Pre-Claveria Decree Surnames of the Sañosas: Justa, San Jose & Mariano

Category: ALBAY
Published Date Written by J.Sañosa

Prior to Governor Claveria's decree of 1849, which required them to choose a new surname derived from a section of the Catálogo containing a list of names that begin with the letter "S",  the populace of Polangui, like the majority of the Filipinos at that time, had surnames taken from Catholic saints or Christian symbols.  A quick look at the church records in Polangui prior to November 1849 shows many families with surnames like: Miguel, Santa Maria, Maria, Salvador, Juan, de los Santos, de los Angeles, and Ygnacio.

As for the Sañosas, Article 7 of Claveria's decree provides a key in determining one of their former names. Article 7 states, "In the lists that will be made for the cabecerias (barangays), in order to complete the register later, each person shall indicate (1) his baptismal name, followed by the new surname which may be assigned to him, and (2) the name which, until then may have served him as surname, leaving him free to retain this as long as he wishes".

In the 1850 baptismal records of Polangui's Church of St. Peter, there is an entry on October 28, 1850 for Feliciana Sabirola whose parents are listed as Domingo Sabirola Maria and Maria Sañosa Justa.  In this baptismal entry, the surnames of Feliciana's parents are juxtaposed with their old names appended to their new ones as directed by Article 7 of the decree.

This entry also shows that before the mid-19th century, the Sañosas had used Justa (pronounced hoos-ta) as a surname. Justa (the feminine form of Justo) is Spanish for a Christian virtue meaning just, upright or righteous. This practice of tying a person's old and new names was eventually discontinued soon after the decree had been fully implemented. 

1850 Baptismal Entry for Feliciana Sabirola from Polangui church records
Domingo is written in its Spanish abbreviated form.

Besides Justa, members of the clan also assumed San Jose and Mariano as surnames. The former is Spanish for St.Joseph, while the latter pertains to Marian devotion (the Virgin Mary).

Prior to 1849, it was not uncommon for members of the same family to not even share the same surname, which was one of the reasons behind the Claveria decree.  This was apparent in the baptismal record of Crispin Sañosa's grandfather, Isabelo (b. July 6, 1844), which identifies him as the son of Aquino Mariano (c. 1825) and the paternal grandson of Pedro San Jose (c. 1806).

July 8, 1844 Baptismal Record of Ysabelo Sañosa (born on Monday, July 6th),
which shows that his father and grandfather did not share the same surname.

Ysabelo (Old Spanish for Isabelo), hijo legitimo de Aquino Mariano y Pacifica Sta. Maria, naturales (abbr.) de este Pueblo del Barangay de Don (? illegible given name of the cabeza de barangay) Sta. Isabel,  nieto por linea paterna de Pedro S. Jose y de Maria Francisca (abbr.). 

Trans: Ysabelo, legitimate son of Aquino Mariano and Pacifica Santa Maria, natives of this town from the village/barrio of Don ? Santa Isabel, grandson through the paternal line of Pedro San Jose and Maria Francisca.


Clavería y Zaldúa, Narciso. Catálogo Alfabético de Apellidos. 1849. Intro. Domingo Abella. Manila: Philippine National Archives, 1973. FamilySearch Microfiche
Owen, Norman G. About the Claveria Decree. Email to J. Sañosa. 6 Feb. 2012.
Registros Parroquiales 1838- 1849. Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, Polangui. FamilySearch Microfiche
Registros Parroquiales 1849- 1857. Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, Polangui. FamilySearch Microfiche.


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