The Public Realm

Not too long ago, professional genealogist Ramon Severino Conlu Jr. published a book on the genealogy of the Ledesma family of Jaro, Iloilo. I have not seen the book yet but from what I gathered, it outlined the descendants of Don Fernando Ledesma and Doña Anastacia Melliza, whose children were Domingo, Ynocencio, Luis, Mariano and Emeterio.

The book documents 13,860 descendants and 4,970 in-laws. A second edition is forthcoming, which will include new findings from Conlu’s continuing research that brought him to various church archives to dig into baptismal and marriage records, and to different homes to do interviews and obtain photographs.

Not too long ago, I also started a little research on the family tree that was planted by Don Cristino Javellana, who was described in the baptismal records of his two daughters born in 1891 and in 1895 as a cabeza de barangay in Jaro. Known as Capitan Tinong, his remains is interred inside the Jaro Cathedral, together with that of his son Cirilo.

My research was prompted by the kidnapping of Marie Jean Javellana Lacaba of the International Committee of the Red Cross and her companions by the Abu Sayyaf in 2009, and a 1955 photograph on the burial of Perpetua Ledesma Javellana that was found in the home of a descendant of Wenceslao Meñez, a distant relative, in Negros Occidental.

Lacaba is the granddaughter of Melquiades Ledesma Javellana who was presidente municipal of Buenavista, Iloilo (now Buenavista, Guimaras) during the Commonwealth period, and the niece of former Guimaras Governor Abelardo Javellana. Melquiades was the younger brother of Perpetua, who was my great grandmother on my mother’s side.

When I started my research, I had no idea who the first wife of Capitan Tinong was, while his second wife was only known to us as Mindang. A genealogist based in the United States discovered his first wife’s name to be Baldomera Ledesma. Cousin Girlie Liboon of SM City Iloilo remembered the name of the second wife to be Herminigilda Hinolan.

Genealogy is like treasure hunting. You will never know what you will discover but you are pretty sure they are very precious. It is an exciting and a fulfilling endeavor, especially knowing who is related to you, or how one is related to the other. It will take you back to the past, confirm your theories and make you shout “Eureka!”

My research on Capitang Tinong’s ancestry showed his parents were Don Manuel Javellana and Doña Gertrudis Lopez, and that he had a brother named Mariano (married to Crispina Gamboa), who was baptized on August 8, 1868 at the Jaro Cathedral. His sisters were Inocencia (married to Juancho Jamora), Florentina (married to Sixto Golez), Cristeta, Escolastica (married to Jeronimo Jiz de Ortega), Carmen (married to Miguel Jayme y Lopez), and Marcelina (married to Victoriano Catagui). For a long while, we thought Cirilo to be his other brother but he turned out to be his youngest son by his first wife.

I had not established the ancestry of his wives, but thanks to Conlu’s research, we have now made a link with our ancestors and relatives by Capitan Tinong’s first wife Baldomera Ledesma. Now we know she is the daughter of Mateo Lopez Ledesma and Alejandra Hechanova, and the granddaughter of Emetrio Ledesma and Maria Lopez.

Now we also know her siblings to be Petra, Martina (married to Marciano Ledesma), Felipa (married to Amando Blanco), Luis (married to Micaela Gotangco, and later to Cornelia Sumugat), Juan (married to Felicidad Jalandoni), Ambrosia (married to Basilio Hormillosa), Magdalena (married Jose Ledesma) and Segunda (married to Aureo Ynfante).

In return, my research has expanded the Ledesma family tree to include the descendants of the children of Capitan Tinong by Baldomera Ledesma who were Juana (married to Celerino Grecia), Perpetua (married to Antonio Alfaraz) Melquiades (married to Paz Darroca and later, to one surnamed Depamallo), and Cirilo (married to Felisa Rosales).

Another daughter, Maria Cecilia, was never mentioned in the oral history of the Javellana family but an 1874 baptismal record from the Jaro archdiocesan archives was recently discovered showing her parents to be Capitan Tinong and Baldomera Ledesma. Unless proven otherwise, we presume she died as a child.

On the other hand, Capitan Tinong’s children by his second wife, Herminigilda Hinolan, were Maria Consolacion (married to CiriloPunzalan), Rosario (married to Pedro Pama), Socorro (not married), and Jose (married to Cresenciana Papas).

But genealogy does not end at knowing who your forebears and your relatives are, and where they are now. It is best to know the traits and the characteristics of your ancestors which made you what and who you are now, and which will make you what and who you will become. It will help you know yourself all the more. Indeed, the past is prologue.

Admittedly, I have not reached that part in my genealogical research yet. But I am glad to know Conlu to be my fifth-degree cousin, and that we share the same passion. And I look forward to the second edition of his book, learn how he was able to trace close to 18,000 descendants (and still counting) and eventually publish my own work.

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us,” wrote American author Shirley Abbott. “Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”

Published in
The Daily Guardian and Panay News
August 29, 2011

Published on August 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm  Comments Off on Genealogy  
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