Sunday, March 20, 2011


There were just so many Jose Cruzes and Juan Santoses on Guam, I suppose, and so our forebears resorted to nicknames, in modern times referred to one's "better-known-as" and in the past called the "endeared name," "ma na' kaririño."  Funeral announcements in the newspaper, to this day, often include these family nicknames.  They came about through a variety of ways, and one of them was to simply identify the family by the name, or nickname, of a patriarch or matriarch.  Here are just a few :

GOYO = a well-known branch of the Perez family which has included many political, commercial and religious leaders of Guam.  Named after the patriarch Gregorio.  Chamorros had a hard time pronouncing the non-native Y sound and turned it into a DZ sound, represented by the Spaniards with a Y as in Yigo and Yo'ña.  So the last syllables of Gregorio - gorio - were transformed into Goyo.

KAILA = a branch of the Dueñas family today is named after a matriarch, Micaila, the feminine form of Miguel (Michael).  Micaila would be the Spanish form of the French Michelle.

SINDA = the famous bakers of the Eustaquio clan, named after their matriarch Reducinda.

SIKET = these descendants of the Castro family come from a patriarch named Ezequiel.  The last syllables were turned into Siket.  Remember that we have a hard time pronouncing final L's and R's.  They become T's.

SAURO = although all Unpingco's come from the same Chinese immigrant, people still referred to his descendants using the short-cut of his Christian name, Rosauro.

KASIMIRO = two Untalan brothers immigrated to Guam in the 1800s.  To distinguish their descendants, both branches were named after their respective patriarchs.  One brother was named Casimiro.

MÅTKOS = the other Untalan brother was named Marcos.

GÅBIT = some of the Pereda's are named after their patriarch, Gabriel.

NÅNDO = it's just a change of one letter from the Pereda's, but some Peredo's are descendants of a man named Fernando.

MIN = down in Agat, a branch of the Babauta's are called the familian Min, after their patriarch Benjamin.

Finally, my own small Chamorro family, the familian Kitå'an, was named after our matriarch Maria Perez Torres, whose nickname was Marikita = Kitå'an.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Father, Thank you for this website and the wonderful content you share with us. Guahu Si Rosemary, I'm a descendant of one Ezequiel De Castro. My father's grandmother was Exequiel's daughter Rufina De Castro Wilson . I located only one man of that name in the records that I am able to find.
    Can you tell me anything more about him? Or if the church record contains any record of him? From Padron de Almas: Año de 1897, we believe his mother to be one Margarita De Leon Guerrero.
    Si Yu'us ma'ase.