Who is Roseline?
It started with a photo. I was preparing for a family reunion and started doing research on my grandfather, Osmundo N. Saguil, Sr. when I uncovered a mystery.
II I found his manifest going back to the Philippines. He arrived in the United States as a single man, but was traveling back with a young child named Roseline Saguil. Who was Roseline?
He came to the United States in the late 1920's as a 'pensionado' from the Philippines. The United States Congress passed the Pensionado Act in 1903 which allowed academically gifted scholars to come to the United States to study American education and enlightenment. The Philippines at the time was a territory of the United States, and the Pensionado Act was a way to germinate American ideals through education onto their Philippine soil. After the scholars graduated from college, they returned back to the Philippines.
My grandfather graducated from George Washington University in 1932 with a BA Education and English. This was no small feat considering higher education was out of reach of most Americans.
I traced his journey back to Manila, and found the manifest of the ship he was on, the Shinyo Maru. He sailed on August 23, 1932. The mystery is that he was traveling with a young child, Roseline Saguil. Who is Roseline? I asked myself, could this be my grandfather's daughter from his adventures in the United States?
Mr. Mann's Design was engaged to produce a reunion for my family. I thought it would be a perfect teaser for my remarks and greetings to my family if I could solve the mystery of Roseline Saguil. I couldn't wait to see my aunt's face who was flying in from Manila to attend my cousin's wedding which was before the reunion. And everyone was going to be there.
I used two search engines, ancestry.com and familysearch.org. I was able to trace back Roseline's parents. But her father was not Osmundo. It was Francisco Saguil. Still, Saguil is a relatively uncommon surname. So what was the relationship with my grandfather Osmundo to Francisco?
The online searches reached a dead end. Due to WW2, many vital statistic records in the Philippines were destroyed during the war. I tried one thing more.
Word of mouth, passing traditions orally was not destroyed during the war. The modern form of word of mouth is social media. I randomly did a search on Facebook for Francisco Saguil. I could not find anyone, but I did find someone named 'Frankie Saguil'. I had nothing to lose but to private message him. I told him I was searching a family tree and came up with someone named Roseline Saguil. Frankie replied that Roseline was his aunt, and his grandfather was Francisco.
We found a long lost connection and put the pieces together: I always assumed that my grandfather was the first in the United States, but it turned out that Francisco, my grandfather's uncle, came to the United States 10 years prior as a stowaway too find his fortune in Hawaii. He prospered and when my grandfather won a scholarship to George Washington University, he stayed with his uncle Fransisco to acclimate in Hawaii prior to traveling to the East Coast.
When my grandfather finished his studies he returned back to the Philippines, and along his way, escorted Roseline, his cousin, back to see family at home.
Frankie and I have much in common, but the profoundness of finding each other still inspires me. Here I am, Osmundo the grandson of Osmundo, meeting Frankie the grandson of Francisco much due to chances taken, on social media.
Mr. Mann's Design put on a great family reunion. The venue, the entertainment, the food were spectacular. But for me the highlight of the evening was telling all my family the incredible journey of discovery, and at the end, introducing them to their long lost relatives who were secret guests in attendance: Frankie, his mother and father, Eva and Paul.
Sadly, Roseline passed away years before, but I'm sure she was there with us, laughing, eating, enjoying the love that bound a family together.