In my absence from writing here, I have immersed myself in researching about other families which you can all read about here and here. Research has given me the opportunity to learn about the rich legacy of other Filipino families. It has made me more familiar with surnames — it geo-origins and etymologies. It has given me insight on the varying naming conventions used in each time period.
Through my readings, questions have been ricocheting in my head: In the name “Juan Anderson Hernandez”, was Anderson his mother’s surname (as oral histories insist)? Or was Anderson a second given name?
1. Was Anderson his mother’s surname? Juan was born in 1885 during the Spanish era. During this time, he may have been referred to as Juan Hernandez y Anderson (although I have not found his name in a document in this configuration). His mother was supposedly a woman of American-Mexican descent. Given the fact that Juan’s birthplace, the land-locked Lipa, is only a few of kilometers north east of Batangas City (which used to lie along the route of the Spanish Galleon Trade from Mexico) this story is plausible. His mother would have been called Macaria Anderson before she married Herman Hernandez — but she was only referred to by her married name in her son’s death certificate.
2. Was Anderson his second given name? A good example of this practice is our Commonwealth president, Manuel Luis Molina Quezon, who has been referred to in history as ML Quezon — without his mother’s surname. When Juan entered military service, his superiors would have been Americans and they would have used naming conventions familiar to them. Another hypothesis I have been working on is that he adapted the second name Anderson to differentiate him from others. His name Juan Hernandez is, sadly, very common in that region (I have found hundreds in Lipa and neighboring towns). Anderson might be the surname of an American officer he was indebted to early in his military career.
Let me masticate on these as my search continues. If my dearest Magno and Hernandez relatives can provide more concrete proof on the origins of Juan and his brother Nicolas, do let me know. :)
Several weeks back, my aunt clued me in on the fact that my Lolo Juan worked with Jorge Vargas (how closely, I am unsure) in the administration of Manuel Quezon in the 1930s. Jorge Vargas was the executive secretary of President Quezon, and eventually, the head of the Philippine Commission after the country was invaded by the Japanese forces in World War II. After a bit of googling, I learned that Jorge Vargas’ private papers and photographs are housed at the Vargas Museum in UP, Diliman. I sent an email to the Librarian, Maricel Raynesa, and we set a date to view the collection. The gracious Ms. Raynesa even asked her student interns to start reading through the volumes to look for any mention of Juan Anderson Hernandez, which facilitated the search.
This week, my Tita Inday, my cousin Nota (an anthropologist from ADMU) and I poured through the delicate volumes of Vargas’ “scrapbook” — which had newspaper clippings, protocol papers, theater tickets, notes from Japanese administrators, sweepstakes tickets, among others. Amazingly enough, from this 70-year old goldmine, we were able to reconstruct a part of my great-grandfather’s professional life:
1. In July 1938, Juan Anderson Hernandez was among 198 officers of the Philippine Army who were transferred to the newly-formed Philippine Constabulary, the national police organization. Captain Hernandez’ responsibility was “commanding headquarters troops”. Considering the timing, it seems that he held this post a short time before or at the same time as his job as the sergeant-at-arms of the Second National Assembly.
2. Shortly after World Ward II broke out, the open city of Manila was occupied by the Japanese in 02 January 1942. The Japanese-controlled government inagurated the new Constabulary Academy at the site of the former Araullo High School in Intramuros, Manila by June 1942. They also created branches of this school all over the country. I found multiple references to Assistant Superintendent JA Hernandez participating at the graduation of Constabulary Academy that year — he was a speaker at the graduation of 01 November 1942 , then he read the roll of graduates at the 20 December 1942 rites.
3. Juan must have been promoted some time earlier, as I found a document (a guest list for a dinner given by the Director General of the Japanese Military Administration, held at the Winter Garden of the Manila Hotel on 28 December 1942), which referred to him as “Major Hernandez” of the Constabulary Academy.
4. In July 1943, Juan left the Constabulary Academy for his new assignment as the Senior Inspector of the Philippine Constabulary in Samar.
This is as far as I got. It would be interesting to understand the circumstances around his promotion to Colonel. I am now updating the biography of Juan Anderson Hernandez to reflect the new details above.
Vital personal details on Juan Anderson Hernandez have eluded me since I began my research. Finding the right documentation is difficult without knowing the dates and places. But today was another “Eureka!” day for me. Thanks to the new familysearch.org’s indexed microfilm rolls and streamlined search, I was able to find my great-grandfather’s death certificate, riddled with names, dates and other details previously unknown to our family.
1. Juan A. Hernandez was born on 8 March 1885 in Batangas, Batangas, according to his death certificate. This location is not consistent with oral histories and the mini-bio we found here. From what was previously known to me, he was born in Lipa, Batangas.
2. His parents were Herman Hernandez and Maria Macaria Hernandez. According to my aunt, his mother was a woman of American-Mexican descent with the maiden name Anderson. As Juan was born in 1885 (well before the Spanish-American War which resulted in the influx of Americans into the country), it would be interesting to find out what brought his foreign mother/grandparents to the Philippines.
3. His last partner was Dolores Gonzales-Hernandez. They lived in 404 Barasoin St., Makati, which was in the province of Rizal at the time of his death. Their home is in the south of the Sta. Ana Racetrack where Juan worked as a steward. Interestingly enough, a street to the north east of the race track was named after him.
4. According to my dad, Juan left ex-President Quirino’s home on Novaliches to go to V. Luna General Hospital in Quezon City. He came in for a check-up and accidentally slipped and hit his head, as he was getting off the examination bed. On the document, we can see Juan was confined on 29 July 1957; and was attended to by Dr. Felix Sibal. After 19 days of confinement, Juan passed away on 11 August 1957 at 3:45 pm. He was 72 years old. While his obituary reads that he died from a heart attack, his death certificate states that the condition directly leading to death is “undetermined”. No autopsy or investigation followed.
5. Juan’s wake was at the Funeraria Popular along 2139 Rizal Avenue, Manila. He was finally laid to rest on 15 August 1957 at the La Loma Cemetery, also called North Cemetery, in the city of Manila.