Manley and Madar families in Shanghai and Hong Kong

Submitted by SL1 on Fri, 03/30/2018 - 08:31

Hi, geneology hobbyist and new Gwulo member here. I have some connections that I hope others can help elaborate on. 

I was researching European royal families, when I stumbled upon the Eurasian paternal ancestry of Alexandra Christina Manley, the ex-wife of Prince Joachim of Denmark, from Hong Kong.

The parents of her father, Richard Nigel Manley, were William Thomas Manley and Frances Blanche Madar. William's parents were John Thomas Manley from England and Mary Ho Li. The Madars were South Asian? Some family members went from Shanghai to HK.

Gwulo has several mentions of both Manley and Madar in HK, but sadly no extensive information. I have been able to reconcile some of the Manley and Madar tidbits on Gwulo with information from the above two websites, and some I have not been able to.

In Harry Ching's diary,  there is a mention of "Dec 1 1943: Mrs. Amy Madar killed, sister of George Manley from Shanghai."  This is actually referring to Lavinia Alice Manley, buried in HK, wife of Ame Madar. George Noble Manley is listed in the HK jurors lists. Lavinia and George are siblings of William, who is also buried in HK. Two Manley/Madar couples? 

Ame's father is Solomon Madar. I don't know how they are related to Frances and her father, Omar Abdul Madar (1871-1923). There is an Abdul Razack Madar (1892-1968) and his wife Elizabeth Mitrofanovna buried in HK, but he can't be the father of Frances' father, as mentioned in the first website above.

Richard Nigel Manley's brother, Geoffrey Ronald Manley, died in a Chinese POW camp and is buried in HK, but I don't know if Reginald H Manley and Edwin Manley, who are also buried in HK, are also related.  

There are Helena Madar and Kathleen Madar, wives of Charles Herbert Whiteley Kew, and other Madars mentioned on Gwulo, but I don't know how they are related to the Manley Madars.

There is a Bertram Arthur Shirazee buried in HK, and I don't know if he is related to Frances Madar's mother, Sarah Shirazee

If anybody could provide some information about these specific points or the history of the Manley and Madar families in Shanghai/HK, it would be greatly appreciated. 

All I can say for certainty is the male Madar line was Muslim but that does not tell me the ethnicity - my best guess was that they were Indian (South Asian). One source mentioned Armenian ethnicity (Source: Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery, page 532, referencing Lavinia Alice Madar nee Manley - but was that referencing the Manley line as she was a Madar by marriage?)

Over time, through inter-marriage, some of the descendents drifted away from Islam.

The earliest reference for Hong Kong I have come across was of a Shaik Madar (sheik being a title rather than a name but the term may have stuck in documents) whose Chinese wife, Leong A-peen, a boat woman from Macau, died in 1863. They had an unmarried adult daughter at the time called Ahsay (presumably the Muslim name of Aisha), who was married by 1864 to a Mr Abdul Kurreem, a clothier in Hong Kong. Leong A-peen was the owner of two properties in Hollywood Road and Lower Lascar Road at the time of her death, which her widowed husband took over. 

(Source: 'Merchants' Daughters: Women, Commerce, and Regional Culture in South China' page 134, edited by Helen F. Siu, 2010)

There is Ismail (or Ismael) Pillay (or Pullay) Madar (​c.1849-13th Jun 1914, Hong Kong) who died in Hong Kong, a well respected member of the 'Mohammedan community', who a few days before death had attended services at the local mosque.  

(Source: The Hong Kong Telegraph page 7, 15th June 1914)

There is Omar Abdool Madar (1871, Hong Kong-14th Dec 1923, Hong Kong) which you have mentioned, whose funeral was at the 'Mohammedan cemetery' (presumably the one at Happy Valley). Interestingly his daughter Frances (or Fanny) Blanche Madar was married at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Shanghai on 28th April 1923 to William Thomas Manley

(Source: The China Mail, page 5, 14th December 1923)

Likewise, despite the triple Muslim name of Abdul Razack Madar (24th Feb 1892-23rd Jul 1968), I noticed he wasn't buried in the Muslim cemetery in Hong Kong. 

Areas worth exploring will be 19th and early 20th century Shanghai newspapers, early history of Macau and Canton (pre-Hong Kong 1841) and the British East India Company archives relating to India and Singapore. This is something that will take a very long time...!

I am also in the process of mapping out the Madar lines within the general context of other South Asian Muslim families from early Hong Kong. You can't study one family without studying others given the number of inter-marriages of various South Asian Muslim familes in early Hong Kong. 

i am solomon madar from HK, believe some of my ancestor or uncle/auntie names are being mentioned above, as advised by my father we are from persia, my great grand father moved from persia to China/HK, let me pull my uncle into this subject as he should be able to identify most of the names there and has a better picture of the family history

Thanks Solomon for the information. If your uncle can pin point the EKA (earliest known ancestor) of your Madar line and where/when came to HK/China, that would be great. If you want to contact me privately, I’m open to it.

Of course, if you want a definitive answer, any male Madar member can have his Y-chromosome DNA analysed by a number of commercial companies to see where their deep ancestral line originated from.


Thanks David for creating the page. Can you also update the Mrs Amy Madar page? As mentioned above, its Lavinia Alice Manley, wife of Ame Madar, sister of Wlliam and George Noble Manley. Maybe Henry Ching can offer more information?

Also eurasian_david, what exactly does the source say about Lavinia and Armenian ethnicity? I think it is her husband. As far as I know, her father, John Thomas Manley, was from Britain and married a Chinese woman. 

The Armenian reference is brief and seemingly lumped her into the category of Eurasians who were buried at the Hong Kong Cemetery. It's available on Google books (link supplied below)

"Sympathy must go to Lavinia Alice Madar [37/2/18] of the Armenian family who survived the war years, only to be killed at the very end by an American bombing raid on Kowloon"

In terms of surname distribution, Madar is mainly found in India, Eastern Europe (esp Hungary) and Iran

Hi SL1,

Hope you made progress on your researches. 

You might know the answers to these by now but in case not in answer to your opening queries on the Madar line....

Ame Mathew (or Matthew) Madar (23rd August 1894-23rd July 1968) was the husband of Lavinia Alice Manley (22nd February 1898-1st December 1943). 

Abdul Razack Madar (24th February 1892- 23rd July 1968) was the older brother of Ame Mathew Madar. He married Elizabeth Mitrofanovna Krivosheeva (4th November 1901-29th April 1960) in Shanghai. 

Ame Mathew Madar and Abdul Razack Madar were the sons of Solomon (or Suleiman) Madar (27th May 1868-18th October 1962)  In turn, Solomon Madar was the elder brother of Omar Abdool Madar (27th July 1871-14th December 1923)

And Frances ('Fanny') Blanche Madar (26th July 1899-24th July 1985) was the daughter of Omar Abdool Madar, who married William ('Bill') Thomas Manley (15th June 1893-20th Janaury 1960) in Shanghai 28th April 1923. 

Bertram Arthur Shirazee (known as Bertie) was the son of Mahomed Cazzeem Shirazee. MC Shirazee's sister was Sarah Shirazee who married Omar Abdul Madar. They were the parents of Frances Blanche Madar.

Bertie had a sister, Lucy Shirazee, who married into my family, the Hutchinsons. She married Fred Hutchinson, the brother of Tom Hutchinson, who's war diary is at

I have assumed the relationships based on the announcement of the death of Bertie Shirazee's grandmother Mary (Chun Kwei) Shirazee, which was in The North - China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette (1870-1941); Sep 10, 1941 :

I may have missed some posts on the Madar family. For the above gentleman I'm following the spelling used by Carl Smith in card no. 0156425GIF, but he could just as easily be spelt as "Abdul Razack" like his younger relative who died in 1968 and is buried in the Colonial Cemetery. The death of Abdool Razak Madar at 26 Elgin Street is reported in the China Mail on 12 June 1900 and he may well be buried in the Muslim Cemetery. He has a slender bit part in my family history as sole executor to John Steward, boarding house keeper, Queens Road, who died in 1877 and who may have employed my great-grandfather, John Olson at the National Inn. To confuse matters, Carl Smith's spelling wobbles between "Stewart" and "Steward" on the same cards and I need to establish if John Stewart and John Steward are in fact the same person.


I married a granddaughter of Bertrum Arthur Shirazee.

His son, Kenneth, died a number of years ago, but had mentioned the Madars, Manleys, and Hutchinsons to me.  

It is my understanding that Bertrum's father, Mohamed Cassim had (perhaps) 9 older sisters, the eldest of which was Sarah Shirazee, who married Omar Madar.  Does anyone have info on the other Shirazee sisters?


My stepfather, Cyril Manley Madar, was the son of Ame Mathew (or Matthew) Madar (23rd August 1894-23rd July 1968) and Lavinia Alice Manley (22nd February 1898-1st December 1943). 

Cyril passed away in April of 2011.  He had a sister Elizabeth (known as Betty, no children) Betty passed away a number of years before Cyril.   Cyril and my mother had one son Allan Madar.  Allan passed away in February of 2022, no children. My mother passed away in October 2022.