Over the past few days, I have gotten to know a little more about Manuel “Manny” Lujan Borja. The very first time I met him was when the National Organization of Chamorro Veterans in America (NOCVA), Washington Chapter, formed over 10 years ago and we both became members. Thereafter, we became friends on FaceBook, but have not really been in contact with each other until recently. Generally, when I meet up casually with someone and then again later there seems to be some type of connection or calling between us. And like most conversations between CHamoru people, one of the first conversations attempt to establish genealogical connections. Uncle Manny is a Vietnam Veteran and has resided stateside since the 1970’s and since his honorable discharge from the Army. Following the Army, he was employed and retired from Boeing after over 30 years with them.

Ironically, the primary impetus of what brought the two of our paths back together after all these years in between, is the recent passing of his wife Anita (may her soul rest in peace). She is a Filipina and without CHamoru descent. I never even had the honor of meeting her before she passed away earlier this year. I don’t know how to explain this part any further other than to say this as being an incredible way to reconnect with Manny.

When I first started talking to Uncle Manny about his family, there were some names he mentioned that sounded familiar, but I could not immediately place. He told me he knew more about his mother’s side (Lujan, manggåfan Capili and Camacho) than his father’s side (Garcia and Borja). As he continued talking, I pulled out my cell phone and connected to chamorroroots.com. When he was mentioning names, I was able to locate portions of his family tree. He was not listed so I knew I had incomplete information on his lineage. I told him that when I get home I’m going to look further into any data I had on his family.

Later in the evening I started to look more into his family tree. I was able to continue reconstructing his family tree from the variety of sources I have with the CHamoru Roots Genealogy Project. I finally made my family relation connection to him with the Leon Guerrero surname. Not a direct lineal connection, but based on the thesis that all Leon Guerrero’s in the Marianas are related. I also learned that his Guzman lineage, one of his paternal surnames, he descended from the Pistola clan. I learned about the Pistola clan from the work of fellow CHamoru genealogist and historian Malia Ramirez[1]. Since Uncle Manny did not know or was unable to recall much about his paternal lineage, it has prompted me to write this article as I research and so that I can share it with him and whomever may be connected.

The earliest of Uncle Manny’s paternal ancestors I was able to identify were his great grandparents. He is a descendant of Maria Cruz de Guzman (manggåfan Pistola) and Vicente Bazan de Borja, a Chinese-Filipino from Zamboanga, Philippines. Vicente was brought in by the Spanish. Although he was a port helper in Zamboanga, I’m not quite clear as to what he did on Guam or within the Marianas. As for Maria she was first married to Nicolas Cruz de Leon Guerrero, a member of the militia. They had no children. Unfortunately, Nicolas fell off a boat and drowned off Maninu Point between Inarajan and Merizo on June 1, 1860[2].

Maria and Vicente were married on Guam in 1862 and had four children, Manuel (Uncle Manny’s namesake lineage), Josefa, Concepcion and Ursula. This family became known as manggåfan Sanbangenu[3], identifying the origin of this branch of the family. Vicente, unfortunately died at sea in 1868 and the children never had much of chance to learn more about him. When I asked Uncle Manny if he recalls his paternal family clan name as Sanbangenu, his eyes lit up and he definitely recalled it. It’s just been dormant like many other family memories he possesses until he engages in a discussion.

Again, Uncle Manny did not know his paternal side too well and therefore, mostly associates himself with Capili, his mother’s clan. In reviewing some of his Borja family’s funeral announcements several were identified as Sanbangenu. Uncle Manny carries the name of his father and grandfather. Although I was not successful in finding Uncle Manny’s father’s funeral announcement, in his Auntie's funeral announcement his grandfather is listed as “Manuet Sanbangenu.”

As for the Pistola clan, according to family lore, the Guzman clan name Pistola (pistol) is derived from Maria’s father (first name currently unknown by this author), who was also a member of the militia and worked with artillery and armaments. The Pistola clan name is rarely heard of today. Maria had four sisters (Joaquina, Ana and Antonia) and one brother Jose, who had two daughters.


      • 2  Borja, Manuel Guzman  b. Abt 1863 d. ?
        • +  Leon Guerrero, Josefa Castro  b. ? d. ?
          • 3  Borja, Manuel Leon Guerrero   b.1893 d. 1928
          •   Garcia, Concepcion San Nicolas  b. 1894 d. 1947
            • 4 Borja, Manuel Garcia b.1917 d.1995
            •   Lujan, Margarita Camacho (Capili)  b. 1914 d. 1995
              • Borja, Manuel “Manny” Lujan
      • 2  Borja, Josefa Guzman   b. Abt 1864 d. ?
        •   Santos, Antonio Borja  b. ? d. ?
          • 3  Santos, Maria Borja    b. ? d. ?
      • 2  Borja, Dona Concepcion Guzman [1.3]   b. 1865 d. ?
        •   Ramirez, Don Jose Cepeda  b. 1858 d. ?
          • 3  Ramirez, Jesus Borja   b. 4 Apr 1885 d. 29 Apr 1965
          • 3  Ramirez, Dolores de Borja   b. 3 Nov 1888 d. 30 Oct 1976
          • 3  Ramirez, Ana Borja  b. ? d. ?
        •   Leon Guerrero, Don Juan Castro  b. 1872 d. ?
          • 3  Leon Guerrero, Maria Borja    b. 1893 d. 1903
          • 3  Leon Guerrero, Emeliana Borja   b. 1894 d. 1929
          • 3  Borja, Felipe Leon Guerrero   b. 1896 d. 21 Apr 1971
          • 3  Leon Guerrero, Ana Borja    b. 1904 d. ?
          • 3  Leon Guerrero, Isabel Borja   b. 1900 d. Bef 1905
          • 3  Leon Guerrero, Ramon Borja   b. 1902 d. Bef 1905
      • 2  Borja, Ursula Guzman   b. 1868 d. ?
        • +  Santos, Jose Borja  b. 1863 d. ?


[1] Anthony J. Ramirez, also known as Malia. 1983. La Sangri Yama: History of the de Guzman. Panorama Guam Tribune.

[2] R. Levesque. 2004. History of Micronesia: The Progress of Civilization 1852-1858, volume 27. Levesque Publications, Quebec, Canada.

[3] Malia records a different spelling of the name as Sambaguenu, as opposed to what the family recorded in Jesusa Leon Guerrero Borja Tenorio’s funeral announcement, Sanbangenu.


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