The Ancient Clans of Tissanayaka of Mathakal and Kumarakulasinghe of Tellipallai

This website is dedicated to documenting the genealogies of two ancient clans, one descended from Tissanayaka Mudaliyar and the other from Don Juan Kumarakulasinghe Mudaliyar, two prominent Tamil Chieftains who lived during Dutch Times.

Both the Tissanayagam family and the Kumarakulasinghe family are old, well established and elite Tamil clans, who in the past have produced Mudaliyars, Maniyagars, Udyars, Arachchis, and Vidans, and in modern times produced leading professionals in the fields of law, & accountancy, judges, members of parliament, and Business Magnates. These two clans who claim Blue Blooded ancestry, are held in high esteem by the people of Jaffna and the Vannis.

The information presented in this website, has been collated in conversation with Mr. Mohan Tissanayagam who had immersed himself in studying the genealogies of Jaffna Tamil families and the history of Jaffna over the past 30 years. In the course of his research he had studied documents from the Tissanayagam & the Kumarakulasinghe family archives, the national archives, books and documents on the genealogies of Jaffna Tamil families, as well as books on the history of Ceylon and of Jaffna. Many members from the older generations of the two families concerned, kinsmen, genealogical researchers, and historians were interviewed by him in search of information.

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Mr. Tissanayagam was born in Colombo, on the 29th of January 1951 and spent a large part of his childhood through the years 1954-1967 schooling in Jaffna whilst residing with his maternal grand-mother the late Mrs T. C. Rajaratnam, in her ancestral home "Raneesthan", Inuvil, Chunnakam. These were the final years of peace in Jaffna, when a semblance of the feudal structure was still intact.

This site also contains information that has been gathered by Mr. Shanthi-Kumar who was commissioned by the MAGA institute to carry out research on some of the villages of Jaffna in the early 1980s. One such village that was covered by this commission was the village of Mathakal. In the course of his research Mr. Shanthi-Kumar was able to gather valuable information regarding the families originating from Mathakal, details of land holdings, thombu names of the lands etc�. Unfortunately the research had to be abandoned due to the worsening of the security situation in the North. However his research documents are available, and have been used extensively as source material for some of the articles featured on this web site.

Whatever information that is currently available about the genealogy and heritage of these two families in documentary form, preserved in pictorial form, or passed down by word of mouth (tradition), has been committed to this web site. Even the more fanciful claims have been recorded in order to preserve such information.

Wherever possible family tradition has been substantiated with independent evidence from published works. Where there is no direct supporting evidence we have provided hypothesis based on accepted tradition, set down in published works.

The civil war in Jaffna has swept away the old social order of Jaffna, and along with it the culture, traditions and customs which made the area unique. A new order has emerged among the Tamils, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and abroad, made up of a new people making various claims, and trying to re-write its social history. Under these circumstances it is imperative to preserve whatever information available about the old order, before it is lost, forgotten or obliterated forever.

Another objective in launching this website is to initiate discussion among a wider audience in the hope that we would be able to find additional information about these families.

The Tissanayagam family is descended from Tissanayake Mudali of Mannan Pulam Mathakal, and the Kumarakulasinghe family from Don Juan Kumarakulasinghe mudali of Mudi Valavu Tellipallai, two prominent chieftains who lived during Dutch Times. Their names appear in the Dutch records of the period including the Head Thombus' and Land Thombus'.

Whatever information regarding these two families which has been passed down the generations by word of mouth has been set down under the section titled "Family Traditions". Some of these claims may seem fanciful, and yet there seems to be an underlying truth, when read in the context of the information available about the history of the Jaffna Kingdom.

Families Connected by Matrimonial Alliances
This site also contains information regarding the following families who are connected through matrimonial alliances to the Tissanayagam family and the Kumarakulasinghe family. They are the descendents of:
  • Gurunadar of Manipay the progenitor of the Handy family
  • Kantha Nainar of Neerveli the progenitor of the Luthor family
  • Oscot Udayar of Kurumbasiddy Tellipallai the progenitor of the Lawton, and Mandalanayagam families.

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