Friday, September 30, 2016


Former Mayor Buck Cruz
and a photo of his late father Ramón Padilla Cruz

This series called "Lost Surnames" looks at families who were once here, and are still here in their descendants, but whose names have been lost because no one anymore carries the name as their last name.

One such family are the Padillas.

The name does not appear in the all-important 1727 or 1758 censuses; important because those documents would tell us (for the most part) if the family ancestor was a member of the Spanish regiment of soldiers or of the Pampanga (Philippines) regiment instead.

So we cannot even say where the first Padilla on Guam was from. It's a Spanish name, so he could have been from the Philippines or Latin America, and a smaller chance of being from Spain itself.

From the baptismal records that have survived, it seems that our first Padilla to appear in the Guam records was one Bruno Padilla, who married Nicolasa de la Cruz. The couple seems to have had nothing but daughters, unless sons died in childhood. This explains why the name died out.

Bruno Padilla's signature in 1861

One daughter, Maria, had a daughter, Vicenta, out of wedlock, but Vicenta later married a man from Malesso', Ignacio Pangelinan de la Cruz. These were the parents of Ramón Padilla Cruz, the father of Mayor Buck.

But, eventually, Maria married Juan de León Guerrero Campos and moved to Saipan.

Maria's sister Isabel also moved to Saipan where she married the American William Jones (spelled Johns in the Spanish records). These records state that Isabel was the daughter of Bruno Padilla and a Rita de la Cruz. Could this be the same Nicolasa? Once in a while in these records, the same person is called by two different first names. Or, are Rita and Nicolasa two different people? Possibly sisters? In any case, Bruno Padilla is the father. So Maria and Isabel are, at the very least, half-sisters.

Isabel, by the way, had a prior marriage to Francisco de León Guerrero.

Finally, we have a Joaquina, daughter of Bruno and Nicolasa. She stayed on Guam, married to José Aguon Laguaña. This couple had many children.

So, while Maria, Isabel and Joaquina could not sustain the Padilla last name, the Padilla blood runs in the veins of many Chamorros in Saipan, Guam and wherever else they moved.

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