Searching for her roots on Guam

Last December, Susan Anne Tenorio Tluczek Hearne booked a flight to Guam, anxious to find her mother's family and connect with her history. (Photo from Susan Hearne)
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Born on Guam to a Chamorro mother and her father, a U.S. Navy Sailor, Susan Anne Tenorio Tluczek Hearne and her family moved to Pennsylvania when she was two years old, where she grew up wanting to see the island where her mother had lived.

So last December, she booked a flight to Guam, anxious to find her mother’s family (Familian Supiano) and connect with her history and started with going to the Office of Vital Statistics to find her and her mother’s birth certificates.

“The first thing that went through my head,” she said, concerned about some past tension in her family due to her mother marrying an American. “Was that if I find my mother’s family, would they accept me?”

Seeing that her mother had lived in Mangilao, Hearne went to the village mayor’s office, where she met staff member Marvin Francisco, who got her in contact with John, one of her cousins.

Hearne credits the success of her journey to the staff members of the Mangilao Mayor’s office. Left to right: Marvin Francisco, Mayor Allan G. Ungacta, Susan Anne Smith Hearne, Nick Campos and Ed Tosco

And through the help of other employees in the office, she got in touch with more and more family  members.

“Some of them knew I existed, but some of them told me, “We didn’t know your mom and we didn’t know you, but you’re part of the family.’ That’s when the surprise came in because they didn’t know me or her and they still accepted me,” she said.

While Hearne has been on Guam since the beginning of the year, her time on the island is limited and she is trying to find as many of her family members as she can before she leaves in February. But in time, she hopes to bring her own family to visit Guam.

“I want to meet as many as I can,” she said. “As many as want to associate, but I don’t think anyone has wanted to not associate so far. Everybody has been like, ‘Well, you gotta meet this one and you gotta meet that one. Have you met this one?’ And no, not yet, but we’re working on it.”