Towards a Philippine Genealogical Society

Why are research and conservation efforts focused on such a small percentage of the population?  Why are research tools not readily available to the general public?  Why are rare papers at the National Archives only available to those with a “special authority” from the director?  Why do people sell their lolo’s old office papers por kilo at the bote-garapa?

The LDS Family History Center across the main temple in Quezon City has been invaluable in my research into my own ancestry and family history.

Behind my questions is the poor state of interest in history and preservation in the Philippines.  Ambeth Ocampo, with his writings, has done a lot to bring the lives of Filipino heroes closer to the the average Pinoy; but so much more needs to get done.  I feel that the best way to get kids and young adults today interested in the time before Facebook games and Android phones is to get them researching about something personal — their own families.

Sadly, little has been done to effectively present history research as an interesting personal journey. Aside from the CLDS Family History Centers, their is no repository of data that is conducive to research (my trips to the National Library and National Archives will be the topic of a separate entry — a looong one). So much of the fascinating tales of our lolo‘s and lola‘s, often shared in family reunions, are based on oral histories — which, as some of us have observed, grow grander over time. There is no organized group of genealogy enthusiasts who are championing the preservation of the personal histories of the common tao.

We need a Philippine Genealogical Society.

I am in search of equally passionate Filipino family history researchers to form the nucleus of the organization. I am looking for individuals who have, through first-hand documented research, built their family trees and communicated their findings to their relatives or other interested parties, either through printed materials or digital media. They should be willing to volunteer their time to toward improving genealogy practices and increasing interest in family history in the Philippines.

Please fill out this on-line sign-up sheet ( It will ask you some contact details as well as three questions on your genealogy experience — you will need about ten minutes to fill it out.  You can also join the discussion in this forum.

I know there are not a lot of Pinoy genealogists out there, so I will wait for as long as it takes.  Individual invitations will also be extended to historians of note.  When a critical mass is achieved, I will call for a start-up meeting, in Metro Manila.  I am eager for the sharing of ideas on how to move ancestry and family history research  into the mainstream.

31 thoughts on “Towards a Philippine Genealogical Society

    1. Hi Raymund! I created an automated sign-up sheet — The form will ask you three questions about your genealogy experience, so you may need about ten minutes to fill it out. Hope to talk to you soon …


  1. greetings!

    a worthy project. i am a hard core philippine genealogy researcher and i am interested in your project of creating a philippine genealogy society. why not set up the society and then people can submit their applications rather than people applying when nothing is formalized yet. thanks!

    1. hi, cl! thanks for the interest! we are actually setting up the society as we speak; but the fundamentals have to be in place. there are two types of genealogy enthusiasts — one is a typical researcher who toils to look into the his own history; while the other, would have a wider knowledge on history & research techniques and familiarity with knowledge repositories & with handling first-hand documents (preferably would have the ability to read it). the first type would definitely benefit as an active member; but we need more of the second type to succeed as an organization. professional genealogists and historians would fall under the second.

      i am very excited to have received several great submissions at this point. the first meeting to determine our first steps as an organization is tentatively targeted for january 7, 2012 in quezon city. personal invitations will be released shortly. 🙂

  2. HI – I’m trying to trace my Filipino daughter-in-law’s family history for my grandson. I have details of his European history back to the 12th century but am having problems going back further than two generations for his Filipino roots. We have no “paper” records so rely soley on “word of mouth” – SO good luck with your project – just what is needed.

  3. Hi Mona…I’m starting our own family tree and trying to trace our ancestors. I’d like to know some tips on what tools you’ve used to be able to research. Right now, I’ve only used and has provided a lot of positive results but are still lacking. I did try the National Archives along Kalaw St. but I was not able to find any record. (Either that or tinamad sila maghanap kasi I gave them a bunch of records to look for). Most of my ancestors kasi I don’t know the specific years kaya I was not able to find them at the National Archives. I hope you can help me, too. Thanks. By the way, some of my ancestors were married to Magnos of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, as well. I don’t know if there’s a link to your family. More power!

    1. Hi JP. I know exactly what you mean. My experience with the National Archives has also been very sad. I have made more traction working with the Family History Library at the Church of the Latter Day Saints. They are, of course, behind Digitization of Philippine records are not yet complete, so if you are looking for records outside Manila, it is best to go to a library and request for the corresponding microfilm. Unlike the National Archives, FHL staff are soo helpful!

      Here are links to resource rosters that may be useful:

  4. Thanks, Mona. I did inquire on their online help and told me to go to the nearest Family Research Center to order the microfilms. The one nearest us (along Buendia) is currently under renovation. Do you have any idea how much the microfilm rentals are? Do I get to print them as well in the FHL also? Thanks again!

    1. I use the one along Temple Road in White Plains. I believe it is also the biggest. They do not charge for use; although a donation to the church would be very kind.

      If you find a relevant record, you can either have the page printed or (and this is what I do) have it emailed to you as a *.jpg. 🙂

  5. Hi Mona, I visited the Family History Center in White Plains and was able to get a few recent documents (documents which the National Archives said they didn’t have). I had limited time so I just focused on the more recent relatives. I think I would need more time to sort through the handwritten Spanish documents and will just come back again. If only I can devote a whole day sifting through the microfilms…I will definitely come back. I just gave a donation and told them that I will be back. Your blog is indeed very helpful. Thanks.

    1. glad to have you on-board, felvir! we would would like to partner with the CLDS somehow — hope you could give us ideas! 🙂

  6. I would be very happy to answer any question you might have as to resources in the Family History Center. Right now, i am very interested in helping you out with your Magno line. I have a close friend named Martin Tinio Jr. who has extensive research on that line. I think his Magno line is from Bicol. Perhaps I can connect you to him.

    1. Hi Felvir. Although I do not belong to the church, I have been a user of the FHC for a looong time — since 2001 when the library was still a small bodega in the backroom. 🙂 I also am a volunteer indexer for

      My Magno line stops with Ricardo Magno of Iloilo. Even Sis. Jane at the FHC helped me look for primary materials but there was none. Civil records were torched in a fire in the 1940s and my ancestors were not Catholics so there are also no church records. The next steps and hypotheses I have been working on are here:

      I actually know Sonny (aka Martin Jr.)! His wife is a relative of my husband and he is the ninong of my brother-in-law. He was ill last year so I did not bother him with PGS issues — he is one of our favorites to be a trustee for the organization. 🙂

  7. Well, you’ll be glad to know that he is already up and about. I visit him frequently because I maintain his computers. i am also working on putting his work online for the public to use. i’ll tell him about PGS when i visit him this weekend most probably. i am sure he’ll be thrilled to hear about it. I have proposed the idea to him a few years back and he mentioned that they have tried to set up one with Sis. J, but were not pursue it.

    1. Aw, glad to hear he is better! Dr. Luciano Santiago (he wrote “The Art of Ancestor-Hunting in the Philippines) also said the same thing — that there have been many attempts to create a society. We are very lucky now — technology is a big enabler! I showed Sonny when we happened to be at the FHC together last year; but there are so many other platforms he can use. Hope he finally gets his research digitized! 🙂

  8. hi, an aunt of mine (my dad’s eldest sister) is asking if i could find a professional genealogist here in Manila and how much they would charge for their service.

    she wants to trace the roots of my grandmother’s Sevilla line from Liloan, Cebu.

    hope you could help us out.


  9. Hi,

    My Dad’s 70th birthday is coming up and would like to give him his family history for his birthday. Please tell what i need to do my email is i would really like to hear from you guys soon.


  10. hi mona,

    i was conducting family research and came across were you had articles and also created the family tree of vilma santos. we have since established that our family (del rosarios) are related to her through her father, amado constantino santos.

    a little family background i guess would be of interest

    my great great parents are tiburcio del rosario and teresa sempio. lola teresa is the sister of felipa sempio (the mother of gregorio del pilar)

    lolo tiburcio and lola teresa had 7 children, 4 of which were child bearing

    judge simplicio del rosario (my lolo and one of the signatories to the malolos constitution)
    timoteo del rosario
    andrea del rosario aguinaldo
    esteban del rosario

    timoteo del rosario married marcela constantino. marcela and and timoteo were cousins which meant that all the constantino relatives of lola marcela were related to the del rosarios

    my aunt visited the house of amado constantino santos way back when and they both said they were cousins (am guessing 2nd)

    so, to be able to establish the constantino branch (which includes ms. vilma santos and her aunt charito solis , carmen rosales as well as famed filipino director felicing constantino) i was wondering if you knew the names of ms. santos grandparents and great grandparents. our current tree lists irene constantino as a sister of marcela but we have not established if this is ms. vilma santos great grandmother.

    this would make ms. vilma santos my 3rd cousin (or more appropriately, ate vi (lma) as she is older.

    hope you can kindly assist. you can email me at

    we used my to create our online family tree.

    thank you.

    buddy del rosario

    1. Hi Buddy. Thanks for the note! If you could create your family tree on Geni and then send me the URL of the profile of your common ancestor with Vilma Santos, I could link you to the master profile. 🙂

  11. Buddy,

    I did an extensive research on the Bustamante family of Bulacan, Bulacan a while back and I have connected this to the Del Rosario and Sempio of the same town. I was just wondering if you already have data about the parents of Felipa and Teresa Sempio. If you need that, I have some interesting details about the patriarch of the Sempio line who is an immigrant from China.


  12. hi mona and felvir,

    sorry for the late reply. i just saw your comments today.

    mona, that would be great if you could link our tree to my cousin ate vi.

    felvir, actually, the only data we have about the two sister is the is their siblings and the the branches that fall under them. that would be awesome if you could provide some sempio history.


  13. Hi. My great great grandfather Latinu Rodriguez was the early settler in Estancia, Iloilo ( according to history records ) but the information about him and where he came from is missing. Not even a word of mouth info from relatives. This big void in my family tree is driving me mental hence I started to do some research but didn’t get very far yet. It can be frustrating but I am not giving up. In my lifetime I want to know who I am and where I came from. The web links you guys posted will be very helpful. I will be working hard and keep you informed. I’m ever so grateful.
    Just in case any genealogist would be interested in helping me out my family line is Magbanua-Rodriguez-Mosqueda. Many thanks. Roma

  14. Reblogged this on The World according to Toni and commented:
    I was just browsing through the internet at the office when I suddenly remembered about a show called “Who Do You Think You Are”. I was so intrigued and fascinated about this show that makes me want to trace my ancestral roots here in the Philippines. I did actually signed up for a genealogy website which will cost me around $20/month to start off, but I am having unrelated results as of the moment. I am now thinking of cancelling it since, $20 is a LOT for me. Then I tried other links on google, until I found this blog. It was written on 2011 (5 years after it was posted), It was a call for a local genealogy research team. I am actually very interested in this cause. I hope that the author would be able to read about this. I can say I am inexperienced and have no degree about this line of work, but I’d be willing to dedicate my time for it. I wanted to see if there are others who were as interested as I am.

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