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.  🙂

Continue reading “The Search for Juan: Was Anderson a surname?”

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