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The Chittys of Ceylon

Updated May 9, 2007

About Our Family Research

This site is devoted to the Chitty Clan of Ceylon which is descended from Christian Chitty (d. 1891) and Matilda Augusta Morrel Chitty (d. 7 January 1917). Christian Chitty was a descendant of Udayappa Chitty from Kadayar, South India who had received a charter from the Kind of Kandy, Rajasinghe II, to trade in rice with the Kingdom which was mostly surrounded by the Dutch controlled maritime provinces. Udayappa's son, Francisco Mangathan Chitty, settled in the Kandyan border town of Batticaloa where he is said to have built 17 temples and engaged in other acts of philanthropy. His last will was attested to in 1759 by Peter Wambeek, a Dutch merchant. Francisco's daughter had a daughter and three sons. One son settled in Colombo as a businessman, a daughter married Candappa, the other two sons were Subramaniam and Puvinayagam. Subramanian and Puvinayagam are said to have married two French Huguenot sisters, the Morrels and became Christians. Subramanian, who married Auguste Matilde Morrel, was known as Christian Chitty. Puvinayagam was known as Abraham Puvinayagam. After Abraham's wife passed away, he married her cousin Miss Quyn. Mitzi Morrel is said to have had two brothers who were officers in French Mauritius. The family is said to have left France during the period of Huguenot persecution and settled down in Mauritius.
A French officer in Ceylon is said to have invited the soldiers to visit him. By the time the brothers reached Ceylon by ship, their host had died. They chose to remain in Ceylon and marry the two daughters of their deceased friend. Their sister "Mitzi" married Christian Chitty. The Chittys of Ceylon, descended from Christian Chitty and "Mitzi" Morrel, are part of a diasporic Chetty community which is said to have had its origins among the Setthis of North India. Some groups from this community supposedly sought fresh markets in the South after the Moghul take-over of India.

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