Thursday, September 22, 2016


When we hear the last name Demapan, we think of Saipan and, indeed, Saipan is where the name is numerous and widespread.

But the Saipan Demapans are descendants of a Demapan born on Guam who moved to Saipan around 1898, just as Guam was taken by the U.S. and Saipan remained Spanish until the following year when the Germans occupied it in 1899.


Ramón Demapan, married to Antonia San Nicolás Borja, both of whom were born on Guam, had their first child, María, baptized in Saipan in 1899. They had subsequent children, who are the ancestors of today's Demapans in Saipan.

Ramón was the son of Francisca Demapan, and apparently also the son of a father not married to Francisca. There is only one Francisca Demapan in the 1897 Guam census, and she was aged 44 years in that census and a widow, married to a man named Cruz. Her children with Cruz would have carried the name Cruz. Ramón carried the name Demapan, suggesting that he was Francisca's son out of wedlock. In those days, following Spanish custom, married women kept their maiden names and did not assume their husband's surname.

From Ramón and Antonia came their descendants who, besides being numerous, gave Saipan a good number of government officials and professionals


The håle' or roots of the Demapans lie in Guam, and as far back as 1727 when they appear in the Guam census of that year.

In that census, there is one male Demapan named Diego, married to Antonia Enríquez. He appears in the list of soldiers from Pampanga in the Philippines. In 1727, his named was spelled Manapang, but he appears in the 1758 Census as Diego Demapan, married to the same Antonia Enríquez. Clerical errors, and a big flexibility in spelling, was common in the past. In fact, the copy of the 1727 Census I have is a modern transcription, and not the original manuscript. So, for all I know, the typist some years ago misread the original manuscript. One day I'll check the original myself and compare. But it is quite clear that the Diego Manapang married to Antonia Enríquez in 1727 is the same Diego Demapan married to Antonia Enríquez in 1758.

As Diego is the only male Demapan on Guam, it could be that all Demapans, those who remained on Guam and Ramón who moved from Guam to Saipan, are descendants of Diego. Diego and Antonia had one son, Francisco Javier, who was still unmarried in 1758 but it is possible that he later married and had children to carry on the Demapan name.

Two other Demapans in the 1758 Census are women who married and whose children carried on their husbands' names. These two women named Demapan could either be sisters of Diego or his daughters.

Whatever the case, the Demapan family on Guam did not grow into a huge clan. Here's what we can decipher about the main lines of the family :

There are two Demapans on Guam in 1897 that seem to be brothers.

Francisco Arceo Demapan (age 56) and Vicente Arceo Demapan (age 52).

The two other Demapans on Guam on Guam in 1897 are around the same age :

Ignacio Demapan (age 52) and Francisca Demapan (age 44), who, as I mentioned above, was possibly Ramón's mother. It is possible, but not certain, that Ignacio and Francisca were siblings of Francisco and Vicente and would therefore be, if this is true, Arceo Demapans. Further research is needed.

Francisco married but had no children.

The Guam Demapans trace their lineage to either Ignacio or Vicente.


According to the 1727 Census, Diego Demapan was a soldier in the Pampanga Infantry. That would most likely make him either a Filipino, or the son of a Filipino. The surname Demapan is not found in Spain. It is more than likely a Filipino name. There are Filipinos with the surname Demapan, as seen below in a list of college graduates in the Philippines.

In the Spanish records of the Marianas, the name is spelled in many ways. Demapan, Dimapan, De Mapan, De Mapang.....and even the rather "off" Manapang of 1727.

The combination "de Mapan" makes me wonder if the name means "of/from Mapan." Many surnames came from just that kind of construction; to be called by your town of origin.

And, lo and behold, there are towns, villages and hamlets in the Philippines called Mapan or Mapang, too many, in fact, to be helpful in pinpointing which town Demapan could be referring to. Oh well. Another unsolved mystery, for now.

1 comment:

  1. My great great great grandmother was Petra de Mapan. Born in Agaña, Guam and died in Guam. She married Tomas Palacios. Born in the Philippines and died in Guam. I'm not sure if he's a native Filipino or Spaniard. They had a son named Francisco Demapan Palacios, born in Guam and he married Nieves Delos Reyes Dela Cruz, b.1841, Guam-d.1896, Saipan, NMI. Daughter of Jose Dela Cruz and Marta Delos Reyes. From Francisco Demapan Palacios and Nieves Delos Reyes Dela Cruz, were born all the Palacios family of Saipan. My great grandmother, Maria Dela Cruz Palacios (married Nicolas Pangelinan Muña) was the 4th child out of the 13 children.