We have submitted the documentary, Across the Water in Time to the Guam International Film Festival. As a result, the documentary will not be viewable online until after the festival.
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



TO JOIN AND PURCHASE DNA TEST GO TO: http://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=GuamandNMarianas


Summer is once again upon us and it is time for our Sizzling Summer event! Our successful summers over the last two years have led us to offer you great values again this year. So, let's work together to grow your projects and to grow our database.

We have been working with Illumina to offer our Family Finder autosomal test for only $99 during our summer event. In fact, if we receive enough orders at $99, Illumina may be able to help us keep it at this extremely low of rate of $99!

As you take advantage of our summer event, remember that the permanency of the $99 Family Finder test is actually in your hands!
Beginning on Thursday, June 27, 2013 and running until Friday, July 26, 2013, we will offer the following:
Family Finder    was $289    Now $99
mtDNA Full Sequence    was $289    Now $189
Y-DNA37    was $169    Now $129
Y-DNA67    was $268    Now $208
Y-DNA111    was $359    Now $308
Family Finder + Y-DNA37    was $368    Now $228
Family Finder + Y-DNA67    was $467    Now $307
Family Finder + mtDNAFullSequence    was $398    Now $288
Comprehensive Genome (Y-DNA67, FMS & FF)    was $666    Now $496

Is Juan Perez, aka John Paris, who was born in 1843 and died in 1928 in Hawaii related to the Perez family on Guam?

The descendants of John Paris on Hawaii carry an oral history that he was from Guam, then a Spanish colonial colony. 

In order to answer the question, DNA testing was performed, ultimately on three groups of people.  Are these people related, and if so, how and how far back in time?

Group 1 – In Hawaii, known descendants of Juan Perez/John Paris [aka Demetrio Perez] which include his great-granddaughter Yolanda and her brother, Benjamin Paris.

Group 2 – From Guam, Jillette, her father

Group 3 – From Guam, Jose Perez.  Jose ultimately tested to be a second cousin of Jillette’s father, but that was unknown prior to DNA testing. 

Two different kinds of DNA testing can be utilized to answer the question.  These two types of tests answer fundamentally different questions.


The Y DNA test tests only the Y chromosome, handed from father to son, unmixed with the DNA of the mother, so it stays mostly intact generation to generation, except for an occasional mutation.

The Yline gives us a great deal of information about the direct paternal line, but no information about any other line.  Comparing the Yline results of 2 men tells us whether they descend from a common ancestor.

1.    In order to determine whether or not the Paris family on Hawaii is genetically the same as the Perez family of Guam, Benjamin Paris, great-grandson of John Paris of Hawaii, and Jose Perez, descendant of the Perez family of Guam, tested.  Indeed, their Y chromosomes do match, with one mutation difference, which would be excepted to occur over time.  Initially, only 12 markers were tested, which included the mutation difference, so the tests were expanded to 37 markers each to confirm the match.  The two men match perfectly on the rest of the markers, so at 37 markers, they still have one mutation difference.

Family Tree DNA provides a tool called TIP which estimates the time to a common ancestor between men whose DNA matches based on the mutation rates of different markers and the known generational distance between the men.  For example, we know that these families aren’t related in the past three generations, since Juan Perez came to Hawaii. 

The TIP tool estimates that at the 50th percentile, these men are likely to be share a common ancestor between 4 and 5 generations ago.  So it’s very likely that either the father of Juan Perez who immigrated to Hawaii was their common ancestor, or his father.  One thing we know for sure, it was after the adoption of Spanish surnames on Guam.  Guam was colonized in the 17th century after the Spanish claimed it in 1565 and the first Catholic missionaries arrived in 1568 and began to baptize people with Spanish given and surnames.

Therefore, if Juan Perez was born in 1843, his father would have been born approximately 1813 and his father approximately 1783, allowing for the average 30 year generation. 

This means that the common ancestor of these two families was probably 5 or 6 generations ago, and possibly more.

The second type of test is autosomal testing which tests all of the DNA passed from both parents to a child, not just the direct Yline of the paternal line.  The reason to use this type of test is that it shows you who your cousins are as measured by the amount of DNA that matches.

DNA is passed to descendants in a predictable way, allowing us to mathematically calculate how closely related two people are – at least roughly.

Each parent gives have of their DNA to a child.  Different children don’t get the same “half” of the parents DNA, so each child inherits somewhat differently.  Therefore,  siblings share approximately half of their DNA. 

You can see in the above chart [courtesy of ISOGG wiki) of that people receive 50% of their parents DNA, 25%, approximately of each grandparent’s DNA, and so forth up the tree.  By the time we reach the great-great grandparents level, you only inherited about 6.25% of your DNA from each grandparent.

In the case of 5th or 6th generation descent, as in our case, we’re looking at each descendant carrying about 3.12% of the DNA at the 5th generation, and 1.56% at the 6th generation.  Two individuals descended from these common ancestors would both carry an estimated 3.12%, but not necessarily the same 3.12%.  In fact, you only share .78% of common DNA with a third cousin and .195% with a 4th cousin. 

I’ve said “on average” and this means that after the parents’ generation, the DNA of each preceding generation is not passed in exactly 50% packets.  In other words, you might not get exactly 25% of the DNA of each of your grandparents, but might receive 20%, 30%, 24% and 26%. 

Autosomal testing is a powerful tool, but it’s less and less specific in terms of exactly how closely people are related, the further back in time relationships and common ancestors reach.

Because of this, it’s important to use the oldest generation available for testing.

1.    We tested 4 individuals using the Family Finder autosomal test at Family Tree DNA; Jillette’s father, Jose Perez from Guam and both Yolanda and Benjamin Paris who are siblings from Hawaii. 

The results were that Jillette’s father matched Jose Perez from Guam as a second cousin, suggesting that they share a common great-grandfather, and at the third cousin level with both Benjamin and Yolanda, suggesting that they share a common great-great-grandfather with Jillette’s Dad. 

We already know that Juan Perez/John Paris was the great-grandfather of Yolanda and Benjamin, so these results suggest that the common ancestor between these individuals is likely the father of Juan Perez/John Paris.

Jose and Benjamin/Yolanda are further removed from each other than is Jillette’s father, so Jose does not show as a match with Benjamin or Yolanda at Family Tree DNA.  Family Tree DNA has established thresholds in terms of the amount of common DNA in a single segment that much match to be considered a “match” within their system.  However, in cases of a known or proven relationship that is several generations back in time, hovering around that 1% of common DNA level, these people may not share a long enough segment of DNA to be considered a “match,” but they are still related. 

By utilizing other tools and then by downloading their raw DNA results into a spreadsheet, we can see smaller segments of DNA that match.  Family Tree DNA utilizes the 5cM (centimorgan) threshold, where we can see to the 1cM threshold on the raw data.  I did this breakout for all parties, and indeed, they did show as related.

On the graph below, each of the three individuals is being compared to Jillette’s Dad.  Notice that in many cases, both Yolanda (blue) and Benjamin (orange), together, match Jillette’s Dad, which would be expected because they are siblings.  There are other cases through where either Yolanda or Benjamin matches Jose (green) on the same segment where they both match Jillette’s Dad.  For example, on chromosome 2, you can see the blue stacked on top of the green.  We also see examples of orange and green as well, but no place do we have orange, blue and green together.  This illustrates how differently siblings (Yolanda and Benjamin) inherit DNA from their parents.

The Question that Remains

We’ve now proven that the Paris/Perez family is one and the same on Guam and Hawaii utilizing Y-line DNA and that these people are all related at some level.  Of course, in genealogy, answers generally produce more questions.

Jillette will have to utilize genealogy records in Guam to determine who the father of Jose Perez was, and indeed, she has made inroads in doing so.

The second question is just how is the Perez family related to Jillette’s family?  We know that her father is likely a second cousin to Jose Perez, meaning they share a common great-grandparent, but whom?  Keep in mind that these are estimates based on the percentage and length of shared DNA, and the cousin estimate could also fall a generation or half-generation (once removed) in either direction.

Looking at Jillette’s Dad’s tree, above, we see that the outermost people are his great-grandparent, and not one of them is a Perez.

This is both a genealogical and a genetic question, and can be approached in both ways simultaneously.  Obviously, were Jillette to discover that the next generation includes a Perez, then the mystery would be solved.  However, using genetics can narrow the scope of this hunt.

Jillette needs to utilize known relationships to narrow the scope of which line descends from the Perez family.

The best way to do this is to test another relative of her grandparents, assuming both grandparents are deceased.  The best bet here is to test a sibling of a grandparent.  If you test a sibling of both grandparents autosomally, one of them should match Jose Perez.  That immediately eliminates half of Jillette’s Dad’s ancestors.  If a sibling of Jillette’s Dad’s grandparents isn’t available, then test their children. 

Let’s say, by way of example, that we have now limited the search to Jillette’s Dad’s paternal line.  That consists of two grandparents, Rita and Justo.  The next step, genetically, is to test people who descend from the parents of Rita and Justo, but not the children of Rita and Justo.  So, Jillette needs to find siblings of Rita and Justo and test their siblings oldest descendants.  Again, one line should match Jose Perez.(1) 

Utilizing this technique, it’s possible to “walk up the tree,” so to speak.  In the meantime, this technique will help Jillette focus on where to concentrate her genealogical efforts. 
                                ~Roberta Estes, Founder, www.DNAeXplained.com

Just returned from off-island travel and have hit the ground running! We interviewed Johnny Flores yesterday in the pouring rain! Johnny has some knowledge of land transactions from his work at real property tax. Hopefully some of the video will be okay as the rain hitting the roof was extremely loud! Dr. Robert Underwood will be interviewed today and tomorrow historians Carlos Madrid and Toni Ramirez will both be interviewed. We hope to finish all of the interviews next week and begin editing the following week.

Now that I am back expect more frequent updates!

~Jillette Leon-Guerrero