Etymology of the Sethi Name/SRC Page

Some random notes for the Sethi (/Say thi/) etymology page (soon to be the official Surname Resource Center (SRC) for the Sethi name). Please feel free to edit this page to add to it or create your own pages here.

Wikipedia Information

  • According to Wikipedia's Sethi Page, Sethis are Kukhran Khatris. Kukhran is a sub-caste made up of 11 clans (one of which is the Sethi clan) of the caste Khatri, which is the Punjabi form of Kshatriya, the Sanskrit word for the Hindu military caste. Khatris seem to be warriors and rulers in times of war and merchants, land-owners, etc., in times of peace. Sethis, according to Wikipedia, are Indo-Aryan peoples who were originally Hindus; however, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a significant number of Sethis adopted Sikhism (much like our personal family history, below).

The Egyptian Connection

  • King Sethi I (father of King Ramses II) – Although our name, like us, is Indian, I recently found out about the existence of King Sethi I and King Sethi II in the ancient Egyptian dynasties. I ’m not sure of any connection between them and our family name (or family!) but I suspect it ’s just a coincidence. I ’m still researching this but from what little I ’ve been able to gather, it seems Seti denoted the Egyptian dynasty of Kings and that King Sethi I was supposed to be the earthly incarncation/representation of the Egyptian God Set. King Ramses II was the son of King Sethi I and is famous for fighting off the Hittites and building the Luxor (not the one in Las Vegas, btw!). And if anyone could translate the contents of the following page, I ’d love to see what it has to say about Commander Sethi ( Old Link) (I did use Altavista's Babel Fish on it and it seems to be talking about the adventures of a boy named Sethi in the Egypt of the Pharaohs … coolness! Full details here!). For more on King Sethi and his place in the Egyptian dynasties, click here and here ( Old Link 1 Old Link 2) (better links coming soon!).

The Irish Connection

  • The Irish Connection – Well, this one really surprised the bejeezus outta me: according to Heritage Arts, the Sethi name also has an independent derivation in Ireland and is descended from MacSheehy (in Irish, Mac Sithigh ( Sithigh to Sethi?)) and is supposed to belong to the area of Munster (which, at the end of the last century, was the home of about ninety percent of the Sheehy families in Ireland). According to the good folks at Heritage Arts:
      The name is also spelt SHEEKY, SHEACH, SHIACH, SEATH, McSHEEHY,
      McSHIEHUE, McSHIHY, and McKEITH.  Within that province the name is
      commonest in County Kerry followed by County Limerick.  The ancestors
      of the Sheehys were not, however, a native Munster sept or even a
      native Irish one, but gallowglass fighters from Scotland who came over
      to Ireland as mercenaries and were established near Rathkeale, County
      Limerick, by the early 15th century where they were in the service of
      the FitzGerald Earls of Desmond.

    Pretty interesting stuff … this was the first I ’d ever heard of Sethi ’s in Ireland although I did meet a girl from Scotland once who was looking for a cousin of hers also named Sethi …. for more on Heritage Arts ’ history on the Family Name Origin of Sethi, or on their perspective on other surnames, please check out their website.

A potential origin?

  • From Seth meaning rich man? – In Hindi, Seth means merchant or rich man and since our class is the merchant class (I think … I do have to confirm this, though; it might be the warrior class) it makes sense that Sethi ( Sethi in Hindi) was somehow derived from Seth ( Seth in Hindi).

Personal Surname Background

FIXME Start a new page for each family’s personal surname research?

  • Who changed our family name to that? Papaji ’s great-great-great-great-grandfather? – From what I ’ve been able to gather, back in the 1800 ’s, many Hindu families decided to have their first born son become a Sikh (because the Sikhs were becoming an increasingly powerful military and political power in India? I think that ’s a possibility since this was right around or right after the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh). Such was the case with my great-great- …-great-grandfather (I need to confirm exactly how great he was with Dad … personally, I think he was pretty great!). He adopted the Sikh religion (I believe he was already a Sethi, though) and his progeny were all Sikhs, down to our generation. Both Mom and Dad ’s families have a history in Punjab (Dad ’s in Hoshiarpur and Mom ’s in Amritsar) so one of the things that they (and we) plan on doing upon our triumphant return to India in the year 2000 is to research the etymology and genealogy in more detail.


  • This was an old reference that I bought an etymology from; not the best but included for completeness …
      Heritage Arts
      History Gift Products
      30 Hambledon Drive
      Wollaton, Nottingham
      NG8 1LG, United Kingdom
      Tel/Fax:  +44 (0) 115 8498551
etymology/index.txt · Last modified: 2007/11/06 12:34 by rickysethi Back to top