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.  🙂

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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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Teodora Sobrepeña

[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.]

Iloilo City. 1898

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.

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The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 2

Lolo Juaning was a skilled horseman and served as a Cavalry officer for the Philippine Scouts.

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.

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Lola Teodora? Or Lola Lucia?

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.

Iloilo, 1910s

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?

YES.

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.

NO.

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!

The Search for Juan: Details on the Death Certificate

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.

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The Search for Juan: The Philippine Senate

The Philippine Senate Building, in the early 1900s

According to family stories, Juan Anderson Hernandez was a decorated soldier even before World War II.  The undated obituary clipping my aunt sent me alludes to a connection to President Quezon and the Philippine Senate.  My dad recalls, with much regret, that some of his military memorabilia were sold off by older relatives after his death.   So our side of the family has very little information on him — only the tales from my Dad, my uncles and my aunts,  exchanged over the dinner table.  My earlier attempts to find Juan in written records have proven futile.  Until today.

Juan’s Bio

Owing to serendipitous googling, I found a book that mentions his name.  Yet another search led me to the Heritage Library (now my favorite library!), where a copy of the book is in active circulation.  Towards the end of the chapter covering the Colonial Senate (1916-1935), I found, to my utter joy, a brief biography of my great-grandfather:

Assisting the Senate as Sergeant at Arms was Juan Anderson Hernandez.  He was born in Lipa, Batangas in 1885.  He had a colorful career during the American period, serving as officer of the Philippine National Guard, a captain in the Reserve Corps of the US Army, and a brigadier general of the National Volunteers of the Philippines — an organization he helped organize before serving in the Senate.

Need I spell it out?  Eureka!

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