Friday, June 29, 2012


Today's last name is considered a truly indigenous Chamorro name.  It certainly isn't Spanish or Filipino.  Remember that these spellings come from the Spaniards who spelled it the way they heard the name and filtered what they heard through their ears.  Even the Spaniards spelled a name two or more ways : Fejeran, Fejaran, Fejarang, Fejerang.

As I often point out to help us understand why this is so, imagine if I asked you to start writing what you hear if I began speaking to you in French or Italian.  Chances are you will not spell it correctly, according to standard French or Italian (assuming you didn't take French or Italian classes).  The same thing goes for the Spaniards when hearing Chamorro.

Now, what does Fejeran mean?  The first thing that attracts my attention is the prefix "fe."  We see it in the name Fegurgur.  Knowing that Fegurgur was spelled many ways, including Fegotgot, we look up the word gotgot and find out it does have a meaning, "gossiper, story-teller, blabbermouth."

And what about "fe?"  No modern dictionary talks about it, and all Påle' Roman says is that it is a radical, meaning a root word, but gives us no meaning.  Is it possibly a variant of fa', which means "to change, make, pretend?"

Perhaps the "jeran/jaran/jerang/jarang" ending are all variations of hålang, since the Spaniards often confused, in Chamorro, the L and the R (think of Malesso' versus Merizo)  If so, then Fejeran/Fejaran/Fejarang/Fejerang might have something to do with a loss of heart, which is what hålang means.

Now, in 1897, there are many Fejerans, Fejarans, Fejerangs and Fejarangs living in Hagåtña proper.  But the good number of people with those last names in Asan and Piti (Tepungan) leads me to believe that those two villages are probably the ancestral homes of people with these names, and that in time some of them moved into the capital city, which at the beginning of the 1700s had few Chamorro male heads of households living in it but was home to all the newcomers with names like Leon Guerrero, Camacho, Pangelinan and so on.

Don't be confused by the multiple spellings.  They are all really one name and quite possibly descendants of the same ancestors, more than likely someone from Asan or Piti (Tepungan).

SAIPAN.  I do know that Fejerans from Guam went north, to Saipan for sure (I knew some of them) but perhaps also to Rota and Tinian.  Not sure.

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