Monday, January 9, 2012


As far as we can tell, the Ada families of the Marianas come from ancestors who had a Chamorro surname which the Spaniards spelled "Ada" but which, in Chamorro, is pronounced "adda'."  It means "Is it so?  Could it be?"

The Adas seem to have been based in Hagåtña.  One of the Adas in the 1890s lives in Tepungan, which is now Piti, not far from Aniguak.  Another Ada, according to oral tradition, was a Materne, which is an Aniguak name.  I wouldn't be surprised, then, if some of the Adas originated in Aniguak, which was the barrio where more "pure" Chamorros lived in the Hagåtña orbit.  Inner Hagåtña (San Ignacio, Santa Cruz) was the residence of the more mixed Chamorros, since the Hispanic and Filipino soldiers who intermarried with Chamorros lived in those barrios.

We do have documented evidence of a rather widespread Blas Ada clan; meaning, people whose father was an Ada and whose mother was a Blas.  Oral tradition says that they are children of one Ignacio Materne Ada and his wife Ana Blas.  Both Materne and Ada are Chamorro names, while the name Blas was brought over by settlers.

Some of the Blas Ada daughters married Tainatongo men from Hagåtña who moved down to Malesso'.  A brother, Nicolas Blas Ada, also moved down to Malesso'.

But the ancestors of the better-known Adas in the Marianas was a probable brother of theirs named Ramon Jose Blas Ada, married to Maria Pangelinan (whose middle name may have been Flores, which may be connected to the Kotla or Flores-Pangelinan clan).


Ramon and Maria had a son, Pedro Pangelinan Ada.  He married Maria Crisostomo Martinez.  Pedro was, at times, an official in the local government, such as teniente, or assistant, to the Hagåtña mayor.  He also engaged in commerce, which took him to Saipan and Hong Kong, where he died and was buried.

His son Jose Martinez Ada is the patriarch of the Ada branch that gave us Governor Joseph Ada; former Senator Ben Ada (of Ada's Mortuary) and his son, current Senator Tony Ada; Senator Thomas Castro Ada is yet another descendant.  This particular branch of the Adas moved back and forth from Guam to Saipan and back again, and some stayed in Saipan.  A former mayor and judge of Saipan, Juan Martinez Ada, was from this branch of the family.

Another product of this family was Monsignor Jose Ada Leon Guerrero; born on Saipan, educated on pre-war Guam and sent to a mainland seminary after the war.  After ordination, he served his entire priesthood on Guam till his death.

Finally, also members of this prominent branch of Adas are the family of Pedro Martinez Ada.  Born in Saipan but in his youth a resident of Guam, he married Maria Roberto Palomo.  Ton Pedro and Tan Maria began a business of their own before the war that enjoyed greater success after the war.  For many years in the 50s, 60s and 70s, Ada's Market had many branches on the island.  The descendants of Ton Pedro and Tan Maria continue in a variety of businesses, especially with their real estate holdings.

This branch is known by the nickname Boddik.  We know of the disease now called Lytico-Bodig.  The family is not postively certain how they got this nickname.  No one in the family in recent memory had this disease.  One member of the family thinks that Boddik is really a shortening of the word bodega, or basement.  I suppose we'll never know for sure, but the nickname is well-known, especially in Saipan.
Born on Saipan; major Guam businessman

Even though he lived nearly his entire life on Saipan and was one-time mayor and judge on that island, because Juan was born on Guam, he had to be sworn as a citizen of the Trust Territory in 1958.
That's him on the left.

Two-term Governor of Guam
Former Guam senator and current businessman

Guam Senator

Also a member of the Guam Legislature

Married Saipan doctor Jose Diaz Torres
1909 wedding of Jose Martinez Ada and Maria Perez Torres

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a most interesting story...of my 6th great grandfather Pedro Ada and the rest of his descendants.

    Serafina Anderson Grayson