I’m new to this site, so if I bungle the protocols please forgive me. My husband and I are considering moving to Spain from northern Europe. I’m American, he’s Dutch. My last name is Spanish. I understand that the Law of Historical Memory just expired, but I’m wondering if it would help at all (to get Spanish citizenship) if I can show that I am descended from a Spanish great grandfather who was a Spanish military officer in the Pacific before and during the Spanish American War. This has to do with “historical memory” that goes back to the 19th century, when my great grandfather and grandfather were both born in the Pacific, in Manila and Guam, respectively - at the end of the Spanish Empire and the beginning of the American Empire. I doubt that I can obtain any official, apostilled documents from that time of war and turmoil (more on that in a minute). So I wonder if this is too far a stretch for me to claim Spanish citizenship, even though my great grandfather was the military secretary to the Spanish governor of the Mariana Islands, and was the first Spanish officer to be captured as a prisoner of war in the Spanish American War. My great grandfather’s name is all over civil documents in Guam preceding the American invasion of Guam. He was even the postmaster in Guam after the Americans took over, as well as an unofficial advisor to the American governor. There are records of that.
However, establishing the connection between me and my great grandfather through my grandfather is the problem. I just learned this week that getting a birth certificate for my grandfather, who was born in Guam in 1890±, is impossible. In 1944 (the year of my birth), the Americans bombed Guam so thoroughly to get the Japanese to leave that all church records were destroyed, and it was the churches that kept birth and death records. All my great grandfather’s many children and grandchildren apparently left Guam, probably long before I was born. My grandfather emigrated to California, where my father was born in 1918. But I have no official documents related to my grandfather’s existence, and I don’t know where in Southern California he lived or when and where he died. I only met him when I was a child, and my father is now deceased.
It’s a strange story with a twist at the end: in the 15th and 16th centuries Spain becomes an empire, discovering and settling the Americas, as well as some of the Pacific islands. Several centuries later, Spain is challenged and defeated by “America” (the United States), and a Spanish family that was sent from Spain to the Pacific ends up in California. One of the daughters of that family, who grew up in California, recognizes late in life that the American empire is coming to an end, and wants to end her time on Earth in the country of her paternal lineage. She wants to connect with her Spanish genes after having been dominated by her anglo-saxon lineage most of her life. She wants to live in Andalusia, where her father’s lineage comes from. But she can’t prove her connection with her grandfather and father lineage because the country where she was born destroyed the records.
Does anybody have any ideas about how to bring a happy ending to this story? I’d be very grateful. Thank you for listening to this tale.