The Mysterious Private Seedin

What is our last name really?

Mom’s maiden name was Sithie Fouzil Seedeen. Her birth records list her last name and her father’s as Seedin. During colonial times in Java, our ancestors actually wrote using Arabic script. We didn’t really think much of it before, as it’s really an english transliteration of a Malay name, so there can be variations in spelling. There is much debate in the family as to why that’s the case. I remember Nenek’s (grandmother in SL Malay) house at 204 Station Road in Udamulla had a permanent tile on the outside wall at the entrance of the house that said Seedeen, so we always assumed that was the correct spelling of our last name.

Desertion from the Military

Kakek (grandfather in SL Malay) had a long career in the Sri Lankan police force but not everyone knew that he used to serve in the military. I remember Uncle Dicky telling me a story about how he needed Kakek’s signature and records in order to get his passport and Kakek refused, stating he may get caught for desertion from the army.

Private Seedin of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. 

I had searched the through archives on Ancestry which led me to UK Court Martials Records. I found 3 separate records from 1852 mentioning a Private Seedin in Colombo of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment who was listed for court martial for desertion. In one section he was listed as Private S. Seedin. Could this be Kakek? I think it’s unlikely given the date but he could be a descendent of Private Seedin as Malays tended to serve in the military and police force in Sri Lanka and the core of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment was made up of Malays. We know that Kakek was about 13 years older than Nenek so I would guess his year of birth was around 1912. If we are descendants of this private Seedin, I would guess that he was Kakek’s grandfather.

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