Monet, Monett, Monnet, Monnett, Monnette: 

What's in a Name?

There are various spellings of our family's surname in Ohio: Monet, Monett, Monette, Monnet, Monnett, Monnette, etc.  The most common spelling for our descendents who settled in the Marion County and Crawford County portions of North Central Ohio in the 1830's and 1840's is Monnett and/or Monnette.  Other variations exist, however they are uncommon to our familiar use.

 "Monnett" dominated the family until the turn of the century when several lines began the process of adoption the final "e" resulting in "Monnette".  Reasons for the adaptation have never been concrete, nor have they been consistent within a family line.  Some may have adopted the final "e" because it was different, others may have done so in hopes that it would aid in the proper pronunciation, still other may have added the "e" in an attempt to distance themselves from something or someone.  

Among "the twelve" children of Abraham and Catherine Braucher Monnett, Mervin, Madison and Melvin adopted the usage at some point during their lifetime.  Mentions of the family in the Marion Star heavily begin using the "Monnette" spelling after 1905.  John T. Monnett's line officially adopted the usage of "Monnette" after his death in 1910. 

Making the spelling issue even more confusing are inconsistencies found in various public documents, histories and most recently on the Internet, where just about any spelling of the name is employed by people unfamiliar with "which" branch used "which" particular spelling.  The common error on-line appears to be when people assign their current spelling of the name to their ancestors, and to Orra E. Monnette when citing his book. This alone adds to the confusion -- when people don't take the time to double check their reference and source material.

As far as pronunciation goes, there are no voice recordings that indicate how the name was pronounced in the early 1900's.  We do know that the name was commonly Americanized in the 18th and 19th centuries, leaving the French soft "et" behind.

Pronunciation of the name varies from region to region, family to family.  However the most common are:

Spelling Pronunciation Notes
Monet, Monnet mo-NEY  Traditional French usages - Long "o", "e" as long "a", silent "t". Accent on second syllable. 
Monnet, Monett, Monnett, Monnette mo-NET Commonly found; Midwest American usage. Long "o", hard "n",  short "e", hard "t". Final "e" in eight letter spelling is always silent. Accent on second syllable. 
Monnett, Monnette mah-NET  Commonly found in North Central Ohio. "o" becomes short "ah" sound, followed accent on the "N" in second syllable: "net" dominates, however they are commonly said quickly and together. Final "e" in eight letter spelling is always silent.

Incorrect pronunciations of the names MONNETT and MONNETTE include: Mon-netti, Moan-ette, Mon-it and the French Mo-na. In other words, don't use them.

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Revised: March 06, 2008  

Small Monnet Family Crest