The Sameer family of Colombo have been its inhabitants for well over 150 years, having, possibly, migrated from the southern town of Aluthgama. Previously their ancestors may have resided in Beruwela or even further south as Galle although not much evidence is available to shed light on their initial location from the archives today.
The initial residence of the family was at New Moor Street where most of the Moor’s used to live and carry on their lucrative business establishments in The Pettah and its suburbs. The oldest recorded individual of the family, based on the archives available and known, is Sinne Lebbe Marikar Sahib Dorai.
His wife Ummu Hany Umma, also known as “Ummachchima”, hails from the Oduma Lebbe Marikar family and is the daughter of Oduma Lebbe Marikar & Ummu Habeeba Arasi Marikar (d/o Vykole Sheriff Izzadeen).
Her brothers are Oduma Lebbe Marikar Assen (Hassen) Thamby, and Oduma Lebbe Marikar Ahmed Lebbe Marikar (married to Fathima Umma Sahib Doray), and her sisters are Mohideen (Meenachia) Natchia Umma Oduma Lebbe Marikar (wife of to Ishak Naina-Marikar -Bembi Hajiar- Sahib Doray Marikar Hajiar), Zeinab (Jaynambu) Oduma Lebbe Marikar (wife of Samsudeen).
Ummu Hany Umma’s nephews are, Assen Thamby Mohammed Mohideen (married to Nusaiba Umma O L M A L M Alim), M H M Zubair (married to Aynul Marliya Meera Lebbe Marikar), and her nieces are, Haseena Umma Assen Thamby (wife of W.M.A. Wahid of the famous Wahid Book Shop),
Ryhanath Umma Assen Thamby (wife of A.L.M. Mohideen), Nafia Umma Assen Thamby (wife of S.D.M. Rawoof and mother of Collette’s Mohideen), and Ummu Saliha Ishak (wife of C L M Mahmood).
S L M Sahib Dorai and Ummu Hany Umma had a son, Ismail, who was later known as I L M Haji Ismail Effendi. Ismail married Haleema Umma binth Cassim Lebbe Ahmad Ali Marikar, also known as Seevatamma, of the Cappodear family, in 1886.
Haleema’s mother is Khadeeja Umma Abdul Cader, daughter of Hany Umma Sulaiman Lebbe & A C S M L Abdul Cader, and granddaughter of Meera Lebbe Slema (Suleiman) Lebbe Comoster & Mohideen Natchia, born in 1817.
The Cappodear family claim their ancestry to one Sultan Albdin of Konya in Turkey whose descendant, Prince Jamaludin, a physician, arrived in Ceylon in the year 800, and settled down in the town of Beruwela during the reign of King Dapula III who established a Medical College. One of his descendants, Dr. Periya Mudaliyar Marikar (1016), was awarded Royal recognition (Sembu Pattam) by the Singhalese King in consequence of his having introduced the very first weavers of cloth from the neighboring coast of India who were subsequently established in Ceylon.
The original ancestry of the present SALAGAMAWANSA community to which they belonged were:-
- Dr. Minna Marikar Bastaamiar (1515), appointed Physician to the Portuguese Royal household,
- Dr. Uduma Lebbe Maestriar Shekadi Marikar Maestriar (1640), Physician to the Dutch Government,
- Dr. Bastaamiar Lebbe Marikar Meera Lebbe Maestriar, Physician to the Dutch Government transferred to Colombo on promotion as Physician in charge of the Chaliah Commanders,
- Dr. Meera Lebbe Maestriar Shekadi Marikar, the celebrated, ‘Moorish Doctor’.
A reference to the family of the ‘Moorish Doctor’ is made in the "KULALEKA POTHA" of Maha Mudaliyar Abraham De Saram.
An extract of the British Colonial Governor Seymour’s declaration of one of the members of this family, Oduma Lebbe Marikar Sekadi Marikar's (1776-1847) appointment as Head Moorman of Colombo in 1824, is shown below:-
(a) Whereas the Moor Seyed Nadie Nainde Marcier Lebbe NAINA MARCIAR was by us recently appointed joint Chief of the Moors of the town of Galle and is now the other Chief of this community in the commandments has appealed to us that he being the oldest in service shuld have preference over the other. We, therefore, in consideration, of the request made by him, the said present Chief deem it desirable to appoint his first Chief over the Galle community of Moors residing within the four gravets with authority t employ the Moor, Ismail Lebbe Maestri KADER as his Canne Kappel. Wherefore one and to whom it may concern are commanded to regard respect come and obey, as it behoves them, him the saidAGHAMDOE LEBBE SINNE LEBBE MARCIAR AS first Chief of the Moors. Colombo, 28th July, 1757. TRUE COPY OF AN ACT OF APPOINTMENT BY THE BRITISH (b) By His Excellency ieutenant General, Sir Edward Barnes, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath Governer and Commander-In-Chief in and over the British settlements and territories in the island of Ceylon with the dependencies thereof. Whereas we have the greatest confidence in the eminent qualities, zeal, fidelity and ability of Oduma Lebbe Marciar Sekadi Marciar, we do hereby appoint him Headmoorman, of Colombo and Salpity Corale during our Will and Pleasure. And we do further by these presents confirm to the said Oduma Lebbe Marciar Sekadi Marciar all such privileges, rights, Honours and Precedence enjoyed by His Predecessors in the office of Headmoorman of Colombo and Salpity Corale as these have not been abrogated or altered by Law. All persons whom it may concern are hereby ordered and directed to acknowledge, respect and obey the said Oduma Lebbe Marciar Sekadi Marciar as Headmoorman of Colombo and Salpity Corale.
Wherefore we have granted him these Presents whereunto we have affixed the Seal of Our Arms Given at Colombo, the 22nd. May, 1824. By Order of His Excellency the Governor