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RootsTech 2023: The 3 blessings this Filipina family historian has seen in her life

Mona Magno-Veluz, the ‘Mighty Magulang’ family historian, shared in a RootsTech 2023 virtual keynote about three of the blessings she’s seen from her research


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By  Christine Rappleye, Church News

Mona Magno-Veluz’s husband is the youngest of 10 children. His parents also had several siblings, and “family reunions were crazy,” the Filipina family historian said during a RootsTech virtual keynote, where she shared the blessings she’s seen from family history.

Everyone knew everyone and how they were connected. They also knew the family’s history of how they were connected to famous people in the Philippines’ history.

“Everybody seemed to have that information handy. And I was fascinated by it,” said Magno-Veluz, who is known as the “Mighty Magulang,” or “Mighty Parent,” online. It was unlike her own family, where she was one of four children and her parents moved to Manila as children. She knew her parents, siblings and grandparents — but not much beyond that.

At the family reunions, she would find the oldest person in the room and listen to their stories, some of which were likely tall tales, she said.

For Christmas 2000, “I decided that one of the best gifts I could give was … a book about our family. I wanted to document the love stories of the aunts and uncles,” she said. “And that is where my adventure started.”

As she worked to find records and sources, she discovered the family history center near the Manila Philippines Temple in Quezon City/Metro Manila area. There, she found a woman who mentored her and taught her about microfilm, available records and where to find information.

As Magno-Veluz began to discover information, those successes kept her going. “And those early successes allowed me to help others who are also on the same path,” she said.

The blessings she has seen in her life in family history include compassion for her ancestors, finding purpose and sharing through technology.

1. Blessed to find compassion


One of the “great discoveries” was finding her father’s birth certificate, Magno-Veluz said. It was from that she learned her father wasn’t born in the Catholic Church, but the Philippine Independent Church.

When she asked her father about it, he said, “Oh, I forgot.” But through that line of research, she learned about her father’s grandparents.

Also, she learned about some of the frugal habits of older family members as they had lived through times of war.

2. Blessed to find purpose

“It is important for me that it is not just our generation to have access to information and access to the stories. I want my children to have the same thing. I want my children to have more,” she said.

In the Philippines, the pre-colonial record keeping was oral histories, as it is with many Indigenous people today.

It is for those “who have the same question or the same wants in terms of needing to understand their history and their family’s history,” she said.

3. Blessed to share through technology

“I have found that technology is a great enabler” such as for accessing records, she said.

She’s been amazed at how many records have been digitized on FamilySearch, when before, she would have to figure out the microfilm. She’s helped index records as a volunteer.

She hopes more records from more organizations can be available digitally. It’s not just about helping those in the Philippines, but the diaspora all around the world.

“As long as we continue to support each other and work toward the same things, we can see a future where we genuinely preserve the heritage of our country through genealogy, family history research, with, of course, a robust system of record keeping [and] accessible digital records,” she said.

She hopes many more Filipinos will be able to find their own histories.

“And I am hoping that more Filipinos will have that blessing in their lives. More Filipinos will have that knowledge of where they came from, of where, of how they and their families evolved and traveled,” she said.

Magno-Veluz also presented a session on “The Importance of the Records Community in Filipino Genealogical Research” with information on available and digital Filipino records.

For more on RootsTech 2023, see

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