Vera Farmiga

Farmiga in 2011, s_bukley /

Birth Name: Vera Ann Farmiga

Place of Birth: Clifton, New Jersey, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 6, 1973

Ethnicity: Ukrainian

Vera Farmiga is an American actress, director, and producer. Among her many roles are Up in the Air, The Conjuring, Orphan, The Many Saints of Newark, and Higher Ground (2011). She also directed the latter film.

She was born in Clifton, New Jersey, one of seven children of Ukrainian immigrants, Lubomyra (Spas), a schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga, a computer systems analyst. Her father was raised in Argentina, before moving to the U.S. Vera speaks fluent Ukrainian, her first language. Her sister is actress Taissa Farmiga, who is twenty one years her junior. Her cousin is artist Adriana Farmiga. Vera is married to musician Renn Hawkey, of industrial rock bany Deadsy, with whom she has two children.

Vera has said:

[My grandparents] went through hell, saw unimaginable things, stuff you shouldn’t have to bear. Then they eked it out for years after the war in displaced-persons camps in Germany until my grandmother got a job with the Americans, and things slowly started coming together for them. But I consider myself to be 100% Ukrainian-American. I went to Ukrainian Catholic school, all my extracurricular activities were within the Ukrainian community, I even became a professional Ukrainian folk dancer.

She is also a classically trained pianist.

She was raised in Irvington and then Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Her family converted from the Ukrainian Catholic Church to Pentecostalism.

Vera’s maternal grandfather was Theodor/Teodor Spas (the son of Alexander Spas and Anna Mycheilschyy). Teodor was born in Chorna, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine.

Vera’s maternal grandmother was named Nadia Peletenciw/Pletenciw (1925-2014; the daughter of Alexander Pletenciw and Anna). Nadia was born in Debaltseve, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union.


Genealogy of Vera Farmiga (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Obituary of Vera’s maternal grandmother, Nadia (Peletenciw/Pletenciw) Spas –


Curious about ethnicity

35 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    her eyes are beautiful

  2. andrew says:

    I believe this astonishing actress’ family may be considerd Ruthenian (Rusyn), considering they were members of the minority faith known as Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

    • Oaken05 says:

      I’m confused, too. First, nothing in the post mentions which of the Catholic churches in Ukraine her family belonged to (Greek Catholic was more popular with a tiny Roman Catholic minority). Also, I don’t see mention on this page of any location that would make her Rusyn. The only location mentioned is Debaltseve, and that city is located all the way across the country from the tiny Rusyn minority in the far west of the country.

  3. APS says:

    Her maternal grandmother Nadia was born in Ukrainian region were most population is ethnic Russian, and after that she even had a Russian surname. Accordingly it should be added, at her ethnicity here, at least “Ukrainian, possibly Russian”.

    • APS says:

      Sorry: “where” the most population…

    • follers says:

      Well, that seems speculative. How do you know “Pletenciw” is only a Russian surname?

      • APS says:

        But how do you know what “Spas” or “Farmiga” is originally ukrainian names? Its the same.
        But Nadia was born in region with mostly ethnic Russian population, her last name is end on -iw (iv, ev), like typical russian surnames, not ukrainian.
        Actually I didn’t find anybody with this surname “Peletenciw/Pletenciw”, but find a lot of people with lastname “PletencEW”, which is Russian. We have this facts and think its enough to write “possibly part Russian”.
        P.s. There is a lot of mistakes with Slavic (Eastern European) surnames. Vera’s great-grandmothers surname sound also so stupid “Mycheilschyy”, and i have no idea how it can be correct.

        • follers says:

          I don’t know it, but Vera Farmiga is described as of Ukrainian descent in articles, and has described herself as such, and genealogical information seems to support that. If she’s confirmed to have Russian ancestry, too, it should be listed, but I don’t think there’s strong evidence, just an ambiguous surname (especially since Eastern European ethnic groups can be tricky).

          BTW, I don’t know if it’s accurate here, but Wikipedia lists Debaltseve as having had a 64.4% ethnic Ukrainian population in 2001.

          • APS says:

            Yes, but if she didn’t say about it, it does not mean anything. We look at the facts, that the surname of her grandmother’s Russian. And I don’t think that Vera engaged in research of the origin of her family surnames. I’m not saying that her grandmother was 100% Russian. I know Croatian, who has absolutely typical Hungarian last name, he realizes that he has some Hungarian blood, but he does not know how many and don’t associate themselves with Hungary. The same situation in Russia, with Ukrainian surnames, and in the Ukraine with the Russian surnames. Because its typical for people of this countries be assimilated this each other.

        • kurious says:

          How very ironic it is that you think -iw or -iv name endings indicate Russian origin, because it is in fact the very thing that most indicates Ukrainian origin. Those spellings are used when transliterating Ukrainian names into the Roman alphabet because whereas in Russian there would be -ov or -ev, Ukrainian has an “i” sound (both written and pronounced) in the place where Russian has the “o” or “e,” and the “w” is used because Ukrainians pronounce the final “v” that way. In Russian, as you know, it would be pronounced as an “f” sound in this location.

          It sounds to me like you’re preying on the ignorance of most the respondents here to promote your ethnic chauvinism. She says she’s of Ukrainian descent and the evidence backs seems to back it up. That should be good enough.

          • OlenaElena says:

            Yep, iv, iw – is totally Ukrainian surname
            Debaltseve had even more ethnic Ukrainians before 1932-33 Famine….

        • OlenaElena says:

          Who told you that?
          Pletenciw IS not Russian surname at all, Its Ukrainian
          I am ethnic Russian born and leaving in Ukraine. SO)

  4. visokozen says:

    She looks a little turkish.

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