In 1860, Moussa Sursuq (1815-1887) built what is now called the Sursock Palace in Beirut. The Sursock family's origin goes back to Constantinople and they have being recorded as living in Beirut since 1714. Their great wealth was made in the early 19th century primarly in agriculture (wheat and cotton) and later in manufacturing (cotton mills). At its hight, the Sursock empire extended from Mersine (Turkey) to Alexandria (Egypt) passing by Lebanon, Cyprus and Palestine.
Musa's sons were George, Michel, and Alfred; his daughters were Malvina, Labiba, Rosa, Mariam, and Isabelle. Alfred was appointed to the post of secretary at the Ottoman embassy in Paris in 1905; he moved in the titled circles of Europe and married Maria Serra di Cassano, from an old Italian princely family. Their daughter Yvonne eventually became Lady Cochrane.