[After this confusing find, I jumped back on the trail of my father's paternal grandmother. I reordered the microfilm of the 1969 Iloilo Death Registers and continued where I left off. It wasn't long before I found the right record.]
Teodora Sobrepeña was born on 07 April 1884 in Iloilo City. My dad remembers her as having a stall in the town market, where she sold the rice delicacies (“kakanin”) she created. She married Ricardo Magno, a tailor and haberdasher, in the 1910s. They had at least five children: Julio, Segundino, Cecilia, Adelina and Ignacia. She died on 16 July 1969, in Iloilo, at the age of 85. The informant on her death certificate was Francisco Tapiculin, the husband of her daughter, Cecilia. The extended family lived at the same address: Fuentes and de Leon Streets, Iloilo — a domicile she kept since 1935, at least.
I attended a Magno Family event over the week-end; and as expected, I managed to sneak genealogy talk into the conversation. My Tita Chody mentioned that their paternal grandmother (also her tukayo or namesake), Teodora Sobrepeña-Magno, died in 1969 in Iloilo. This bit of newly-unearthed information was enough for me to start a targeted search through Iloilo’s records.
I accessed microfilmed death certificates for 1969 and found a lady named LUCIA Sobrepeña-Magno. She was born in 1886 (Check! That’s a good match for Teodora) in Mambusao, Capiz. She died on 10 May 1969 (Check!) in Iloilo of tuberculosis. Her husband was Ricardo Magno (Check!). This woman had three crucial items in common with my great-grandmother. But is she the person I am looking for?
1) It is possible that “Lucia” is one of two given names.
2) Another possibility: a staff member at the Family History Center in Quezon City also posed that during this woman’s lifetime, it is common for rural people to change their given names mid-life. This occurs when someone is sickly or is plagued by ill-luck. They believe that changing their name will bring improved health and happiness. This was the case with this gentleman’s mother-in-law.
I called my father (the eldest grandchild) and asked about this new first name. He did not believe it was the same lady as she was addresed as “Lola Doring” until the last decade of her life. The clincher was the name of the informant. It was Aniceto Magno, her son. My father vaguely remembers a story of my great-grandfather having an illegitimate child named Aniceto. The juicy question that plagues me now, if we go with the illegitimacy angle, is: Why does the my great-grandmother share a surname with her husband’s mistress? Were they related?
I was unable to finish the microfilm as it was difficult to read and I was nursing a head ache the size of Utah. I will have to wait until Tuesday next week to review the records again to get another crack at finding Teodora.
POSTCRIPT, 28 APRIL 2011
My Tita Inday called her older cousins in Iloilo — they are in their 80s — to ask about Lucia and Aniceto. It turns out that my great-grandfather, Ricardo, got her wife’s niece (the daughter of Teodora’s brother) pregnant. While my great-grandmother Teodora remarried (so her last name changed since her husband’s death in the 1930s), Lucia never did (which was why she used her “Magno”). With the “ew” reflex contained, I am looking forward to a trip to Iloilo to dig up more stories. I can smell the the unwashed laundry!
Ricardo Magno is the earliest known patriarch in our Magno line — my father’s paternal grandfather. He is one of the stone walls I am facing in tracing my paternal lineage, due to the lack of documentation. What I know, I know from stories from my father (who’s second name is also Ricardo); but I still have many unanswered questions.
1. Ricardo is believed to be from Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines; and was born between 1885 and 1900. Documenting his birth has been a challenge as the municipal records of Iloilo were all destroyed in a fire in the 1940s. [Update as of 13 Apr 2011: Ricardo was born about 1870. This I derived from his record on the 1929 Iloilo Death Registy Index]
2. Family tales say that Ricardo was sent to Spain by his middle-class parents to study medicine. When he got there, he fell in love with European fashion and ended up studying haberdashery and tailoring instead. He came home to enraged parents and was disinherited. Making suits then became his livelihood in his adult life. Ship passenger lists would be a good starting point to determine if Ricardo made a voyage to Europe.
3. Ricardo married Teodora Sobrepeña , with whom he had at least five children: Julio, Segundino, Cecilia, Adelina and Ignacia. I need civil records for data on his marriage to my great-grandmother and the title to the property along 104 C.R. Fuentes Street where my grandfather was raised and my father was born. What other sources could I consult in lieu of local civil records? Would I find a hint of him in the US Library of Congress – considering the country was a commonwealth of the United States before World War II?
4. My grandfather and father were baptized in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, a schism started in 1902, borne out of a nationalist sentiment against the abusive Spanish clergy, and eventually the American colonialists. Even if Ricardo was an early convert of the Aglipayan Church, he should still have records with the Catholic parish. Did I just miss his name during my search through the Iloilo diocese records? Or is he a migrant from another place? The Aglipayan Church was most popular in the Ilocos Region, where many Magno’s are from. If I shift my search for Ricardo’s Catholic baptismal record several hundred kilometers north, where should I begin? Which city?
5. In the present-day aerial map of the Pala-Pala district of Iloilo below, the Terminal Market now stands where the Magno’s home used to be. It’s is an interesting coincidence that the Philippine Independent Church building is only one small block to the west, on Jalandoni Street. Perhaps there are clues about my ancestor that lies in the church’s early records.
6. Details of Ricardo’s death and that of his wife are also unknown to me. I don’t think I have asked my dad about that — totally forgot. Perhaps that would provide some clues as well. [Update as of 20 April 2011. Ricardo Magno died on 17 Mar 1929 in Iloilo City at 59 years old. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis. Meanwhile, his wife Teodora Sobrepeña-Magno, died on 16 Jul 1969, in Iloilo at 85 years old from old age.]