was born in Italy (as were his parents), was unemployed with no earnings in 1914, had been in the U.S. for 7 years, and had submitted his first papers for naturalization. We have no idea why John had no earnings in 1914.



John Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


Romme [Romano] was a 35-year-old who earned $400 in 1914 as a coal miner, a Catholic who was born (as were his parents) in Italy, who could not read or write, and who had been in the U.S. 9 years and in Iowa 7 years. [If accurate, we assume that he may have been with his brother Antonio in Kensington IL for the 2 years he was in the U.S. but not in Iowa.] Romano owned his own house, valued at $1,000. Teresa was a 30-year-old Catholic who could not read or write, was born (as were her parents) in Italy, and had been in the U.S. for 7 years. Their son Tona [Anthony S.] was 9 years old, born in Italy, spent 6 months at public school in 1914, could read and write, and had been in the U.S. for 7 years. Their son Romme [Romey] was a 4-year-old born in Iowa. Their daughter Arpalice [Pauline] was 5 years old, born in Iowa, spent 8 months at public school in 1914, and had lived 4 years in Iowa. [Since she was born in Iowa and there was no evidence of the family moving out of state, we believe that the time in Iowa and age should have been similar.]

Romano Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


Teresa Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


Anthony Stuart Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


Pauline Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


Romey Ullian in the 1915 Iowa State Census [From]


A quote from a letter sent by Romano’s son Anthony S. in about 1999 to John’s son Gino showed John’s connection with Romano’s family in their earliest years in the U.S.: "I can remember way back to Iowa days when I first became conscious of the world around me. Your father was a member of our family for many years, moving with us wherever we moved to." [See the letter in Appendix D.]

John Ullian’s Intention to Become a U.S. Citizen

On 28 Mar 1914 John signed and submitted his Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen at the District Court of Appanoose County, Iowa. He was a 23-year-old miner, 5’8" [he had evidently grown 5" since he was listed as 5’3" on the ship manifest in 1908!], 160 pounds; white, of dark complexion; brown hair/eyes; no distinctive marks. He was born in Salcedo, Italy, on 6 Sept 1890. Address at the time was RR5, Centerville, Iowa. Emigrated from Havre, France, on the vessel S.S. Chicago, arriving 8 Dec 1908 in New York.



John Ullian’s Declaration of Intention for Naturalization [From]

The Move to the Chicago Area

From Iowa, Romano moved his family to Highland Park, Lake, Illinois. On his Petition for Naturalization Romano indicated that he had lived continuously in Illinois since 28 Jul 1917 – so that was evidently the date he and his family moved to Highland Park. Romano’s obituary indicates that at his death in 1939 he had lived 23 years in Highland Park. Teresa’s [who entered the U.S. in April 1908.] obituary in 1929 said she had lived in Iowa 8 years before coming to Highland Park. These obituaries conflict slightly with Romano’s Petition statement, since the obituaries would indicate that they came to Highland Park in 1916.

We are assuming that John came with them to Highland Park at that time, given what Romano’s son Anthony wrote to John’s son Gino (above) about John’s moving with them whenever they moved. John’s Petition for Naturalization, however, stated that he had lived continuously in Illinois since 5 Jun 1910. This was obviously incorrect. He had signed his Declaration of Intention (for naturalization) on 28 Mar 1914 in Iowa, and was listed in the 1915 Iowa Census.

By 5 Jun 1917, however, John was definitely in the Chicago area. His draft registration card signed on that day showed him living at 973 Linden Ave., Winnetka, Illinois. It stated that he was born 6 Sep 1890 in Salcedo, Italy. His occupation was landscape gardening, in his own employ, in Hubbard Woods [a neighborhood in Winnetka].


John Ullian’s Draft Registration - front [From]


John Ullian’s Draft Registration - back [From]

Antonio Ullian

The ship manifests for both John’s and Romano’s voyages to the U.S. indicate that they were going to be with their brother Antonio. Romano was going to join him in Kensington IL in 1906, John was going to join him in Centerville IA in 1908. What else do we know about this Antonio?

We know that John and Romano both came to Centerville and worked as miners there. Excluding John’s indicating that he intended to joining Antonio in Centerville, we have only one piece of evidence that Antonio may have been in Centerville: the Semi Weekly Iowegian newspaper of 20 Mar 1908 includes Antonio Ulian in their list of individuals having unclaimed letters at the Centerville Post Office. [We are assuming that this Antonio is John and Romano’s brother, not Romano and Therese Soardi’s 2-year-old son who wouldn’t arrive in Centerville for another month.]

We are also uncertain which brother they were referring to as Antonio. It is probably Antonio Angelo Ullian, born 16 Oct 1875. But their brother Angelo Antonio Ullian, born 12 Apr 1877, should not be ruled out. A passenger manifest for the S.S. La Touraine that left Havre 30 Jun 1906 and arrived in New York 7 Jul 1906 lists as a steerage passenger Angelo Antonio Ulian, a 22-year-old married male destined for Kenington [Kensington] Illinois to join his cousin Giuseppi Misaglia. We cannot decipher from the manifest the name of the last place in Italy he had lived prior to the trip. At 22 years of age in 1906, this Angelo Antonio would have been born in 1884 (assuming the age given on the manifest is accurate), not the 1877 of John’s brother of the same name or the 1875 of his brother Antonio Angelo.

The connection as cousins between Angelo Anthony Ullian and Giuseppi Misaglia, the existence of Misaglia/Missaglia families in the small towns where John and his ancestors had lived, and the destinations of Centerville and Kensington all keep us interested in Angelo Antonio as possibly the brother John and Romano were joining – or perhaps the fourth Ullian relative to come to the U.S. The Misaglia/Missaglia surname comes up later, on the manifest of the S.S. Chicago on which John sailed in 1908. There were at least two others on that voyage who were, like John, from the province of Vicenza with a destination of "Centreville." Giovanni Baggio, a 28-year-old male laborer born in San Pietro [about 35 miles from Salcedo], whose relative in Italy was Terresa Misaglio, was joining his brother Giuseppi Baggio. Antonia Rossi, a 20-year-old female laborer from Vicensa [Vicenza], born in Crosova, whose relative in Italy was her father Antonio, was joining Giuseppi Biaggio [Baggio?], of PO Box 5 in Centerville. Any relationship between a Ullian and a Misaglia/Missaglia or a Baggio in Italy bears further research to help us better understand John and Romano’s brother Antonio.

Church records indicate that Angelo Antonio Ullian died in Italy on 10 Mar 1951. We have no information on Antonio Angelo’s death.

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