Saturday, June 18, 2011


(Saint John Chrysostom)

The Crisostomo family takes its surname from a saint.  In Greece, back in the 400s AD, the Archbishop of Constantinople, John, was such a gifted speaker and preacher that he was nicknamed "Chrysostomos," which means "golden mouthed."  In Spanish, his name is "San Juan Crisostomo."

When the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, many of the Filipinos took on religious last names, and some of these were the names of saints.  Thus, in the Philippines, Crisostomo is not an unusual last name.

In the 1758 Census of Guam, there is a widow by the name of Luisa Ago living with her three sons, who are all surnamed Crisostomo.  It seems clear, then, that their deceased father was a man surnamed Crisostomo.  They are listed under the Pampanga (Filipino) soliders.  It is probable, then, that the deceased father had been a Pampanga soldier.  Luisa's last name, Ago, could be the Chamorro word "ago'," which means "to change."  It is possible, then, that the Crisostomo-Ago family was a mixed (mestiso) Pampanga-Chamorro family.

Luisa's three boys meant that the Crisostomo name would have endured for some time.  Indeed, by the 1897 Census, the Crisostomos were spread all over Guam.

One of the biggest branches of the Crisostomos are the descendants of Juana Crisostomo who lived in the 1800s.  By at least the 1830s, she had half a dozen or so children as a single woman, so they carried the last name of their mother - Crisostomo.  Many of her children started or married into leading families. 

There were small groups of Crisostomos in Asan, Sinajaña, Sumay and Inarajan by 1900, and a few years later a Crisostomo moved to Saipan (under the Germans) and started a family there.  Some of them spell it "Crisostimo."

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