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 (http://bit.ly/pgs-intro-form). 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.

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Distant Ancestry: My Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s … Ina

After getting my paternal ancestry test results, I am now all gung-ho about hunting via the DNA route.  This time, I found my mom’s mom’s mom’s … mom’s mom.  Maternal lineage tests are derived from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed from a mother to her children — both male and female.  This test is a powerful investigative tool for researching the maternal line and identifying one’s maternal ancient ancestry.

From Africa, through China, to the Americas.

I am blown away at how I share DNA similarities with a group that has literally roamed the earth!  Haplogroup B is also referred to as THE JOURNEYERS.  I entered the values into Mitosearch, and compared my DNA makeup with many others on record.  I found that I share ancient maternal ancestry with people from Argentina, Barabados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Korea, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

I am looking forward to reading a novel called “The Seven Daughters of Eve” by  Brian Sykes, which is describes the lifestyle of the Journeyers in a rich narrative surrounding their ancestral mother, whom the author called “Ina”.  It is so cool how that means mother in Tagalog.

If you are my San Diego, Porcincula, De Leon or Concepcion relative,  give me a holler if you want a copy of the full report.

You belong to the Journeyers, Haplogroup B, which emerged around 50,000 years ago during an initial migration from Africa into Asia. The Journeyers most likely mapped this migration directly through Central Asia. About 12,000 years ago some of the Journeyers migrated into the Americas across the Bering Straight land bridge. Because of this migration, the Journeyers have been associated with Native American populations at rates of about 24%.

Many of the descendants of the Journeyers are found among Native Americans in the southwestern United States, known for its cactus-covered, arid desert. Native tribes of the American southwest include the Apache, Hopi, Navajo and Zuni, among others.

The people known as Apache are actually a gathering of different tribes who have, over time, become regarded as a single group. There are significant differences among the Apache tribes, but there are also notable similarities. Among the broad Apachean cultures shamans play a key role, although the ceremonies they lead and participate in may vary.

The Hopi people are called Hopituh Shi-nu-mu in their language, which translates to “The People of Peace.” Peace is central to the Hopi’s cultural and religious beliefs. A matrilineal tradition gives structure to the Hopi society and means that when a man marries, he joins his wife’s family. Kivas, square spaces used for spiritual ceremonies, have been used by Hopis since ancient times for ritual prayers, dances, and sacred chants.

There are also many Journeyers in the southern Siberian regions, and in and near present-day Mongolia and China. Your ancient ancestors may have lived in these regions as well. Among these people are the Tuvans, a nomadic people who live in yurts and herd reindeer, yaks and cattle and are known for their enchanting throat singing. The Buryats and the Altay also live in this general region and have notable rates of Journeyers among their populations. There is evidence that the Altay mastered metalwork almost 2,000 years ago.

Over the 50,000 years since your ancestors emerged, they have traveled around Asia, and descendants of the Journeyers can be found in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

Distant Ancestry: The Magno’s

Ancestry.com offers DNA testing to help you get insight on your ancestors from as far as 35 generations back.  Since males are the carriers of genetic markers that do not change over the generations, I swabbed my brother’s inner cheeks (ala CSI) weeks back and sent his spit to Utah, hoping to get more info on the origins of the Magno Clan.

China: Where the Magno’s are originally from.

Today, I finally got the results on our paternal ancestry!  After administering a Paternal Lineage Test (Y-46) on my brother’s DNA sample, I learned my paternal line belongs to the Haplogroup O3, also known as THE INVENTORS.   If you are my Magno paternal relative, send me a note and I would be happy to email you a copy of the complete report.

You belong to “The Inventors”, Haplogroup O3, which originated about 30,000 years ago in south eastern Asia, and quickly migrated to central China. Haplogroup O3 is still associated with central China, but many present-day members of Manchurian, Korean and Vietnamese populations are part of the Inventors. Some Filipinos and Japanese are also in this group.

“Inventors” can be found at very high rates among the Han Chinese, considered by many to be the largest ethnic group in the world. Some of the Han Chinese refer to themselves as “descendants of the dragon” and believe they share common ancestors with the Yellow Emperor and the Yan Emperor. Your ancient ancestors may have been instrumental in developing the predominant language associated with the Han people, called “hanyu”. The written characters of the language are called “hanzim”, literally “Han characters”. The written Chinese language is one clear unifying factor among the Han Chinese. A consistent written language has prevailed through the ages, despite a great diversity among the languages spoken in China.

The Han Chinese are believed to have contributed significantly to the progress of humanity on a large scale. Your ancient ancestors may have played a role in the development of paper, the compass, gun powder, silk production, canal locks, porcelain, toothbrushes and a myriad of other necessities that are taken for granted today.

China was influenced heavily by Confucianism, and it’s likely that the “Inventors” were as well. At first inspection, Confucianism appears to focus on morality, but a more in-depth understanding reveals a system of moral, social, political, philosophical and spiritual thought. Prior to advanced genetics, linguists used commonalities between languages to link groups of people separated by time and travel. It appears that a subgroup of the “Inventors”, haplogroup O3e, have many members connected by Sino-Tibetan languages. These peoples are conventionally categorized into two branches, Chinese and Tibeto-Burman. The Sino-Tibetan speaking Chinese are the Han Chinese, the Hui and the Dungan. The Tibeto-Burman group includes many east Asian peoples, including but not limited to most of those living in Myanmar (Burma), Tibet, Vietnam, Laos and certain regions of India.

I entered my test values into YSearch and found that I shared genetic markers with individuals from China, Kasakhstan, Korea, and United States.

I guess the information has no immediate impact on my on-going study, as my research into the Magno line has only barely broken the 20th century mark.  If anything, these test results negate the family falsehood of an Iberian ancestry.  It also means that this branch of my family was not from the early settlers of the Philippines — Negrito, Indonesian or Malay — but rather migrants from across the South China Sea.

In my future is the bigger challenge that is Chinese genealogy.

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