Josephine ABAD (née BRACKEN, aka Josephine Rizal) [1876-1902] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Josephine ABAD (née BRACKEN, aka Josephine Rizal) [1876-1902]

Alias / nickname: 
Josephine Rizal
Birthplace (town, state): 
Victoria Barracks
Birthplace (country): 
Cause of death: 

A friend, an historian of the Phillipine Revolution and the events leading up to it, would very much like to be able to locate Josephine Bracken's birth certificate and indeed if possible her grave. Her baptismal certificate is extant but that's that. There must surely have been a birth certificate too.

Josephine Bracken is significant because she was the wife of Dr Jose Rizal, the hero of the Philippines struggle against Spain. Her nationality is usually given as "Irish" but that is more correctly a descripotion of her ethnicity; she would have been a British citizen. 

She was born in Victoria Barracks on the 9th August 1876 to Elizabeth Jane Bracken nee McBride, wife of Corporal James Bracken. Her mother died soon after she was born and she was adopted by an American, George Taufer, who was an engineer with the Hong Kong Fire Department.

After the execution of Dr Rizal she took part in the Philippine Revolution then returned to Hong Kong where she married Vincente Abad; she died of TB on March 15th 1902 and is reputedly buried in Happy Valley Cemetery.

Can anyone help?


Notes from Adam:

Have you tried this site? It's the best-researched writing on Josephine Bracken that I found when looking up George Taufer for my book. 

Edit: Taufer was an engineer for the HK Fire Insurance Co.'s Volunteer Fire Brigade, not the Hong Kong Government Fire Brigade.

There's also a mention of Bracken in this thread:

Given her background (Irish parents, attending a school run by Canossian Sisters, eventually marrying 'Vicente Abad, a Filipino of Spanish decent'), she'd likely have been buried in St Michael's Roman Catholic Cemetery, rather than the Hong Kong Cemetery?

Regards, David

Death of Mrs Rizal

Josephine Bracken's great grand son, or great-great-grandson threough her adopted daughter did a rather well researched book called Errante Golondrina.

I know her birth certificate exists. I'm surprised nobody has ebefore.ver looked for it

Bob, thanks for the information about the book.

"I know her birth certificate exists"

Please could you let us know where it exists, and how it can be viewed?

Regards, David

Annoyingly I saw a reference to it online where there were HK records going back that far. I didn't have a credit card so I couldn;t view it, which is not very helpful. However, I've been told that the Victoria Barracks records have been preserved.

I've had an email from Shyama saying that the Hong Kong Army Chaplain's Register is viewable (for a fee) at, but she hasn't been able to find any mention of Josephine there.

Regards, David