Ullman Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Ullman Meaning

The surname Ullmann in Germany derives from a pet form of the personal
name Ulrich (comprised of the elements odal meaning “prosperity” or
“fortune” and ric meaning
“power”). The name was borne by a 10th century saint, the bishop
of Augsburg, whose fame contributed much to the popularity of the name
in medieval times. Ullmann can also be Jewish and here it
probably describe someone from the city of Ulm in
And there were also Ulmans and Ulmens who came from Ulmen in the

Ullman is the main spelling in English. In addition to Ullmann,
the spellings of Ulman, Ulmann and Uhlmann are also found.

Ullman Resources on

Ullman Ancestry

found in Austria, the Ullmann name is most prevalent today in Saxony in
southern Germany. The numbers are:

  • an estimated 15,000 Ullmanns in Germany
  • a further 3-4,000 in Austria and Hungary
  • and a smattering in Sweden and Norway.

Ullmanns were Jewish. An
Ullmann family from Furth
near Nuremburg in Germany became
prominent as
rabbis and business leaders in 19th century Hungary.

The name was brought to English-speaking
lands through emigration.

. An early Ullman family in England began with the
Rev. J.F. Ullman, a German Presbyterian missionary in India. His
son William, born there in 1852, had gone out to Australia as a
minister in 1880 but, due to financial difficulties, left for London
two years later.

Two Ullmans came to England at the time of World War Two under
somewhat different circumstances:

  • Walter Ullmann was a Jewish scholar from Austria who fled his
    homeland as the Nazis advanced. He settled in England and became
    a recognized authority on medieval political thought.
  • Antony Ullman was a Polish soldier evacuated from Dunkirk in
    1940. His daughter is the singer and TV actress and comedienne
    Tracey Ullman.

America. The Ullman named
first appeared in Pennsylvania censuses in 1732. Philip Ullman
came to Phoenixville in Chester county in the early 1800’s. Mayer
Ullman was recorded as a grocery store owner and tavern keeper in
Philadelphia in the 1810’s.

Samuel Ullman
left Germany with his parents for America in 1850,
settling first in Mississippi and later moving to Birmingham,
Alabama. He is
best known today for his poem Youth which was a favorite of
General MacArthur. The poem was on the wall of his office in
Tokyo when he
became Supreme Allied Commander in Japan. In addition, he often
from the poem in his speeches, leading to it becoming better known in
Japan than in America.

Some of the other Ullmanns/Ullmans coming to America in the 1800’s were:

  • Lazarus Ullmann and his wife Lydia who had immigrated to
    Pennsylvania from Baden in Germany in 1830. Their son Charles Ullman
    friends with the Fairbanks, a Southern plantation owning family, and
    his son adopted the Fairbanks name. This son was the silent movie
    star, Douglas Fairbanks.
  • Peter and
    John Ulmen
    who came to Minnesota from the Rhineland in
    Germany in the 1850’s
  • Harry Ulman who had come to Chicago in the 1850’s and started a
    tobacco store with Max Newman in Peoria, Illinois in 1859. The
    business of Newman & Ullman still flourishes in Illinois.
  • Bernhard Ulmann who first started selling napkins, doilies and
    handkerchiefs with silk-screen embroidery designs from a pushcart on
    the streets of New York in the 1860’s. He later sold from his own
    store, Bucilla, on Long Island City. His daughter Doris became a
    well-known photographer in the 1930’s.
  • Anton Ullmann who disembarked from the Hermann
    in 1883 in Maryland and purchased a tobacco farm in
    Charles county.
  • and Johann and Augusta Ullmann who came on the Gellert in 1884 and made their way
    to Hartford, Connecticut. The next year they acquired Squire’s
    tavern and farm in Barkhamsted which was to stay with the family until
    the 1920’s. Sadly John Ullmann was tossed to death
    by an
    enraged bull in 1924.

Albert Ulmann was born to a Jewish family in New York in 1861. He became a banker in the city. However, he is best remembered for his writings on New York and Jews in the city for magazines and journals in the 1890’s and early 1900’s.

Canada.  There were Ullmans in Pennsylvania who were Loyalist during the Revolutionary War and departed for Canada.  Ben Ullmann came to operate a number of farms near Niagara by Lake Ontario. Philip and Margaret Ullman arrived in the Niagara area somewhat later from Germany.

Australia.  German immigration to Brisbane in the 1850’s brought some Ullmanns with them. They were spelt Uhlmann, however, and pronounced Yuleman.


Select Ullman Miscellany 

Ullmanns in Hungary.  Shalom Charif
Ullmann, born in Furth in Germany in 1755, flourished in Hungary in the
early 19th century as a Talmudist.  Of his three sons:

  • his
    son, known as Shalom Ḥarif
    because of his sharp mind, served as rabbi
    of Ansbach and later established an important yeshiva
    in the Burgenland
    community of Lakenbach.
  • his
    next son Avraham served as rabbi of
    Tapolcsány and Szabadka before succeeding his father as yeshiva head
    founding a dynasty of rabbis in Lakenbach.
  • the
    third son, Shelomoh Zalman, served as rabbi of Makó at a time of
    turbulent religious struggles in the community. His son Isidor was a
    merchant and lay leader of Hungarian Orthodoxy
    who settled in Oradea
    where he and his sons collected an important
    library (today housed at the Widener Library of Harvard University).

later descendants made their mark as
business leaders in the Hungarian economy.
The most prominent line ran through Karoly Ullmann, who appeared
Gyula Benczur’s well-known late 19th century portrait of Hungarian
leaders; to his son Sandor, a lawyer and journalist in Budapest; and to
his son
Adolf, one of the outstanding figures in Hungary’s economy in the early

Ulmens from the Rhineland.  One family
line began with Peter and Johanna Ulmen who were married in the
Rhineland in
the late 1680’s.  It was two brothers,
Peter and John, born there in the early 1800’s not far from the town of
who brought their families to Minnesota in America.
They apparently left Germany at different
times in the 1850’s, but they all settled there, together with their
sister Christina, in a place called Mankado.

Samuel Ullman and Youth.  “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks,
red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep
of life.”

words, written by
Samuel Ullman of Birmingham, Alabama in the 1910’s at the age of
have been
credited with inspiring a generation of Japanese citizens, businessmen,
government leaders who were faced with rebuilding their country after
World War II.

Charles Ullman and Douglas Fairbanks.  Charles Ullman
was the fourth child in a relatively well-to-do Jewish family of six sons and
four daughters.  Charles’ parents,
Lazarus and Lydia, had immigrated to the US in 1830 from Baden in
Charles studied law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1856.  Subsequently he founded the U.S. Law
Association, a forerunner of the American Bar Association.

met Ella Marsh after she had married
his friend and client John Fairbanks, a wealthy New Orleans sugar mill
plantation owner.  Shortly afterwards
John died of tuberculosis.  Ella, born
into a wealthy southern Catholic family, was overprotected and knew
little of
her husband’s business.  Consequently,
she was swindled out of her fortune by her husband’s partners.  Even the efforts of Charles Ullman, acting on
her behalf, failed to regain any of the family fortune for her.  Distraught and lonely, she met and married a
courtly Georgian, Edward Wilcox, who turned out to be an alcoholic.  After they had a son, Norris, she divorced
Wilcox and Charles acted as her lawyer in the suit.

pretty southern belle soon became
romantically involved with Charles and she agreed to move to Denver
with him to
pursue mining investments. They married in Denver in 1881 had a child,
in 1882 and then a second son, Douglas, a year later.
But Charles succumbed to drink himself and abandoned
the family when Douglas was five years old.
He and his older brother Robert were brought up by their mother.  She gave them the family name Fairbanks,
after her first husband.

Fairbanks was born into the Jewish faith, but was taught at an early
age to
conceal this fact because his family considered it embarrassing.   By the time he was just eleven years
old, he
was acting in and around the Denver area.
At the age of seventeen he departed for New York and made his
debut in 1902.

The Death of John Ullmann.  The following article, entitled Tragedy at Ullmann Farm, appeared in the March 24, 1924 edition of Winsted Citizen:

“Tossed into the air by an enraged bull on this farm in Pleasant Valley late yesterday
afternoon, John W. Ullmann, 78, a well-known and prosperous farmer and a
resident of the town of Berkhamsted for 38 years, suffered a broken neck when
he landed, resulting in his almost instant death.  His
granddaughter Bertha had suffered a
painful laceration of one leg when attacked by the same bull.  The two-year old Guernsey bull has been
at the Ullman farm.

animal had been tied and chained in a stall in the barn and Mr.
grandson, John Schofield, 18, was preparing to let it out.
He had unfastened the rope and was attempting
to take off the chain when the grandfather who had been standing at a
distance in the barn, became impatient and started to aid him.  He had just reached the animal when the chain
became unfastened and the animal dashed for Mr. Ullmann and threw him
in the
air as it made a mad rush for the door.

Schofield retained his presence of mind and closed the door
the animal from coming back and goring the prone body of his

Liv Ullmann, Actress.  Liv Ullmann began her acting career on the Norwegian stage in the mid 1950’s.  She continued to act in the theatre for most
of her career, and became noted for her portrayal of Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

She became wider known once she started to
work with the eminent Swedish film director Ingrid Bergman. She went on to act to significant acclaim in ten
of his most admired films, including Persona
in 1966, The Passion of Anna in 1969,
Cries and Whispers in 1972 and Autumn
in 1974.


Select Ullman Names

  • Douglas Ullman was the original name of the American film actor Douglas Fairbanks.
  • Liv Ullmann is a Norwegian
    actress who has performed extensively in America and lives in Florida.
  • Tracey Ullman is the British comedienne and stage actress who found success in America.


Select Ullman Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Manchester)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Ullman and Like Surnames 

The first wave of German immigration into America came in the early 1700’s from the Rhine Palatine and Switzerland.  They were fleeing religious persecution at home.  Most ended up in Pennsylvania, bringing their Mennonite church with them.  Some went to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.  Their Germanic names often changed under English rule to English-style names.  Thus Fischer became Fisher, Schneider Snyder, Hubner Hoover and so forth.

The reasons for immigration were different in the 19th century – in search of a better life, sometimes to avoid the draft.  They came from all German states and went not just to Pennsylvania but all over as the middle and west of the country was opening up.  And they brought German skills with them, notably beer-making.

Here are some of the notable German surnames in America that you can check out.




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