Tuesday, January 16, 2018
A CHAMORRO KING IN AUSTRALIA
The document above tells you that a Joseph King was born in the Ladrone Islands, also known as the Marianas. He was born around 1828 and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1855 while serving on the ship named the City of Sydney. He was naturalized a British subject in 1865.
As we know, "King" is not a surname found in the Marianas during the Spanish era. It is not native Chamorro, nor Spanish nor Filipino, so we must assume that Joseph dropped his original surname and adopted "King." This was often the case with the Chamorro seamen who left the Marianas for good. Sometimes a more Anglo surname was easier for others to pronounce. Sometimes the Chamorro seaman wanted to hide his origins, for different reasons. Some, for example, did not want to be discovered and be sent back to the Marianas. Sometimes ship captains, immigration officers or just others in general gave the overseas Chamorro seaman a new name and it stuck.
So what was Joseph's original surname? Unfortunately, we have no clue from the documents that we have.
One could suppose that maybe his original surname was Reyes (or de los Reyes), since Reyes means "kings" and Joseph changed his name to King. Reyes has been a family name in the Marianas for a very long time. But this is just a wild guess and we have something nowadays that helps us a bit when documents may be lacking. It's called DNA and through DNA testing, some of the Australian descendants of Joseph King have connected with Chamorro relatives using the same DNA tests. None of them are Reyes. So, the search continues!
Joseph married in Australia; a lady named Elizabeth Jane Edwards. He has descendants in Australia to this day, actively pursuing his history. Joseph passed away in Australia on April 11, 1893. RIP
~ with the help of Pamela Johnson, Joseph's descendant
* We know there is a King family in Tinian, with Luta (Rota) roots but that is a whole different story with a completely different beginning from the story we're dealing with concerning Joseph King.