The Search for Juan: Was Anderson a surname?

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.

Juan Anderson Hernandez

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.  🙂

Family History Research Notes

1. “Manuel L. Quezon.” Geni, 21 Dec 2017. Date accessed: 11 May 2012.
2. “Middle Name.” Wikipedia, 2018. Date accessed: 11 Feb 2018.
3. “Tagaytay City and Batangas City, Philippines.” Travel PH, 2003. Date accessed: 11 May 2012.

3 thoughts on “The Search for Juan: Was Anderson a surname?

  1. Im currently tracing my grandfather’s family tree. His name is Marc De Leon Hernandez, Filipino who’s part of the US Navy. Alias Lolo Jungle or Lolo Guam or Dodoy.

  2. A few weeks ago my father, German R. Hernandez Jr., asked me to do some research about his grandfather and my great-grandfather, Juan Anderson Hernandez. The only clues I have are that he is born in Lipa and that there was a street named after him. My father also wants me to search through the archives of the municipality so that I could gain further information. I am asking for your help, as a fellow Hernandez by name and by blood.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi German. We are half-second cousins once removed — as my grandmother was Juan’s eldest daughter. My father still knew your great-grandfather. I have already searched birth, death and marriage records of Lipa and surrounding areas. There are multiple prominent Jose Hernandez’ from Batangas — a jeweller, a symphony conductor. My dad and his brothers still remember him so I have a lot of stories as well. He is very elusive. I publish results of my search on this site. Do let me know if you find anything new.

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