*******UPDATES AND COMMENTS BELOW*******
And the story (or was it legend?) thus begun . . . .
Sometime in 1521, there lived Samporna, chief of Cipit, and otherwise known as a rajah of Lanao. In Sanskrit, the word, sampurna, means perfect.
And then like the silent marches of unrecorded history nothing newsworthy was heard of this tribal family until 1779, when the usurping march of the Spaniards under the banner of the Christian cross came to the hapless islands. Thus, with reverential haste and in the name of king and God, a Rev. Pedro de San Barbara gathered together the Samporna family and officiated at its mass christening adopting for them the family name of Neri.
And why an Italian name from a Spanish friar? One can only surmise and note that a St. Philip Neri, an Italian cleric and a popular European saint, must have been in the mind of the named friar.
While the Spaniards kept meticulous records of their exploits overseas, digging that part of the past is still a daunting task, given the crudeness and impermanency of record-keeping methods used by the native islanders.
And searching for the missing links for this family was no exception, for recorded and verifiable history picks it up starting in the very early 1800s. Missing out on at least 25 years, which during those times were truly lifetimes given the shorter lifespans of people then. One could say that people typically then lived for under 50 years, and this family is particularly noted for having forefathers/progenitors who lived short lives when compared to present-day standards.
Then in the 1800s, a profusion of families carrying the name Neri littered local history’s screen. Juan Neri who lived from 1807 to 1857 and was married to Anastacia Chaves. A Leon Neri with nothing much known about other members of his family. A Lino Neri who was gobernadorcillo from 1832-1833. Another was a Salvador Neri, married to a Coronado and was also a gobernadorcillo from 1831-1832.
Only one common thread binds all those names mentioned above, and it is that they all lived at about the same time. But as to the bigger question of whether they were related either as siblings or as cousins, everything is still in a haze. One needs to remember that in times past and is still the practice with our Moslem brethren, multiple wives were common especially with tribal leaders and families with both affluence and influence.
Thus, we could surmise that when reference is made to Samporna family, it was a family composed of one male and several wives, not necessarily related to each other.
Thus, the relations of those named families above could be construed in this manner, unless new data can prove or disprove this hypothesis. Can we ever hope to resolve this confusion and dilemma?
This is particularly crucial because beyond those dates, the history of the families of the Neri is quite accurate and easily traceable. Thus, beyond the middle 1800s, one can almost be sure that data are easily available to trace one’s lineage all the way to the present time.
And if any interested party wants to try and know, we can take that journey together, tracing through data I already possess and other data that may be in the hands of other relatives.
UPDATE: February 21, 2008
Upon suggestion of Mon Neri, I tried ways to replicate the genealogy graph or table that I had hand-written in ways that could be sent and received by any interested party. Browsing through the installed software for my Canon PowerShot cameras, I learned that using the photograph attached below, I could actually read through all the names without difficulty and they all came out legibly. I simply opened the ZoomBrowser on my PC and previewed the photograph. That screen allows one to view the picture in its actual size, which of course would not fit in one's monitor screen. But there is a small navigator inset screen that allows one to navigate through the entire graph and thus enables one to trace lineage with the names.
Good luck to those interested.
And if you have good enough eyesight, one can simply click on the picture and view a much bigger graph.
UPDATE: February 23, 2008
After a little research occasioned by a comment that mentioned the Neri’s of Mambajao, Camiguin, I have herewith added the graph for the Bohol branch of the Neri Genealogy, where the following prominent families belong, that of VP Emmanuel Pelaez and his siblings, the family of currently embattled former NEDA chief Romulo L. Neri, and that of Provincial Board Member Jesus “Dongdong’ Neri of Mambajao.
Since no years of birth or death were provided, it is still difficult to match chronologically this branch with the main graph with the many branches. What is shown is that the Neri’s of Camiguin, Medina and Cebu can trace their lineage to the Bohol branch. Additionally, the Bohol Neri’s also claim that they were descended from the Neri’s of Mindanao, confirming our premise that Mindanao was the primary locus for the original Neri family which traced its origins to 1779 when the name Neri was first introduced in the islands.
The truncated names on the leftmost section are: Mariano Neri, married to Ambrosia Fortich. Click on the image to enlarge.
March 16th, 2009 Update
Toward the end of February of this year, we had an arranged meeting with one of the renowned members of our clan, Dra. Rafaelita "Oche" Pelaez, whose father was Rudolfo Neri Peleaz and who owns and operates one of four universities in Cagayan de Oro (Liceo de Cagayan University). Oche has contracted a well-known local author to write a book about her father who founded the school. And per schedule the book may be out soon. Oche is desirous of adding as much of family origins as possible in the book. Thus, a copy of our extended genealogy was presented to her. And she in turn committed to frame it for public display.
For the records, Oche's paternal grandfather was Nicolas Pelaez of Talisayan, brother to Gregorio Pelaez, Sr. of Medina and father of the illustrious Maning Pelaez. Gregorio was married to Felipa Neri of Bohol.
In turn, Oche's grandmother, Paz Neri, was a younger sister of my paternal grandfather, Ramon Neri.
November 18th 2008 Update
Have already furnished several copies of the extended graph to some local relatives. I still have extra copies that are available. Since I have re-framed the original copy, I intend to hang it inside our little bakery shop on our building located at the corner of A. Velez (Del Mar) and Hayes (Victoria) streets here in Cagayan de Oro. For viewing for those interested.
EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA! ! !
October 25th 2008 Saturday
I have already copied the extended family graph, measuring 3 feet by 2 feet. It does not seem right to fold it into a smaller size for mailing, thus what would be appropriate is to mail it in a paper tube. Would appreciate getting some recommendations. However, if you are in the old hometown of Cagayan de Oro, we could arrange for those interested to take delivery in person. Now remember this is an on-going project and is thus a work in progress. Notations and corrections will be welcomed. But definitely a good and bold start to try to finish our trace of the family all the way to 1779.
Waiting for your inputs.
UPDATE: October 8, 2008
I just discovered this little bit of family history in one of the anonymous comments in some other blog entry. This is a more fleshed-out origin of our Neri family. Thus, this reveals that we are descended not only from Moros or Moslems, but also from Bukidnon aborigines. Very interesting.
Cagayan de Oro History From Beginning to 1950
The city of Cagayan de Oro, which boast of possessing the most beautiful name of all the cities of the country, has an equally beautiful story behind it; a colorful story which takes it start from a woman's smile, so the legend says.
The first inhabitants of Cagayan, many, many years ago, lived in a village on the bank of Taguanao River, eight kilometers south from Cagayan. This was a part of the Bukidnon territory, and later on, they moved on the bank of Kalambagohan River, where Cagayan now stands, and called their settlement Kalambagohan because of the luxuriant growth of "lambago trees". For sometime, the natives lived in the prosperity until the end of the sixteenth century when the Maguindanaos, a rival tribe from Lanao raided and captured the place. The bukidnons after a fight were forced to retreat to the hills.
The aborigines of Kalambagohan were Bukidnons. The horde of barbarous Moros from Maguindanao under Raja Moda Samporna (The Unopposed) demanded the surrender of the villagers who retreated to the hills. The Kalambagohan datu sent his beautiful daughter, guarded by his bravest warriors, to meet the Rajah and to make a conditional surrender: "None in the village should be carried across the countryside was more than confirmed now, and accepted the term of surrender. Her beauty alone was enough to captivate, but her charms wrought destruction to the Rajah, so the stronger leader of Maguindanao warriors began to waver. It was a long story but it ended with the Maguindanao datu thrusting his spear into the stairs of the datu's house which action in those days was symbolic of a man's proposal for marriage. The datu and daughter readily accepted the proposal and thus ended the whirlwind romance. The Maguindanao warrior who started from his camp to subjugate the recapture the rival camp became its prisoner of love. The news of the marriage was received with grief and resentment by the subjects of the captivated Rajah. Rajah Moda Samporna made his warriors build a strong cotta around the village. So, instead of the Moros conquering the Bukidnons, they were the ones captured. The Moro warriors felt so ashamed of the defeat that they never referred to the place as Kalambagohan anymore. Instead, they changed the name "Caayahan" (the Moro word for shame) or Cagayhaan (the Bukidnon word for shame). When the Spaniards came they mispronounced the name of the village, hence, they gradually changed it to Cagayan. Years later, rich gold deposits in sitio Munigi and Pigtaw and in the sand bed of the river were a common discovery so the name Cagayan de Oro came into existence.
MOROS IN CAGAYAN
The Moros intermarried with the Bukidnons. Samporna and his descendants became the ruling families in Cagayhaan. When the Spaniards came, some of Samporna's descendants moved to Boroon, Lanao, and from there to Uatu, Tugaya, and Ganasi in the province of Lanao. Today on the shore of Lake Lanao live Sultan Samporna of Tugaya, Sultan Samporna of Uatu and Sultan Samporna of Ganasi. In Maguindanao, now Cotabato, where the Samporna ancestors originally came from, still live Eman Samporna of Banobo and Eman Samporna of Moling.
COMING OF CHRISTIANITY
The coming of the Spaniards gave a twist to the history of our place when the first missionary from Spain arrived in Cagayhaan in the year 1622 to preach the Christian religion to the natives or Moros. These missionaries belonged to the order of the Recollect. Rev. Pedro de Santa Barbara was one of the most zealous workers of the Cross, and at once baptized their pagan converts. The Samporna families who remarried in Cagayhaan became Christian and they were given the family name of "Neri". Hence, the present Neri families in Cagayan descended from the Moros.