Manley and Madar families in Shanghai and Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
Pre-order the new Gwulo book today to get 
special pricefree shippingsigned copies, and a free sample
Details and how to order

Manley and Madar families in Shanghai and Hong Kong

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.


William Thomas Manley:

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