Early Members of the Perez Family in Mandaue

18th Century Family Members

There is limited information available on the early members of Perez family of Mandaue.  The major, readily available source is the "Protocolos"23, which contains notarial and court records .  While the records in this source are limited to individuals with substantial wealth, they do provide interesting insights into the Perez family in the 19th.  Below we describe the beginning of the Perez name and summarize the information available on the early Perez family.

The results of our search of the Protocolos records is summarized on the accompanying Table.

The Perez Name:

Francisco Perez
Signature of Francisco Perez
The Perez name of our ancestors came into existence in mid-1850 as a consequence of a decree by the Governor General of the Philippines, Don Narciso Claveria.  Prior to 1850, almost all residents of the Philippines were known by two names, neither of which functioned as a surname.  For example, Josef Silvestre had a son named Juan Igancio, and later the son became Juan Cabajug.  Without additional information, we would not know that Juan Cabajug and Juan Ignacio were the same person.  fortunately, for a few years during the transition to the new surnames a person's name was recorded with the old name and new surname combined.  An example is Francisco Perez Romano, the first member of the Perez family to appear in the Protocolos.  This notation tells us that Francisco Perez was know as Francisco Romano prior 1850.  In most cases the appended second name was soon dropped, although our example is now known as Francisco Romano Perez.  Unfortunately, the records of St. Joseph, the most useful in tracing ones family with this method, were destroyed in World Was II.  This places a significant limit on our knowledge of the Perez family's early history.

On the positive side, Claveria's decree specified detailed procedures for selecting a surname, which assured that all members of the same family received the same surname.  Thus it is highly unlikely that brothers would be allowed to choose different surnames.  Further, in closely knit families, it is likely cousins would choose the same surname, especially if they lived in the same town.  It is therefore very likely that all persons in Mandaue who were given the Perez surname are related.  We have made this assumption in following discussion of the early family. 

The Perez Family in the 19
th Century:

The entries for Perez family members found in the Protocolos are listed in the accompanying Table.  They give an interesting glimpse of the early Perez family by documenting the family of Jorge Perez and uncovering other, unknown family members of thy Perez family.

Jorge Perez
Name of Jorge Perez in the Protcolos
The Family of Jorge Perez:  Probably the most important entry in the Protocolos related to the Perez family was recorded in 1868, when Francisco Perez purchased a plot of land in Butuanon, Mandaue.  The record describes the plot and list the owners of neighboring plots, typical of such records.  One of these owners is Jorge Perez.  This is the only historical documentation establishing the existence of Jorge Perez, and, by the association with Francisco Perez, it supports Jorge's relationship as the father of Francisco, thus confirming the memory of Conrado Perez.

Other entries in the Protocolos for Eulogio, Hilario, Ignacio, Severo Perez and particularly Esteban and Francisco Perez show that they were prosperous landowners who belonged to the upper class of Mandaue society at the time.  This is illustrated by the 1864 entry of Francisco Perez Romano, who granted a special Power-of-Attorney to Nicolas Fornelles de Factor.  The power-of-attorney was for a court case against Don Mamerto Luis and Don Mariano Medina over a contract to purchase rice (palay).  Francisco's standing in the community is indicated by the use of the honorific "Don".  Interestingly, Francisco made his statement through an interpreter, indicating he was not fluent in Spanish.

Finally, the 1896 entry of Severo Perez further exemplifies the standing of Jorge's family.  Here, Severo acknowledges a debt to Don Tomas Osmeña in the amount of 9,790 pesos and 46 centimos.  The record goes on to list several properties in the town of Salonga, Cebu, which Severo and his siblings inherited from their father, Esteban Perez, and which were used as collateral for Severo's debt.  This shows that Esteban had business interests in distant towns outside Mandaue, further establishing the standing of our Perez family.

Other Perez Entries:  Several other members of the Perez family are found in the accompanying Table.  These include Damaso, Felipe, Loreto, Luis, Meliton and Romano Perez among the early entries.  All these and others are likely relatives of Jorge Perez and his family.  There records of land purchases and sales and as property owners add to the overall impression that the Perez family was among the leading families in Mandaue.

Will of Gregoria Perez
First Page
Two records stand out as of particular interest:  Those of Doña Juana Perez, age 72, and Doña Gregoria Perez, age 60.  In 1876, these unmarried sisters recorded their "Testamentos" (wills) in which they bequeathed several properties to their nephews and nieces.  The importance of Juana and Gregoria's wills, however, lies in their declaration that their parents were Gregorio Perez and Marcela Rosal.  Since Juana and Gregoria were born in the early 1800's, Gregorio Perez must have been born in the last half of the 1700's.  Thus he is the earliest known member of the Perez family of Mandaue.  It is clear from the wills that he lived in Mandaue when Juana and Gregoria were born, and may have been a resident much earlier.

It is interesting to speculate on the relationship of Jorge Perez to Juana and Gregoria.  Since they all bear the same surname, it is highly likely that the three were closely related, as argued above.  Further, Jorge was apparently alive in 1868, suggesting he was a contemporary of Juana and Gregoria, in which case he must have been their brother or cousin.  The only other realistic alternative is that Jorge was brother of Gregorio.  Finally, Juana and Gregoria's wills do not mention any of Jorge's children, which argues against their being siblings.  That leaves cousins as the most likely relationship.  Unfortunately, we will likely never know.

In the end, the Protocolos gives a picture of a prosperous family of landowners and businessmen who where in the upper level of Mandaue society.

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