James Thanickan

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On My Family, Friends and Kadalikad

On my Family
I belong to the Thannickal branch of the large Chollamadom family of Vazhakulam. The family name Thannickal dates back to two and a half centuries. Chollamadam family is an offshoot of an earlier Kanjirakkattu family of North Paravur.
(I have added a brief summary of the lineage history at the end of this page)
My mother (Rosa) belongs to the Puthiakunnethu branch of Pilippilly family. She hailed from Marika. It is also claimed to be a branch of the Palathungal family whose roots were in Kaduthuruthy.
My wife (Rani) belongs to the Kannady Thundiyil family of Kuttanad and her mother hailed from Kunnunkal family of Alappuzha.
My paternal grand mother belonged to the Elavungal branch of Perumbanani family who traces their roots back to Pakalomattom family via Natayil family.
My son (Rajesh) is in the film line. He is a Stephanian and did PG from FTTI, Pune and is currently  a freelance film director/editor. He is settled in Mumbai. His wife (Priya) is from Karippolivilayil family of Kayamkulam, Alappuzha. She is working in a bank in Mumbai.
My wife had  earlier worked with an NGO in New Delhi in the field of social work and is now  happily tending the only 'animal' at home
My brother (T C Mathew)  is a journalist and my sister (Shiney) a home maker. Brother is currently at Kadalikad.  Our sister is married to Vattakuzhi family of Kalloorkad.
My eldest niece and one nephew are employed  and in Bengaluru. The niece (Rosemary) is married to Poriyath family of Moolamattam. Other nephews and nieces are in schools and colleges.
My cousins and friends are spread all over India, besides, Germany, UK and USA. Friends, of course, you will find all over the planet.
I have also recently constructed a house at Kadalikad.

Rajesh Thanickan is currently working in the direction line on a Hindi film. He is looking for directorial/editorial jobs in other films.



The Thanickans derive their family name from the house name Thannickal. Thannickal is one of the sixteen branches of Chollamadam family which traces itself back to Kanjirakattu family of Kuthiathodu near Alappuzha, Kerala. A branch of the Kanjirakkattu family got settled at Arakuzha, near Muvattupuzha, and came to be known as Kunnumpurathu (On the Hill). This branch spread over the old parishes of Mailacompu and Arakkuzha. It is not known when the Chollamadam family originated from Kunnumpurathu.  The traceable genealogy takes us back to the 18th century. During the last quarter of that century one Varkey was the head of Chollmadom family. He had three sons, viz., Mathu, Varkey and Ouseph. Mathu, the eldest, stayed at Chollamadam tharavad (ancestral home) and Varkey, the middle one, moved over to Thannickal. The youngest one (Ouseph) became a Kathanaar (priest) and came to be known as Chollamadathil Valiyachan. He died in the second decade of nineteenth century. The original Thannickal house was on the southern side of the Vazhakulam Carmelite Monastery.


The family name Thannickal is derived from the tropical pagoda like tree Thanni (Bellerium myrobalan or Terminalia bellerica). It is a purely Dravidian name. The Hindi equivalent is Behera. In Sanskrit it is commonly known as Kalidrum. In the Nalopakyan of Mahabharat there is a very interesting story as to how this tree got the name Kalidrum.  Bellerium is used to be a popular tree as in Kerala its timber was considered excellent for Vallam (country boat) making. The nut of Myrobalan is one of the three ingredients of Triphala, a basic Ayurvedic drug. The nut is also used in dice game. It has other uses like in dye and in tanning leather.


Chollamadathil Varkey who got settled at Thannickal can be considered as the founder of Thannickal family. We may refer to him as Varkey (I) for purposes of identification. He had  three sons, viz., Varkey (II), Mathu and Kurian. Varkey (II) stayed at Thannickal, Mathu at Kallunkakudiyil and Kurian at Pichappillil.


Varkey (II) had two sons, viz., Varkey (III) and Ouseph. Varkey (II) died in the year 1852 (M.E. 1028). Varkey (III) stayed at Thazhathe Thannickal and Ouseph at Thekupurathu Thannickal.


Varkey (III) was born in 1824 (M.E.1000) and died in 1901 (M.E. 1077). He married Kalamppattu Annamma in whom he had five sons and five daughters. The names of the sons are Varkey (IV), Chacko, Mathai, Ouseph and Kurian. Out of the five daughters one remained unmarried. The others were married off to the following families: Mullankuzhiyil (Vazhakulam), Parathazhathu (Karimannoor), Munjanattu (Kadalikad) and Chundangayil (Avoly).  


Varkey (IV) stayed at the Tharavad. He had two daughters only, Mariam and Rosa. Mariam’s husband was Varkey Kallunkal. Rosa was married off to Mundanchirayil at Vadakod.


Mathai settled at Valavodiyangal (Thekkummala). He had three children Ouseph, Varghese and Annamma.


Ouseph settled in at Valiyaveettil (Mudappannoor).


Kurian settled at Peppathiyil (Mudappannoor).


The second son of Varkey (III) viz., Chacko (I) was my great grand father. He was born in the year 1852 corresponding to M.E. 1028 and died on 30th August 1948 (15 Chingam 1124). He was baptised at Arakuzha church. Around 1890 he settled down at Poothakuzhiyil (Kadalikad). This house fell in the Mailacompu parish. He married twice first to a girl from Thadathil. After his first wife’s death he married Mariyam of Kuzhikkattumyalil (Karimannoor). In this marriage he had nine children:

Annamma (1887),

Varghese (1889),

Ouseph (1891),

Chacko (1893),

Mathai (1894),

Mariyamma (1901),


Vrishi, and

Kunjorotha (1906).


Annamma’s husband was Ulahannan Ilayidathu (Kolani – Manakkad). Annamma died in 1932.


Mariyamma was married by Devasia of Nellikkunnel (Thekkummala) in 1917. She expired on 24th September, 1996. Br John de Montfort was her son.


 Kocheli’s husband was Thomman of Meprathu Kalappurayil (Arakkuzha). They later moved over to Pooppara, near Munnar, in the High Ranges.


Vrishi was married by Thurackal Thottiyil Varghese (Alakkod) She died in 1931 and Varghese in 1991.


 Kunjarotha’s husband was Ouseph Manjappillil (Ezhalloor). Ouseph expired in 1975 and Rosa in …. Fr George Manjappilly S.J was her son.


Varghese married Idasserry Puthanpurckal (Avoly)_ Alikkutty. Varghese died on 26th August 1987.


Ouseph’s first marriage was from Kallarackal;. His second marriage was from Mekkunnel Thannickamattathil (Mailacompu). Ouseph died on 19th July 1988.


Mathai married Thressia of Padinjarel (Neyyasserry).  He expired on 21st April 1985 and Thressia on 1st June 1989.


Chacko (II) my grandfather was born on 5th January 1893. His pet name was Kaku. He married Thressia, daughter of Varkey Perumpanani  Ilavungal (Madakkathanam) on 14th February 1914. She was born on 17th May 1895. Thressia died on 20th November 1968 and Chacko on 24th July 1988.


Chacko had only two issues, Mariyam, my aunt and Chacko (III) my father.



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