Posted by Richard Seeto (18.104.22.168) on April 22, 2005 at 20:30:28:
I am going to yet put a new slant on the origins of my family surname. Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of my surname.
The Seeto surname has so many variations in English transliteration, anyone who is not familiar with its origin might think they are all different family surnames. E.g. depending on which Chinese dialect one uses at the time it is translated into English, our surname can be written as: Seeto, Seto, Setu, Szeto, See Ho, Sito, Si Ho, Seetu, Szetu, SiHu and so on, however, the Chinese character, as the previous post points out, is the same however, one cuts it. There are even some Spanish, Italian and Japanese similar sounding names such as: Esposito and Citoh.
As my father told me when I was young, our first forbear has committed some sort crime or offence against the government and was pursued all over China. In order to waylay his trackers to avoid capture, he changed his surname from the normal one syllable customary Chinese surname into a two syllable one. Hence, See -To. Thus, the Seeto surname become unique in that it is the only Chinese surname which contains two syllables.
As far as I know, the Seetos are most numerous in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. There's a joke
which used to go around in PNG that where ever there is a group of four people, there are bound to be 3 Seetos amongst them. This appears to be the case for me especially if the 4 people are Chinese.
The next place with many Seeto families are in Fiji, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia.
It seems most Chinese immigrants came from the coastal areas of China when there was no work and famine was rife. When one person left the village to go overseas to find his fortune and settled in, he soon send word back to his village where he has made good and then everyone from that village would try to rush to that particular destination.
This appears to be a typical overseas Chinese migration pattern and there is virtually no place on earth where there isn't at least a Chinese person who lives there, no matter how isolated the location.
I believe that there is a particularly strong and active Szeto Clan Association in Hong Kong and a Seeyup Association in Sydney.
Does anyone know the contacts of these two and other similar organisations? Please contact me.
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