Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Anthony Zablan playing the ukulele in 1901

The Zablans (Sablans) of Hawaii are descendants of two Chamorros named Sablan who moved to Hawaii in the 1800s.  Usually, Chamorros went to Hawaii (and other places) as crew members of the whaling ships that stopped by Guam.  So many young Chamorro men were joining the whaling ships that the government tried to prevent them from leaving the island.  Most never came back to Guam, but some did, bringing with them a little proficiency in English, experiences of the wider world and sometimes ideas that did not jive with the Spanish Catholic environment of the island.

For Spaniards living in the south of Spain, and for Spanish-speakers in all of Latin America and the Philippines and Marianas, Z and S have the same sound : S.  Zablan and Sablan sound the same, so much so that at times the same person would spell his name Zablan or Sablan depending on the mood of the day.

JOAQUIN PANGELINAN ZABLAN was born around 1843 on Guam and died in Hawaii in 1932.  Arriving in Hawaii in 1869 aboard the Daniel Webster, he married twice during his lifetime.  His first wife was Hawaiian, Ane Keaweamahi, who died in 1887.  With her, he had five children.  He had ten more with his second wife, a Portuguese woman named Maria Botelho.

Joaquin was a rancher on the Big Island, in Halawa (Kolawa district). He also ran a store for a time there.

In 1892, Joaquin is listed as an auctioneer in Lahaina on the island of Maui.

SILVESTRE CASTRO ZABLAN.  He was in Hawaii by 1873, where he appears in some documents. He was involved in business and was a member of the Good Templars, a fraternal organization which Catholics, at the time, were forbidden to join.

JOSE PEREZ.  Took the name Joseph when he moved to Hawaii, which he did in 1870.  Became a carpenter in Hamakua on the Big Island and married a Hawaiian named Leleo.

NICOLAS PEREZ.  Arrived from Guam in 1876.

BEN PANGELINAN.  Arrived in Hawaii in 1860.  Became a storekeeper in North Kohala on the Big Island.  He married a Portuguese named Margarita.

IGNACIO AFLAGUE.  He worked as a clerk and salesman for various enterprises and may have been Deputy Registrar General in North Kohala (Big Island).  His wife was Portuguese, Mary de Rego Souza.

BASILIO GUERRERO.  Born around 1840 on Guam.  Married in Hawaii to a woman from Singapore named Nicolasa.

Two brothers, JOSE and LUIS CASTRO (Kaban) changed their last name to Custino.  They became Protestant, perhaps the first Chamorro Protestants, and returned to Guam right after the Americans took possession, in order to establish a Protestant congregation in their birthplace.  Eventually they returned to Hawaii, where the Custino family survives in its several branches.

His father Joaquin was a Chamorro from Guam who moved to Hawaii in 1869.

Chamorros were often listed in the Hawaiian records as being Spaniards and even Caucasians!  One very early Chamorro settler in Hawaii was simply known as John Paniolo, paniolo meaning "cowboy" but coming from the word español, which the Hawaiians pronounced paniolo.


  1. Wow! I found this to be soooo interesting!

    My mother's side is Chamorro. My grandparents grew up in Guam and then moved to the states where my grandpa was stationed in the Army.

    I was "hanai" by my step-father and raised by a Hawaiian family. My only ties to Guam were what my mother remembered, what I was taught by my grandparents, and what I could soak up during my visits to Guam.

    Being raised Hawaiian, genealogy is a huge part of my culture and I love being able to trace Chamorro roots and migration to Hawaii.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! Luis Custino's great great granddaughter checking in -

  3. Hi, I am looking for my Perez Family. My gg-father was Nicholas Perez. He was born about 1860 in Guam and migrated to Hawaii about 1876. I find it interesting that I have an uncle Joseph Perez that was married to Leleau (the Leleau sounds like Leleo. I would love to learn more about the Perez in Guam.
    email :

    1. I can ask a lady from Guam who did her family tree with some Perez connection to look into it.

    2. Aloha again,
      I would still like to hook up to learn more of my family. The more i look at notes and tips I am more convinced that The Joseph Perez and Nicholas that you talk about is my family. I would love to be in contact with this lady from Guam that you mentioned. Mahalo Nui,

    3. I have emailed the lady and given her your email address. Let me know in a couple of weeks if she contacts you or not.

    4. Hi, Nicholas Perez is my great grandfather, I too would like to have contact with the woman who may have information on the two brothers Nicholas and Joseph Perez. Mahalo

  4. I am looking for an Ignacio (Vraz) Aflague who had a child (named Maria or Mary) with Maria Kau Kaluahine in 1876 in Hawaii. Any help would be much appreciated. I was told he was from Guam born around 1850.

    1. What more specifically are you looking for? Please email me at

  5. Hafa Adai and Aloha. Mahalo for all the info of Sablans families. Ton Sablan

  6. Aloha! I was wondering if you happen to know the names of Joaquin P. Zablanʻs parents. I am a Hawaiian descendent trying to go as far back as I can within my genealogy. Any help/resources will be much appreciated. Mahalo.

    1. Luana, the Sablan/Zablan family on Guam has a Facebook page. Would you like to join? We do have some Zablans from Hawai'i in the group. You might be able to find answers.

  7. Joaquin's parents are Juan Zablan and Rosa Pangelinan. My great-great-grandfather is Joaquin's older brother Jose Pangelinan Sablan. Also Uncle Charles Zablan wrote a book on the Zablan's from Hawaii.