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Hi David,

I have been researching my mothers side of the family for quite some time now. It is amazing how many snippets I found on the web. Many of these snippets have come from your site. The only problem is they are just that, snippets. Having said that I am most grateful for any thing I can find because I started from practically zero. I have discovered though that my ancestors were quite interesting and am particularly interested in finding out more about my Great Grandfather Mahomed Sewjee Alarakia. I know he was born in India and came to live in HK in the early 1880s. He worked at the HK Observatory from 1884 to 1889 before moving on to the Army Service Corps as a clerk. He was also The Hon Secretary and Treasurer for the HK Islam Club in 1912. He had a very large family  of about fifteen or sixteen children but I cannot find any reference about his wife other than the possibility that he married a daughter (no name)of Mahomed Arab who has been mentioned in one of your articles. If this is true then I would love it if any of your contributors could point me in the right direction to find out more. It seems I need to know more about Mahomed Arab who will have been a contemporay of my Great great Grandfather Sewjee Alarakia.

I know this looks like a ramble but i can't help myself. By the way if anyone is interested i have started a blog at where I hope to finally nail my heritage.

Thankyou all for taking the time to read this


Ken Alarakia-Charles


Have you tried searching for Mahomed Arab in the Carl Smith Collection? Instructions at

Thanks for this Jill. It produced quite a lot of info but sadly not what I was looking for. I will however continue searching the site for info on other family characters.

Further digging through this site showed that Mahomed Arab is in fact my Great Great Garandfather. His daughter having married my Great Grandfather Mahomed S Alarakia.

Thanks again

Take care


Hi Ken,

This is right up my alley.

You sound exactly like me. My father's English ancestors are easy to trace (relatively speaking). My mother's side is somewhat difficult. My story is just like yours, suffice to say. I started with very little knowledge of my mother's side of the family but have built up my understanding slowly over the years. In a nutshell the Alarakias are not my blood relations but I have come across their names many times (they have socialised with my wider family in HK in the past) and it's been on my 'to do list' to make a study of them. The 'Arab', 'Markar', 'Wahab'', 'Minu' and 'Kitchell' are other names on my to do list. I am also looking into 'Moosdeen' as well. 

You are light years ahead of me as this is your family and have had years to compile your information. The work below is just 48hrs of  internet searching but I hope there may be something new for you. 

The Alarakia name is a great one to study as it is unusual and small in number. Looking at British newspapers focusing on news on the East, the name 'Alarakia' seemed to be used as a first name or part of a name eg. in 1881 on a report of a defamation case of a certain 'Alarakia Ebramani' in India he was mentioned as a Memon (as opposed to other 'Mahomedans'), the mercantile Muslim caste in NW India, centered where Kutch was. Their mercantile nature caused them to spread out from India throughout the 18th and 19th century settling in various places including East Asia. So you might have a point on the general geographic origin of the HK branch of the 'Alarakia' line. And once they collided with the bureaucracy of the British Empire the need for documentation may have caused the HK branch or proto-branch before arriving in HK to have used 'Alarakia' as a surname. If you really want this question answered it can be done through a 'Y' chromosome haplogroup mapping (a simple swab test of DNA from the cheek) of the male surnamed Alarakias from around the world to see if there is any common male ancestor relation. But looking at the tree I am not sure if there are any living male Alarakias from HK?   

Below is a sketch of the tree. I have omitted everyone from generation 5 and later in case there are living individuals who value their privacy. 

1. Sewjee Alarakia (1843-21st Jun 1890) b. India d. Hong Kong

…+ (?) (18??-?)

…2. Mahomed Sewjee Alarakia (1866-22nd Oct 1920) b. India d. Hong Kong

……+ (?) Arab (18??-19??)                                                                              (married Hong Kong 1884)  

……3. Fatima Mohamed (Mahomed) Alarakia (1886-11th Jan 1965) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong dsp

……3. (?) (‘Cherry’) Alarakia (188?-19??)

………+ (?) Moosdeen (18??-19??) b. Hong Kong

……3. Zanab Alarakia (14th Feb 1889-20th Feb 1889) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

……3. Cassim Mahomed Alarakia (3rd Apr 1890-13th Nov 1946) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………+ Rubiya (?) (6th Jun 1896-24th Mar 1947) d. Hong Kong

………4. Mahomed C. Alarakia (6th Jul 1931-8th Jul 1931) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. Salamar C. Alarakia (27th Mar 1933-31st Aug 1933) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. Female Alarakia (19??->1947) b. Hong Kong

………4. Female Alarakia (19??->1947) b. Hong Kong

………4. Female Alarakia (19??->1947) b. Hong Kong

………4. Female Alarakia (19??->1947) b. Hong Kong

……3. Hanifa Alarakia (14th Oct 1891-20th Oct 1891) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

……3. Mariam (‘Mary’) Alarakia (3rd Sep 1892-14th Nov 1969) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong dsp

……3. Jaf (‘Jack’) Mohamed Alarakia (18??->1965) b. Hong Kong

………+ (?) (19??->1939)

……3. Ebrahim Mahomed Alarakia (1895-11th Jun 1939) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………+(1) (?) Yeung (Mahomed) (18??-19??) b. Canton, China

………4. Abdoola (Abdool) Ebrahim Mohamed Alarakia (1922-9th May 1925) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. Hanifa Alarakia (192?-?) b. Hong Kong

…………+ Omar B. Wahab (19??-?)

………4. Abbas Mohamed Alaraka (1925-18th Aug 1945) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong dsp

………4. Rubia Alarakia (20th Aug 1927-22nd Feb 1955) b. Hong Kong d. Barrow in Furness, Lancashire

…………+ Edwin (‘Eddie’) Joseph Charles (23rd Apr 1926-19th Apr 1985) b. Barrow in Furness d. Barrow in Furness (m. 15th Jun 1949 HK)

………+(2) Sharifa Mahomed (1904-22nd Nov 1943) d. Hong Kong

………4. Fatima Alarakia (1929-2005) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. Zahara (Zaharia) Alarakia (1931-) b. Hong Kong

………4. Hayim Alarakia (3rd Jul 1930-26th Dec 1976) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

…………+ Hafisha Law (19??-?)

………4. Fazul Ebrahim Mohamed Alarakia (Apr 1933-24th May 1933) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. Kayum Mohamed Alarakia (1934-30th Dec 1938) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

……3. Ismail (‘Iki’) Mohamed Alarakia (1897-28th Sep 1974) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong dsp

…....3. Sophia (‘Sophie’) Mohamed Alarakia (18??->1935) b. Hong Kong

………+ Antonio.(‘Tony’) Carlos Neves (1904->1947)                                                   (married Hong Kong c.1932)

………4. Rookiyah Gertrude Neves (Jul 1934-26th Nov 1934) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

………4. (?) Neves (19??->1946)

………4. (?) Neves (19??->1946)

……3. Rhamatulla (‘Ray’) Mohamed Alarakia (1900-30th May 1974) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

……3. Sakina Mohamed Alarakia (1901-19th Feb 1935) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong dsp

……3. Suleiman (Sulieman) (‘Sonny’) Mohamed (Mahomed) Alarakia (1908-16th Jul 1936) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong

……3. Halima (‘Helen’) Alarakia (22nd Feb 1912->1965) b. Hong Kong

…2. Abdulla Sewjee Alarakia (1872-26th May 1898) d. Hong Kong

……+ (?) (18??-1905) d. Hong Kong

……2. Saliman Alarakia (1898-19??) b. Hong Kong

……2. Sulieman Alarakia (Sep 1898-6th May 1899) b. Hong Kong d. Hong Kong


I have a number of names I'm not sure where they fit eg.

1) Alfred A. Alarakia, who went to school (DBS) in HK at the turn of the century and later married a Japanese in Shanghai in the 1920s (Masako Gotoda 1898-1973 Osaka, Japan)

2) U. Alarakia who worked as a stenographer for Thomas Cook and Sons at the Grand Hotel in Peking in 1922. Not sure if this was the same Usuff Alarakia who was a focus of a medical study as a lunatic in Canton in 1938. 

3) I think Bibi Alarakia (1871-24th August 1952 Hong Kong) was most likely the wife of Mahomed Sewjee Alarakia (yet to find corroborative evidence). I have gone through the Muslim Cemetery records in Happy Valley, HK and she is the only person whose name and age fits ie her maiden name was therefore 'Bibi Arab' based on your 1884 marriage newspaper notice. Of course that makes her a child when she gave birth to her first child. But 1) Age reported at death have been known to be inaccurate esp for the real elderly (she was  documented as 81 years old at time of burial hence born c.1871) 2) Some girls were really married young in the nascent Muslim community in HK. I know she was styled as 'Mr and Mrs S Alarakia' in the papers and the assumption her first name began with 'S' but I wonder if she was styled as 'Mr and Mrs Sewjee Alarakia' so 'S' was not necessarily her first name. 

Anyway much food for thought. Keep plugging at the blog and good luck. You never know - someone, somewhere may be able to help unravel some of the questions you want answered. 

best wishes


Oh yes, Anita M. Weiss's study "South Asian Muslims in Hong Kong: Creation of a 'Local Boy' Identitty" from Modern Asian Studies, Vol 25, No. 3 (July 1991) on pages 424-425 the Alarakia family tree are mentioned but its information you already largely know. though the paper may be of interest to you. A.C. Neves was a Portuguese who embraced Islam when he married Sophie. 



Thank you very very much for this info. You have confirmed many of my suspicions and given me some more leads to work on.My Grandfather was Ebrahim Mahomed Alarakia. There are still Alarakia's by blood if not by name living in Hong Kong. Some married into families named Ng while my Aunt the only living sibling of my mother married into the Wahab family. There are still single Alarakia women living but now moved to Canada. I must check out Bibi as my great great grandmother is a mystery still. However i notice the tree shows my mother Rubia and father Eddie. Can you advise where I can view the tree in its entirety.

Again Many thanks

Onwards I plod


Hi Ken,

Professor Anita Weiss mentioned in her study that your greatgrandfather Mohamed Allarakia (sic) was a merchant of cloth. I don't know if she meant your great great grandfather as she did oral interviews with living descendants in HK back in the 1980s. Maybe its worth contacting her - she might still have some notes that may prove valuable to you?

I found a few things that give supporting evidence that the Alarakias may have come from NW India near Kutch as you suggested: 

1) This webmaster below seemed to have built up a database of the Memons who migrated from Kutch, India to Zanzibar and Tanzania. He has a long list of surnames of which I note 'Alarakhia'. Maybe worth contacting him for your studies.

2) This one has 'Alarakhia' in the middle part of his name and came from the Sind Province originally (right next to/part of what was Kutch) and was described as a cloth merchant!

I note you have an account on ancestry. The tree I drew up was a quick ad-hoc one to help me understand the individuals so its not published anywhere.I can contact you on ancestry and make further conact that way if you'd like. 

Thanks for this David, You have been most helpful. I am not sure about the cloth merchant, there was never any mention in the wider family about that. I will check further. I must mention however that my immediate family ancestors spelled our surname with a single L. I won't know until I drill down the 'India' side if any variations in spelling are used. As for '' I have lost all patience with it. It is fine for my fathers side of the family, but as far as the Alarakia's go it is not much use. I have found loads of info since contactiing gwulo and thank you for your interest and assistance. If you look at '' you will see what I have found to-date.



Since writing this I have sadly removed my blog. Unfortunateley a younger member of the wider family htought it appropriate to broadcast sections of the blog on social media without consultation and made inaccurate observations, so I reluctantly took away his access by the only means possible which was deletion.

Hi Ken,

I'm sad to see you've taken down the blog as I was looking forward to reading your insights and findings due to my interest in researching the South Asian Muslim community in HK. Hopefully you will re-consider or use this thread to pursue your research. 

A few updates for your research into your family:

1) On my simplified tree, I use the notation '>' (greater than) on a date eg. '>1947' to indicate to myself that this person was still alive at that date to help me narrow or locate the death date in the future. So it does not mean the person died in that year. 

2) Alfred Arthur Alarakia's father was Abdoola Alarakia (ie. I assume it's Adbulla Sewjee Alarakia 1872-26th May 1898). This information was on his marraige certificate of 17th October 1921 at the British Consulate General in Shanghai. Alfred Alarakia's occupation was a Stenographer and Clerical Assistant, he was a Bachelor and he lived at 775 East Yalu Road, Shanghai. His father was deceased by that date and his occupation was listed as Clerical Assistant. His wife was Gotoda Masano (sic), she was a spinster, lived at 775 East Yalu Road, Shanghai and her father was 'Gotoda' and his occupation was a 'Storekeeper'. The marriage at the British Consulate meant he was a British citizen - ie. he was born in a British territory eg, Hong Kong OR his father was a British citizen. Alfred Arthur Alarkia was in fact born in Hong Kong 25th October 1897 (from Masako [sic] Alarakia's death certificate, with her death on 20th December 1972 in Kuwamura Ohe-gun Tokoshima, Japan) 

3) Masako Alarakia died on 20th December 1972 at Kuwamura, Ohe-gun Tokoshima, Japan. The death was registered, curiously at the British Consul in Osaka on 11th Janaury 1973, via a letter from a Father Bonang, a Roman Catholic Priest who enclosed a local death certificate. Father  Bonang was living at the Catholic Mission 2-chrome, Tokushima-honcho, Takushima-shi, Shikoku, Japan. By extension of her marriage to a British subject., Masako was a British citizen. 

4) At this stage I do not know when or where Alfred Arthur Alarakia died and whether he had issue. 

5) Omar Moosdeen, born in Canton on 19th November 1908, was the son of Aboo Bakr Moosdeen (sic) BUT his mother was Marriam Madar and not Zaitun ('Cherry') Alarakia. At this stage I do not know when and where Marriam Moosdeen (nee Madar) died. 

6) Abu Bakr Moosdeen was a merchant and born in Hong Kong on 22nd February 1877 (info from his death certificate) and he died in Apartment 2, 34 Rue de France, Tientsin on 8th March 1946. This was the address of A.A. Rumjahn (a distant cousin of mine) who registered his death the next day at the British Consulate in Tientsin. Abu Bakr Moosdeen's address at the time of his death was No. 36, 47th Road, ex British Concession, Tientsin. 

All this is a work in progress, I hope this helps



Thanks for this David, You have been very helpful. I seem to have come to a dead end at the moment. I did however research the Carl Smith records and that is where I got my info regarding Abu Bakr Moosdeen and Cherry Alarakia as well as obituries from the HK Telegraph indicating Cherry was married to a 'Moosdeen' It is known however that AB Moosdeen was married at least 2 or 3 times. One of his wives was supposed to have been  a Pakistani lady. The Carl Smith records indicated Omar as being AB and Cherry's only son. I will have to re-appraise my evidence  suppose.

As far as the blog is concerned I continue to update it as a word doc. Maybe when it is more complete I will post it to this site for you to peruse.

Thanks again. You have been a massive help.




More info:

Alfred Arthur J Alarakia was interned at Great Western Road, Shanghai in June 1943 and later transferred to Yangtzepoo April 1945. He was a Godown Superintendent at the China Printing Company. 

His wife Gotoda Alarakia was deemed an enemy national (British) and lived at 42 Kungping Terrace. She was 47 years old in 1944 and of no occupation. Interestingly she may have escaped the internment camp because she was ethnically Japanese. 

They had an adopted son, a student called John Stephen Alarakia, who was 18 years old in 1945. He was classed as British and interned the same places and times as his adopted father. 

Thanks David,


I have still to establish AAJ Alarakia's relationship to my immediate family. The family naming convention means he is not likely to have been Abdulla Sewjee's son. It is possible that Sewjee Alarakia had more than two sons himself and AAJ could belong to another. If he were Abdulla Sewjee's son then his name would be Albert Arthur Sewjee Alarakia and not 'J' as indicated. For the record Adulla's eldest son was Saloman born in late 1897. He had a second son Sulleman born Sept 1898 who died at eight months old in HK.  Abdulla himself died 26 may 1898 so did not see the birth of Sulleman.

The plot thickens methinks.

As for Abu Bakir Moosdeen. My AB Moosdeen went by the nake Abu Baker Moosdeen and was alive and kicking in the 1970's. My cousin clearly recalls attending his wedding to a Pakistani lady. He was a manager for C.Rahim & Son in HK. He was definitely not the Merchant mentioned in the 1902 Chronicle & Directory for China etc. 

Keep going!




Yes, I agree (about needing corroborating evidence). It's like having at least 3 pieces of information to triangulate the facts, like the 3 legs of a stool. For some things you can never be 100% sure but working towards the most probable is the best that can be done at times. 

For Alfred Arthur and John Stephen, they were initially interned at the Columbia Country Club Camp at 301 Great Western Road

I was intrigued about your comment about the styling of the name. The notes of the intrnees from that webpage were after all transcribed from original documents (which I haven't seen). Over the years I have seen numerous times the letters 'J' and 'S' being mis-transcribed. If Alfred Arthur J Alarakia was actually Alfred Arthur S Alarakia, that would be even more tantalising! 

There was a John Stephen Joseph Alarakia in the 1958 Australia Electoral Rolls living at 111 Dolphin Street, Coogee, Phillip, New South Wales. 

Yes, there was another A. Bakr Moosdeen in Hong Kong who was well alive in the 1980s. He was the next of kin for Zahara Moosdeen (nee ?) (1896-16th May 1980) who was in HK. 

Yes, I will keep looking and keep you posted if I find anything. Thanks for chipping in with any bits of info and thoughts.

Thanks David,

I am not sure if the last ABM is the same one who was married to Cherry but I will check it further as it was known that our ABM did marry again after Cherry's death. The  naming convention used by our family matches that of the Parsee and Gujarati Hindu in that it follows 'First name + Fathers first name+Last name. for both men and women. The history passed down is that they were originally Parsee, but that has still to be settled. It has been mentioned that as both communities lived side by side for centuruies that some practices were adopted by each other.

I have seen the info about John Stephen Alarakia. He was naturalised I believe in Australia around 1958.

Stay posted





Hi Ken, I have come across a Yahara Alarakia. See below newspaper clipping. The birth year should be about the mid 1890s. Would you know where this individual fits into the tree?




The prizes so kindly given annually by Mr. R.E. Belilios to the pupils in Belilios Public School who excel in the subject of English composition were yesterday presented to the successful candidates by Mr. Edward Irving, Inspector of Schools. The following are the names of the prize winners: -

Mabel Long, Rose Ablong, Mabel Mooney, Yahara Alarakia, (?)ung A. Nui, Cheung Fook To, Li Tsing Lim, and Chan Bik Harm.


A vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Belilios and Mr. Irving on the motion of Mabel Long, the dux of the school.”  

Source: The Hong Kong Weekly Press and China Overland Report, page 530, 21st June 1909

Edit: Just re-read my older post above on 16th July 2020. I wonder if the wife of A. Bakr Moosdeen, called Zahara Moosdeen (nee?) (1896-16th May 1980) was actually nee Yahara Alarakia. Zahara and Yahara are two differnt names though, but the date of birth would fit. 


Thanks David,

Yes it is very intriguing. I have not come across a Yahara, nor for that matter a Zahara Alarakia with those dates. It is somthing I will have to investigate. As with AAJ it is likely that names have been mispelt with each transcription. AAS would fit but I need copies of original documents to get to the bottom of it. Thankfully I think I have all the names I need for my grandfathers siblings, but it is Mahomed Sewjees siblings that is proving the most difficult to pin down.

What I have noticed however is how intertwined the HongKong Indian families were. I noticed on the C.Smith records that Ayesha Moosdeen was married to Ahmet Rumjahn. Also that Usaf Rumjahn was married to Fatora Madar.As both the Arab and Alarakia families were both married into the Moosdeens at different times it seems we all have somthing in common. Parties must have been expensive to put on.

Keep up the good work

Take care



Yes, totally agree about how they are all intertwined! The Rumjahns mentioned (they were brothers) are my family:


Ahmet Rumjahn (16th May 1863-30th November 1925)

Ayesha (Aisha) Moosdeen (1864-15th Janaury 1935)

Usuff Rumjahn (2nd February 1865-27th February 1947)

Fatima Madar (6th January 1872-22nd June 1932)

I must try to not take the Carl Smith Records spelling on face value. I have noticed it is not always correct or consistant, Fatora for Fatima does not even come close, Is Fatora even a name? 

Take care and stay safe


Here is another little find from The China Mail, page 3, 13th July 1885:

Kwangtung Inundation Fund The China Mail, page 3, 13th July 1885.png
Kwangtung Inundation Fund The China Mail, page 3, 13th July 1885.png, by The China Mail

A. Alarachia would be in the generation with Sewjee Alarakia (1843-21st Jun 1890). He gave $5 to the relief fund of the devastating Guangdong Flood of 1885 where an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives. I recognise some of the names there. To give you a potential age bracket for A. Alarachia, we have Mohamed Haji Madar (1845 Hong Kong-23rd Jun 1894 Hong Kong) and Abdullah Fuckeera (18th Oct 1857 Hong Kong-3rd Sept 1920 Hong Kong). It's possible A. Alarachia was a brother of Sewjee. Will continue to keep a lookout for more Alarakias. 

Thanks for this David. I must say I have not come across this spelling of the name. It may be some ones litteral translation of a spoken word. Anyway it is very interesting and maybe warrants further investgation.

Take care