I just finished turning in everything for the documentary to PBS Guam. (Said with a huge sigh of relief!)

What a process this has been! Much more work than I originally envisioned but I am happy that it is almost done. What was I thinking?!?  Conducting research, building a website, producing a documentary and three public presentations all within one project. Whew! Almost there!

I know it may be a little early but I’d like to recognize all those who have helped in this process by either contributing financial resources or time and expertise.  I have added a new page to the website entitled ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS toward this end.

Since I am on this topic, I must single out a couple of people who really helped me when I was buried beneath the weight of the project.  Bal Aguon served as my sounding board and cheering squad – his calm demeanor and unwavering encouragement really help lift my spirits when I was in the depths of despair and wondering what I had got myself into. Carlos Madrid was always cheerful, available and helpful when I asked for his expert advice or assistance. (Which was often.)  He was always positive and eager to discuss historical research and offered additional resources to investigate. Always willing to share his knowledge, Carlos contributed much to the project. Carina Fejerang who despite her busy life, took a week to accompany me to Hawaii to assist with the shooting of the documentary and research. A positive and capable individual who I can always count on continues to lend her business acumen to helping raise funds to defray the costs of the project.  Rosanna Barcinas was like the Calvary arriving! Only a few days after returning from off island travel she jumped right in to help me when I was drowning in work – almost paralyzed. Always committed to what ever she does with a strong work ethic, she stepped in and got to work! Her ability to see the best in people and rally the troops was a godsend.  On top of that, she is a joy to be around!

These individuals all volunteered their help with no promise of monetary gain for the sake of the project. While Bal, Carlos, Carina and Rosanna have been my friends for years, their commitment goes beyond the bounds of friendship and I am truly grateful.    

I must also mention Yolanda Paris Sugimoto, my newfound cousin, who was a dream to work with! She was always eager to respond to my requests for information in a timely manner. She is another individual with a great work ethic but with the added bonus of being a warm and crazy kinda gal. A kindred spirit, our new friendship will last a lifetime.

My last mention goes to my husband, Jean Paul Lescure, who supports me both emotionally and financially! Without his continued support for my endeavors, I would not be able to pursue my love of research and history. I am fortunate to have a husband who not only loves me, but believes in me as well.

I am truly a fortunate person.

~Jillette Leon-Guerrero

We have finalized the panelists, dates and locations for the public presentations of the documentary and panel discussions. Each event will start out with a showing of the documentary and the panel discussion will follow:

6 p.m.  21 August 2013, Hyatt Regency Guam, Tumon
Panelist include: Herman Guerrero, (NMI) Historian, Genealogist; Anthony Ramirez, Historian, Genealogist; Pale Eric Forbes,S.J. Genealogist; Monique Storie, PhD, Director, Micronesian Area Research Center and Evelyn Flores, PhD, University of Guam

Genealogy is a record of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors. Our identity is first obtained from our family and sustained through family traditions and family history passed down to us by our elders. 

In the process of  “proving” a lineage, those conducting family history research can reveal information that has been purposefully suppressed by family members. With genetic genealogy we can now scientifically “prove” the ancestry and lineages of individuals. While this can open up new areas of inquiry it can also disprove long-held beliefs of ones identity. In some cases this can determine the future of a person by determining what opportunities are open to them.

In “Go ask you father: One Man’s Obsession with Finding his Origins through DNA testing” Lennard Davis recounts his journey after being told that his uncle was his biological father through artificial insemination. He was in denial for decades but when his uncle died he became obsessed with finding the truth. Along the way he had to deal with legal and ethical questions concerning the right to know and the right to privacy of both the living and the dead.  Questions regarding the right to access information, the right to keep information private, the right to own and benefit from information or the right to security by controlling information. Ethical questions are usually thought of as between “right” and “wrong. ” Sometimes we find ethical questions between competing “rights.”  

2 p.m., 22 August 2013 CAHA Gallery, Hagåtña
Panelists include: Bal Aguon, MFA, filmmaker; Judy Flores, PhD, Scholar/artist; Michael Bevacqua, PhD, Scholar/artist 

History is susceptible to manipulation and distortion. When used responsibly it can help us to understand why we think and react in certain ways and assist us in planning the future. But many times history is interpreted and delivered through the lens of the teller and their prejudices. “Collective Memory” is many times shaped by sometimes false and incomplete history.  Leaders have been known to suppress history or used incomplete, on-sided or false history to achieve their goals. In some cases the goal may be to build solidarity and pride, or to hold on to myths that have been perpetuated through time. Sometimes history is used to recount past atrocities in order to seek redress and used to treat others badly such as seizing property, persecuting and killing others. History is also abused when people ignore or suppress evidence that might challenge a preferred view of the past. Artists and filmmakers interpret history for the general public. What role do they play in shaping this collective memory? Do they have a responsibility to portray history accurately? 

6 p.m. 23 August 2013 CLASS Lecture Hall, University of Guam

Panelists include: Robert Underwood, PhD, President, University of Guam; Carlos Madrid, PhD, Researcher, Historian; Anthony Ramirez, Historian, Genealogist, David Atienza, PhD, Assistant Professor, Anthropologist

“It can be dangerous to question the stories people tell about themselves because so much of our identity is both shaped by and bound up with our history. That is why dealing with the past, in deciding on which version we want, or on what we want to remember and to forget, can become so politically charged.”  

 ~Margaret McMillian in “The Use and Abuse of History”

Our identity is obtained from the communities that we are born into and those we choose to be a member of. These communities can be based on a variety of things such as sex, age, gender, ethnicity, social status, geography, nationality, religion, clan, family, occupation, culture and so on. The boundaries of these communities can change with time and identity is an ongoing process. For example, teenagers were virtually unknown prior to the 1900s. There were only children and adults. Now we not only have teenagers but pre-teens now called “tweens,” toddlers and so on. Once we were Americans, now we are African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Jewish-Americans etc.

If we are a part of a group, it implies that we have a shared history and that we are part of something larger that is more enduring than ourselves. It is comforting and gives us models for our behavior. We are taught to act a certain way to conform to the beliefs of the group. In some groups women must be meek and submissive, in others outsiders are not to be trusted, in some we cannot marry outside the group.

Author and scholar, Benedict Anderson coined the term “imagined community” for groups that are so large that one can never know all the members, yet can still draw loyalty from members. An example would be religions, nations or ethnicities.  These imagined communities mark their identities with symbols, such as flags, songs, chants and specific clothing. History is a way of enforcing the “imagined community” and plays a part in the creating a sense of cohesiveness for members. Celebratory in nature, these histories are usually one-sided or simplistic. Creative license with songs, poems and stories that perpetuate these histories often serves to immortalize incorrect information transforming history into myth.  

Our project is getting some exposure on Roberta Estes blog!

To read the entry visit


        ~ Jillette Leon-Guerrero

I am trying to establish a familial connection between the landowners surrounding the land originally owned by Demetrio Perez. I do this in order to test my theory that members of an extended family many times owned land adjacent to each other. If this is the case and we can establish a familial connection between those listed below then we can assume that Demetrio was a member of this clan.   If you have any information regarding any of these families I would appreciate it if you could contact me at info@acrossthewaterintime.com or submit a comment below.

Land sold by Demetrio Perez in 1868 to Jose Blas Asuncion was located in Jalaguac and was a cocoa and coffee plantation. It was originally bordered by land owned by:

On the East: Gertrudis Tenorio and Jose Flores. There are two Gestrudes Tenorio’s listed in the 1897 census. One is a widow born about 1841. She is listed on page 99-65b and another that is 8 years old listed a few pages later (99-69a). She is the daughter of Felipe Tenorio, 34 years old and Tomas Eustaquio, 33 years old. It seems probable that Felipe and the elder Gerstrudes are related.  She seems to be a good candidate for the Gertrudis Tenorio listed on the land document.

There is only one Don Jose Flores born 1829 listed on page 99-50. He is married to a Maria de la Cruz, 57 years old.

On the North: Mariano de la Cruz. There were several Mariano de la Cruz’s listed in the census but one was listed in close proximity to Tenorio and Flores above. Mariano de la Cruz 60, on page 99-67b was married to Maria Peredo, 59. The other candidates are:

page 99-21a he is 59 and married to Maria Blaz, 38.

page 99-4a Mariano de la Cruz, 38 married to Josefa de los Santos, 36.

Page 99-6b Mariano de la Cruz, 43 married to  Apolonaria Mendiola, 42.

The other Mariano de la Cruz’s appear too young to be landowners but it cannot be ruled out.

On the South: Francisca Perez. There are three possible candidates. 60 year-old Francisca Perez, a widow on page 99-4b lives with Josefa de Salas  32; Maria de Salas 26, Jesus de Salas 6 and Rosa de Salas 5. Another Francisca Perez is listed on page 99-6a lives with Ramon de los Santos, 56 and Ana Pablo, 57 and Miguel de los Santos married to Nieves Taitano, 35 and several other de los Santos family members. Francisca Perez 42, the daughter of Paula Perez, 67 lives right next to Felipe Tenorio above and is listed on page  99-69a.

On the West: Don Francisco Taitano (aka Francisco Taitano Perez and Francisco Perez Taitano) 99-63. He is married to Maria Encarnacion and is the father of Atancaio Taitano married to Carmen Duenas listed below him.  

As for Jose Blas Asuncion, on page 99-64b of the 1897 census there are several Blas-Asuncion family members: Vicente, 43 Antonio 24 and Lorenzo 17. Their mother is a widow: Ana Blaz (63). While I could find no Jose Blas Asuncion, it appears that this is the family of Jose Blas Asuncion.

It appears that most of these individuals live in close proximity to each other if you take their placement in the census as an indicator of the location of their household. Whether or not this is the case - or even significant, remains to be seen.

                                                                                                                  ~Jillette Leon-Guerrero