Top left: Justo Torre Leon Guerrero and Sally Jean Wessel Leon Guerrero in London 1956. Dad was stationed there and my sister Sally was born in Cambridge.

Bottom left: Photo from the collection of nana’s sister Agueda Iglesias Johnson.

Right: Photo from the collection of Edwina Jose. Guam Women’s club members in national dress.

What’s New!

Searching for John (Juan?) Perez
who immigrated to Hawaii around 1857

I have a new challenge! A few months ago someone who had joined the Guam and CNMI DNA project contacted me. She was looking for her great grandfather, John Perez. After coming up against some brick walls I suggested that she have additional DNA testing that reveals closer relationships (a test called Family Finder.) When we received the results they revealed she and I were related and could be as close as 2nd cousins, as far as 4th cousins but most likely 3rd cousins!

I am turning to the community to see if we can find any information on him, as the time period that he was in Guam was not well documented.

Here is what we have so far:

He was born between 1840 and 1845 in Guam according to his death certificate.

In the 1890 Hawaii census he is listed with a Guerrero family (possibly a Leon Guerrero?) In this census he is also reported to have immigrated to Hawaii about 1857-64.

His first child was born in 1875 in Hawaii

He married Kiainiu, a pure Hawaiian in 1877

John cultivated Taro Patch’s (1900 census) was a Laborer (1910 census) and worked on the plantations in Kaua’i, Hawaii. The Kaua’i Directory 1898-1901 lists John as a saddle maker. He taught his son Tom and grandson George how to make bull whips. They sold them to make extra money. My contact thinks they were farmers, plantation workers and cowboys. John Perez was known to be very stern, mean to some of the grandchildren. George on the other hand was very kind and gentle. Some of the family stories are that Tom was very strong, so strong that he could carry a horse. George was known to be somewhat of a cowboy for the Kekaha Sugar Mill in his younger days. When he moved to Honolulu, he found work as a cement truck driver for HC&D that lasted 30 years.

Juan (John) birthplace is listed on various census records as Guam or Spain. BUT all record his ethnic group as Spanish. This makes sense since Guam was a Spanish colony at the time and it was probably easier for people to understand that he was Spanish. The earliest record the family has is the 1890 census and the baptismal papers for three of his children. All records show that he went by the name of JOHN PEREZ. The name has been misspelled in various ways: Perez, Peres, Parise, Paries. The family now uses the spelling PARIS.

If anyone has any information about a relative who may match this person who and who may or may not be related to the Leon Guerrero family please contact me at