In our case, the church records of the San Sebastian Church of San Narciso, Zambales are still there on top of the convent shelves, now very brittle and gathering dust, some pages burned by acidic ink or mangled by generations of termites. Fortunately, these were microfilmed sometime in the ‘60s or ‘70s; thus, we were able to read the extant bautismos, matrimonios and defuntos of the Hispanic period of our town’s history starting from 1849, when the church was built.
However, records of our ancestors when San Narciso was the Ilocano barrio Alasis or Alasiis attached to the Zambal town of Cabangaan (now Cabangan), and was a visita of that parish around 1836-1838 to 1849, are forever lost.
Folk lore tells that our town was formed by settlers from Paoay, Ilocos Norte. The microfilmed baptismal and marriage records of this town's St Augustine of Hippo Church confirmed that our forebears really came from there.
One thing was clear: there was no Farin among the surnames of Paoay folks before the Ilocano migration in the 1830s and 1840s to the coastal plain of Zambales between Cabangan town and the barrio that later evolved into Castillejos town. Into this plain also settled Sur and Norte Ilocanos whose barrios would become San Marcelino, San Antonio and San Felipe.
The name of one woman started our journey of discovery through the Paoay records. She was our great-great-greatgrandmother, Ana Gonong, who, in the Zambales records, was married to Carlos Farin.
She was born on 24 July 1804. We stumbled on her other siblings in the Paoay baptismal files--Damiana (23 September 1806) and Andrea (24 November 1811)—and in the matrimonial books—Santiago, Petrona, Francisca and Venancio. They were children of a well-off couple Don Pasqual Gonong and Doña Pasquala Bernabe who belonged to the barangay of Don Pasqual Concepcion (their names suggest they were baptized on a Sunday that was a Christmas day).
That an Ana Gonong married a Carlos de Dios on 03 June 1822 in the Paoay books jolted our memory to an antique document signed by the cura parroco of Paoay attesting that he baptized Juan de Dios, son of the couple, on 10 Mar 1828. That document is being kept by an aunt in California who remembers being told by her father, also a Juan, patriarch of our youth, that this de Dios changed his surname to Farin. They also had an older son, the earliest Juan, who was baptized on 24 May 1823.
Carlos descended from another well-off family, Don Manuel de Dios and Dna Sebastiana Abad. He was born on 02 November 1803.
One link was finally found: the Geronimo Farin line to which we belong started from the Carlos de Dios-Ana Gonong matrimony in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Carlos Farin and Ana Gonong were listed as abuelos paternos (paternal grandparents) of Geronimo’s children born after 1865 (baptismal records did not have abuelos in the earlier years).
Claveria declared, “[f]amilies who can prove that they have kept for four generations their surname, even though it may be the name of a saint, but not those like de la Cruz, de los Santos, and some others which are so numerous that they would continue producing confusion, may pass them on to their descendants; the Reverend Fathers and the heads of provinces are advised to use their judgement in the implementation of this article.” The last clause suggests why not all the de Dios in San Narciso at that time switched to Farin.
|Baptism of Manuel Farin Eugenio, 27 Jul 1851, as recorded in the San Narciso, Zambales church files. He was the son of Modesto Farin Eugenio and Francisca Gonong,|
When we found Andrea and Francisca Gonong, we remembered that these names are in two other Farin lines in our town, both of which we were able to establish as both Eugenio on the paternal side, finally configuring relationships through the church records of San Narciso and Paoay.
It baffled that there was only Francisca in the Eugenio family line before 1849. She married Modesto Eugenio, son of another well-off couple, Don Manuel Eugenio and Doña Paula Evangelista in the Paoay records, on 11 April 1842. When Manuel was born to Modesto and Francisca in San Narciso, he was baptized Manuel Farin Eugenio on 27 July 1851.
Ana could have convinced Modesto Eugenio and her sister Francisca to adopt their new Farin surname as well even if the Eugenio surname was not in the banned list or those that were “so numerous.” Could Ana and Francisca have contrived to perpetuate their sisterhood by this new surname? During the Spanish regime, men and women carried their given names to the grave; women did not assume their husbands’ surnames. Ana and Francisca could have thought then that their Gonong link would be preserved among future generations through their common stamp, the Farin surname.
Juan (surnamed Farin Eugenio in post-1849 records of San Narciso),brother of Modesto, married Eduarda Fontillas de los Santos (as also recorded), and their son Mariano was born and baptized in San Narciso in December 1851.
|Mariano, son of Juan Farin Eugenio and Eduarda Fontillas de los Santos, was baptized on 07 Dec 1851 at the San Sebastian Church, San Narciso, Zambales. Before he turned 20, he married Nicolasa Guieb, daughter of Bonifacio Guieb and Andrea Gonong.|
Since Modesto’s son Manuel was baptized a Farin Eugenio earlier in July, would it not be appropriate to have Mariano be baptized a Farin Eugenio as well? It could have been Modesto urging his brother Juan to do so.
Mariano Farin Eugenio would, sometime in the late 1860s, marry Nicolasa Guieb, daughter of Bonifacio Guieb and Andrea Gonong. Andrea was, serendipitiously, the aunt of his uncle Modesto Farin Eugenio's children.
“In the lists that will be made for the cabecerias, in order to complete the register later,” the Claveria decree stated, ”each person shall indicate (a) his baptismal name, followed by the new surname which may be assigned to him, and (b) the name which, until then may have served him as surname, leaving him free to retain this as long as he wishes.”
The Eugenio and the de Dios surnames were not retained for long.
It was under the regime of Gov. Gen. Narciso Claveria that the Ilocano barrios of Cabangan were constituted into a new town in 1846, and it was also under him that many genealogies were altered because of his 1849 decree urging for the change of surnames.
Thus, there exists today kinships on nominal terms (sharing the same surname) or on true bloodlines. In this story, we have gone as far as tracing the Gonong roots. We have yet to flesh the Eugenio and De Dios sides of the big Farin umbrella.
1. Manuscripts in films at the Family History Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Temple Drive, Quezon City:
- Registros parroquiales, 1758-1979 of the Conversion of St Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church, Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
- Registros parroquiales, 1849-150 of the San Sebastian Catholic Church, San Narciso Zambales.
2. Decree of 21 November 1849. Retrieved from http://www.zahlerweb.info/pm/claveria.htm