The Name "Seheult"

What is the origin of the name "Seheult?"  How is it truly pronounced?  The following excerpt from an article
entitled "UNE FAMILLE D'ARCHITECTES NANTAIS LES SEHEULT" gives us some insight. (1)

"Bien que les Séheult (2) appartinssent à une famille connue, les Nantais ne savaient trop comment les       
nommer.  On usa d'autant plus de graphies différentes qu'une inévitable confusion entre les lettres c et e vint
tout compliquer. Il y eut donc : Séheult, Séheut, Séhuelt, Scheult, Sheult, Suhet et Suet, le plus souvent
Séheult et Suet dont la prononciation nantaise faisait Suette. Dans la seconde moitié du X'Vllle siècle,
certains membres de cette famille décidèrent, pour tout concilier, de s'appeler Séheult-Suet. Deux jugements
rectificatifs d'état civil, au début du siècle suivant, rétablirent la forme Séheult sans addition (3).
"Une tradition invérifiée réputait les Séheult originaires de l'Est. Il faudrait, dans ce cas, voir en Scheult leur
nom primitif. Toujours est-il que le plus ancien personnage auquel on puisse rattacher une filiation suivie est
Michel << Suhet >>, peintre et tapissier, qui décéda rue de la Casserie, en la paroisse Saint-Nicolas, le 30
mars 1708, âgé de cinquante-deux ans. Sa femme se nommait Marie Gauthier."

Translated into English:

"Although the Seheults (2) were a known family, the " Nantais " ( inhabitants from Nantes ) did not know how
they were to be called. They used many different spellings due to a confusion between the letter c and e.
There was thus: Séheult, Séheut, Séhuelt, Scheult and Suet which gave a local nantaise pronunciation
"Suette ". In the second half of the 18th century, certain members of this family decided to call themselves
Seheult-Suet . Then, two civil judgments at the start of the following century (19th) corrected and established
the form "Seheult" without the addition of Suet (3).
"An unverified tradition considered that the Séheult family originated in the East. It would be necessary in this
case to see in Scheult their primitive name. In any case the earliest person with whom one can find a family
affiliation is Michel Suhet, painter and tapestry maker, which died on Casserie street, in the parish of Saint
Nicolas's, March 30, 1708, at the age of 52. His wife was Marie Gauthier."

It is interesting to note that Michel Suhet's last name's spelling is phonetically similar to "Suette."  Where in the
east did the Seheult family originate?  Some have suggested Holland (4). Other Seheults not related directly
to the Nantes Seheults have been found.  In particular were a family of Seheult Hugenots which immigrated to
England in the late 1600s (5). James Scheult, a part of this family was a very prestigious jeweler who had
made items for King Louis XIV before his arrival in England (6). Even in England he is credited for creating a
beautiful patch box for Queen Mary II of England which now resides in the Royal Collection (7).  The related
article states that the maker of the patch box was almost certainly "James Schuelt, whose name suggests a
Germanic origin (7)."















In addition, two other Seheult protestant brothers, Jacques and Issac Seheult are mentioned:  
"Nicolas de Blégny in his convenient Book of the addresses of Paris for 1692, in the chapter devoted to the
trade of the works of gold, money, precious stones, and pearls, quotes Vandive, then living street of Harlay,
like having a private individual talent for the small works and gold jewellery. He is quoted there beside the
goldsmiths "Beautiful, place of the Mazarini College, Blanque, street Dauphine and the brothers Sehut, even
street", who are identified as being Josias Belle, Jacob Blanques, of German origin rather than Flemish,
Jacques Seheult and his/her brother Isaac Seheult, these three first of Protestant origin had become "new
convert", while this last will prefer to soon to take refuge in London. (8)

Finally, how is the name pronounced today?  This author's limited research on the topic has yielded some
results.  At least three descendants of two sons (Jules Alexandre Seheult (1839-1883) and Adhemar Seheult
(1855 - ?)) of Jean Jacques Alexandre Seheult (1794-1865) who was the first Seheult immigrant to Trinidad
pronounce the name phonetically "Shwelt".   This means that there is a high likelihood that this is how the
name was pronounced by Jean Jacques Alexandre Seheult himself when he left Nantes in the early 1800s.  

More research is needed.



References:

1) H. de Berranger. Une Famille d’architectes Nantes, les Seheult. Bulletin de la société archéologique et historique de Nantes
en de la Loire-Atlantique. Tome 107, 1968 pages 31-39
2) Sources : Arch. mun. Nantes, séries CC, DD, GG, HH et II. Bibliographie : BÉNÉZIT (E.), Dictionnaire des peintres, 2o éd.  –
GI-RAUD-MANGIN (M.),  L'Architecture et les architectes nantais du XVIe au XIXe. s., in Mém. Soc. Hist. et Archéol. Bretagne, t:
VI  (1925), p. 83-106. - GHANGES DE SURGÈRES (DE), Les Artistes nantais (Paris, 1898, in-8o HAUTECUR (L.) Histoire de
l'Architecture classique en France, t. V (1953), et VI (1955).  - LELIÈVRE (P.), Nantes au XVIIIe s.(Nantes, 1942, gr. in-8o)  -
LEVOT (P.), Biographie bretonne (Paris, 1857, in-4o) MAILLARD (E.), L'Art à Nantes au XIXe s. (Paris, 1888, gr. in-8)  -
MELLINET (C.), Notice sur F.L. Séheult, in Ann. Soc. acad.
Nantes, t. XIII (1842)., p. 363-365.
3) Tribunal civil de Nantes, 4 février 1812 et 2 octobre 1830.
4) Personal communication 1 June 2004: Gilles Bienvenu. Professor at the School of Architecture in Nantes and French Author.
5)
http://www.rootsweb.com/~fianna/surname/hug3.html
6) Journal du marquis de DANGEAU. Tome septième. 1699-1700 page 44
7) The Royal Collection
8) http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_van_Dievoet
Photo: The Royal Collection