Overview of Website

This website was created by me (Terry Dewey) to record my research on family history, going back several centuries on my Dewey Wiltshire roots line in England. Then going on further, to record research on the first Dewey to settle in America, 'Thomas Dewey The Settler', as he is known in the USA. The website details the evidence (based on DNA and paper records) regarding the genetic links between the Dewey family in England, and the Dewey family in the USA. I believe the evidence presented proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that my uncle, my son and I are directly descended from Thomas Dewey The Settler's brother John; a very significant part of this evidence is the 70+ DNA matches between us 3, and the descendants of Thomas Dewey The Settler and his uncle John Moore.

The website primarily focuses on the Dewey line, but there are details on my maternal line, Steel/Still. In particular, under the 'Services' menu tab, the story of my granddad Norman Steel (Gunner Steel), and many others, during the traumatic events of WW1.

Two family Trees (FT) are available on the website, one for me under the 'Terry's FT' menu tab, covering Dewey and Steel ancestors, and the other for Thomas Dewey The Settler, under the 'Settler's FT' menu tab. The trees were created as stand alone web pages using the family tree package 'Gramps'; in order to return to the main part of the website the 'back arrow' key has to be used.

A lot of the information on my tree, mainly on the Steel/Still side, came from the family tree of my late brother-in-law, Howard Batch. As I knew him for nearly 50 years I know how precise and thorough he was.

  1. Terry's FT tab
My grandfather was born 1894 at the 'New Inn' in Warminster, Wiltshire, see photos under 'Scans' menu tab.  In Warminster there is a 'Dewey House', as well as a 'Dewey Museum' (part of the library).

The individuals on my tree have a code attached which shows the confidence level of the evidence for their events. For example, a 't' for text from an informal document, or 'g' for a GRO certificate or a capital letter for a DNA match. The capital letter is the first letter of my great-grandparent's surname, and is followed by a number specific to a particular DNA path. The details for these codes are described in 'Introduction' sub-tag of 'Terry's FT' menu tab.

My FT goes back to Thomas Dewye Snr (Thomas Dewey The Settler's father) baptised 10Feb1577, at Gillingham, Dorset {Thomas Dewye 1577 baptism} and his wife Mary Moore. Other Dewey family researchers, in particular Jim Dewey with whom I share the common ancestor Robert Dewey (b1694), have carried out research which shows that my 3*great grandfather George Dewey (b1797) was the great grandson of Robert Dewey (b1694).

Also, David Warn (my fourth cousin, once removed) has kindly given me permission to upload a pdf file of a document he has written, {DWarnFamilyElizDewey}. This is a large (162 pages) family history document concerning Elizabeth Dewey born 1802; Elizabeth is my 3*G great-aunt and David's 3*G grandmother. The document covers the family history on the Dewey line from Robert Dewey born 1694, down to the generation level of my father Gordon Frank Dewey born 1924; there are extensive references for the events covered. Also, on Ancestry, David has a family tree 'DWarn Family Tree' covering the Dewey line and other family lines of David's.

 2. Settler's FT tab: This tree for Thomas Dewey The Settler (as he is referred to in American family history) covers from when he settled in America back to his roots in England; it also shows links between the Dewey, the Moore and the Russell families in America and corresponding links in England. In particular the tree shows that the Settler's ancestors had connections to the places in England of East Knoyle in Wiltshire and Gillingham in Dorset, which are about 6 miles from one another; my ancestors also have connections to East Knoyle which makes it likely that the Wiltshire Dewey ancestors and the Settler's ancestors are related. John Russell died in America and had Thomas Dewey, Thomas Moore (Thomas' grandfather) and John Moore as signatories to his will; John Russell had family connections back at Hinton Martel in England. His will states that half of his estate is to go to, "my brothers, Henry Russell and Thomas Hyatt". At Hinton Martel in 1625, Robert Russell was a Church Warden (as was the Settler's father, Thomas Dewey Snr). Robert had brothers John and Henry, and a daughter Elizabeth who married a Thomas Hyatt, making him the husband of John's niece, akin to a brother-in-law? These events show the link between the Russell, the Moore and the Dewey families.

 3. America tab:   This page presents my hypothesis (with extensive supporting evidence) as to the roots of the individual who came to be known as Thomas Dewey The Settler.   He is the ancestor of a number of famous Americans, including: Admiral George Dewey (b1837); Melvil Dewey (b1851) creator of the 'Dewey Decimal Classification' system for books; Thomas E Dewey (b1902) who famously lost to Harry S Truman in the 1948 presidential election, despite being considered as 'certain' to win; and James Dewey Watson (b1928), co-winner (1962, with Francis Crick) of Nobel Prize for work on DNA.

Many years ago I had read from a number of sources that Thomas Dewey The Settler 'came from' Sandwich in Kent. For example, 'Life of George Dewey' published 1898, page 216 "... in early manhood seems to have become a dissenter and emigrated to America from Sandwich, Kent, England, as one of the early settlers, under Governor Winthrop and Rev. John Warham". Other historians dispute this; RC Anderson wrote in {RCA_GtMgrtn}:- "The statement has been made [e.g., NYGBR 6:63] that Thomas Dewey was from Sandwich, Kent, but this has no documentary foundation. Dewey was more likely from the West Country, as were so many of the other early settlers of Dorchester."

I lived in the county of Kent for several years, not far from the town of Sandwich, so I know the area reasonably well. My search for Dewey (Duee/ Dewye/ Dewy) connections in and around Sandwich, Kent came up with absolutely nothing of any relevance. The trail seemed to have run cold. However, in June 2010 my wife and I had a trip to the delightful Buckler's Hard { WikiBucklersHard}, visited their Maritime Museum and serendipitously came across an old sea chart showing that the town in Dorset now known as Swanage was known as Sandwich in 1781.

The label on the display cabinet stated "A folio of Pilot's Charts. This folio was published in 1781 and used by Captain John Child Pervis of HMS LONDON."

A lot more evidence regarding 'Sandwich in Dorset' can be found on the 'Sandwich?' web page. It would seem that if there is any link to "Sandwich", it is far more likely to be to Sandwich in Dorset, rather than Sandwich in Kent. So my research switched to the south west of England and as they say, the rest is history.

My hypothesis on the 'America' web page is presented as a 'structured argument' in order to identify Thomas Dewey The Settler's roots in England to a high level of confidence. The approach adopted is:-
  a) the criteria for the evidence that should be covered is defined
  b) against each of those criterion, separate and independent items of corroborative evidence, with references, are presented
  c) a statistical analysis of the confidence in the conclusion is presented.

My conclusion is that:- Thomas Dewey The Settler was born in 1606 at Hinton Martell, Dorset.
His father was Thomas (born 1577, died 1636), his mother was Mary Moore (born 1586, died 1637), his maternal grandfather was Thomas Moore (born 1556, died 1645) and John Moore (born 1607, died 1677) was an uncle; his paternal grandfather was Richard Dewe (born 1547) and another uncle was William Dewye (born 1577)

 4. Origins of the surname Dewey: Two different lines of (seemingly unrelated) follow-up research came together to reach a surprising conclusion; the first line of research came out of the statistical analysis, mentioned in section 3 above, item c), regarding the frequency of the surname Dewey in Wiltshire. The second line of research has been carried out by Mike Parker Pearson of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, et al. which shows that the some of the stones at Stonehenge came from Wales.

  4.1 Frequency: The significantly higher frequency of the surname of Dewey in Wiltshire, compared to bordering counties would seem to suggest that a largish group of people, connected in some way (for example a large family, tribe or religious sect), emigrated to Wiltshire and then over time spread out to other counties. The difference in the name frequency is quite striking. Searching the 1841 Census on Ancestry:- for Wiltshire 1 in 1622 of the population was a Dewey; next nearest county was Hants at 1 in 2672, then Dorset at 1 in 5227. The other SW counties of Somerset and Devon were significantly less frequent, as was Kent.

Drilling down a level, the data is even more striking:- There are about 250 parishes within Wiltshire; from BritishSurnames a list, based on the 1881 census, is available of the parishes in Britain with the highest 'frequency' (percentage of people in that parish with the surname Dewey). The top 2 on the list are remote, isolated communities, over 100 miles from Stonehenge, in the English Midlands, so not connected. However, the next 3 are all in Wilts, all within 4 to 20 miles of Stonehenge, and the 6th is in Hants just 18 miles from Stonehenge. For the 3 parishes in Wilts the 'frequency' is between 2% and 3%, and for the one in Hants it is 1.4%; all the other parishes in the list are below 0.25%. A similar distribution is found for around 1580 and 1600. Results of searches on Ancestry for 'Dewey - sounds like and similar', 'Any Events', '1580 +/-10' and '1600 +/-10' gave:-
  Wilts, there were 14 for 1580 and then 37 for 1600
  Dorset, 1 and then 31
  Hants 0 and then 2.

All of this evidence strongly suggests that the Dewey family 'originated' in Wiltshire and then spread out to neighbouring counties. This seems a bit unusual as Wiltshire does not have any coastline whereby immigrants could enter the country of England, and then spread out to other regions. So there must be something different or special about Wiltshire; this is where the second line of research provides a credible answer, Stonehenge:-

  4.2 Stonehenge: One theory regarding the origin of the name Dewey is that it derives from Dewi, the Welsh for David; the patron saint of Wales is Saint David, or Dewi Sant in Welsh. Something extraordinary about Wiltshire is the ancient monument of Stonehenge, a significant part of which was built using stones from Wales! From a 2021 paper by Mike Parker Pearson, 'The original Stonehenge?' {MPP_Paper2021}, "In conclusion, it seems that Stonehenge stage one was built - partly or wholly - by Neolithic migrants from Wales, who brought their monument or monuments as a physical manifestation of their ancestral identities to be re-created in similar form on Salisbury Plain - a locale already holding a long tradition of ceremonial gathering". The paper goes on to state:- "It raises new questions about why people from west Wales moved themselves, their animals and their sacred stones to Stonehenge. If this was indeed the case, what were the drivers of such a migration? Were they climatic, economic, social or political, or a combination of these?".

This original emigration from what is now Pembrokeshire was around 3000BC; being so long ago, it is unlikely to have established the name of Dewi/Dewey. However, there is another emigration, at around 1100 AD, that would be far more likely. From {WikiPembroke}, a link to an archived BBC article on 'Flemish colonists to SW Wales' states that:- "This systematic planting of Flemish settlers by Henry I, and later Henry II, had significant consequences for the people of South Pembrokeshire... and drove away all the inhabitants of the land". The city of St David (the smallest city in the UK) is in Pembrokeshire and there is also a St Davids church in MA USA, which may be a 'shared name' as the church is about 10 miles from Barnstable MA. St Davids in Pembrokeshire is about 60 miles from the port of Barnstable in Devon, which is directly across the Bristol Channel, so it is likely that the two towns would have interacted via the sea-route. From {WikiStDavids}:- "David was born around 500AD... David is thought to have founded an earlier community... The settlement would became known as Tyddewi meaning 'House of Dewi (David's name in Welsh)'". So perhaps some of the people driven out in 1100 from Pembrokeshire were known as Dewi's, and over the centuries, the label morphed, via many variants, to the surname Dewey? Ancient links with Wiltshire, such as pilgrimages from Pembrokeshire to Stonehenge, or vice versa, may well have persisted. Also the village of Avebury, about 20 miles N of Stonehenge has monuments built around the same period; it has its own stone circles as well as Silbury Hill, see WikiAvesbury. This region of Salisbury Plain has historical and religious significance going back thousands of years. In which case this area of Wiltshire would be a likely place for a displaced people to migrate to, or even perhaps back to? From {HistoryOfWales}, "Becoming a missionary David travelled throughout Wales and Britain and even made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he was consecrated bishop. He founded 12 monasteries including Glastonbury and one at Minevia (St. Davids)" Glastonbury is in Somerset, which borders Wiltshire, and is about 45 miles from Stonehenge. Presumably David would also have visited Stonehenge and/or Salisbury.

  4.3 Conclusion: It seems likely that the surname Dewey is a derivative of Dewi, which was a name of a religious sect following the teachings of David, who later became to be known as Saint David. Around 1100AD the Dewi sect were probably driven out of SW Wales, together with other Welsh people of S Pembrokeshire, and resettled around Stonehenge, which was a place of ancient historic significance to them.

 5. Sandwich? tab: This page lays out the evidence supporting my reasoning that Sandwich (now known as Swanage) in Dorset would be the applicable town in the context of any aspect of the Settler's history, rather than Sandwich in Kent.

 6. Scans tab: This page of the website shows partial scans of documents that I have cropped to just contain information relevant to Dewey family research. It also contains some of my own photos that I have scanned in.

 7. Services tab: The involvement of members of my near family within the armed services and the emergency services. This is mainly about my grandfathers in the army and the RFC during WW1 and my father in the RAF during WW2.

 8. Physics tab: This has nothing to do with family history, it is just another way for me to try to self-publish a paper I wrote about the nature of light. Please feel free to browse if you have an interest. There is no complicated maths, but it is somewhat controversial in suggesting that 'Big-Bang' is an invalid guess for a misinterpreted observation!

Change History

 From 2022 Issue:
 a) Numerous small changes have been made as minor corrections or clarifications. Major changes are limited to the Home, Scan and America tabs

 b) America tab: Section 4, 4.1 and 4.2 have been rewritten in order to incorporate the addition of my son's DNA evidence that proves the extent of endogamy at Windsor CT and Westfield MA and, as a consequence, the 71 DNA matches to ‘distant cousins’ that have been found. These matches are between 3 individuals in England, me (Terry), my paternal uncle (Norman) and my son (Brian), and several of the descendants of Dewey and Moore settlers in America. I have documented this particular part of my research in a 'Case Study' which can be accessed here {Case Study }. The conclusion reached is that the Most Recent Common Ancestor couple between us 3 and The Settler's descendants in the USA must be Thomas Dewye Snr and his wife Mary Moore.

 c) Home tab: Clarifications and additions to some paragraphs which relate to recent research.

 d) Scan tab: Addition of crop scan for Mary Moore baptism 1586, John Moore baptism 1609.

 e) Case Study on endogamy & distant cousins; the techniques I have used to find distant cousins could be of use to other researchers to achieve similar results, so I created a stand-alone document as a more easily distributed medium than a website. The case study explains how the effect of endogamy can ‘boost’ a distant cousin's DNA and hence make it possible to find a DNA match to them; a targeted search on birth location then provides a set of cousins of relevance. In our case, 2 descendants in the USA were of particular importance, one Dewey and one Moore descendant, who were a match to all 3 of us closely related English individuals. This single result, on its own, surely proves we must be related to the Settler?

 From 2016 Issue:
 a) Numerous small changes have been made as corrections or additions.

 b) More significantly, I decided that having taken the DNA test I should make full use of all of the results. To achieve this I made extensive use of the 'ThruLines' tool provided by Ancestry. This tool provides information about a user's DNA matches. My simplified understanding is that the tool goes through each DNA match and uses the linked family trees of both the user and the DNA match to search for an individual of the same surname. This individual is then one potential link in a line of links. ThruLines then searches for other individuals who could form a possible line of linkage by searching through the family trees of all users (even if they are have not taken the DNA test) on Ancestry's database, looking for possible links that could form a complete line of linkage which is then shown to the user for evaluation - very clever!
  I have checked all of the suggested lines of linkage up to about the 4th cousin level, and for those lines that I accept, I then identify all of the individual links forming the line on my family tree. I identify them by a code as a name suffix consisting of a capital letter plus a number. So, for example a DNA match on my great-grandfather Steel's side would be the letter S for Steel, with 1 to 9 for the specific line or lines coming down to him. Continuing the example, my great-uncle Albert's code is S4. All the individuals that form the line of linkage have the suffix code of S4 added so that the line can be easily traced on my family tree. I have now identified the linkage to 43 of my DNA matches. This confirms that the basic structure of my family tree involving these DNA matches is correct. There are about another 70 DNA matches that I do not yet have adequate data for.

 c) Addition of a family tree specifically for Thomas Dewey The Settler, prior to his emigration to America; it shows his immediate ancestors and also how other families living in SW England were connected to the Dewey family. In particular those with surnames Moore, Russell, Hyatt and Wareham, i.e. all the names mentioned in John Russell's will.

 d) A theory as to the origin of the surname Dewey considering the high population density of Deweys in Wiltshire, and the archaeological history of Stonehenge, see section 4 above.

 e) Another significant addition is evidence to show I am related to Thomas Dewey The Settler, as his 9*G grandnephew. This evidence consists mainly of a number of DNA matches provided by Ancestry. My paternal uncle has also taken the DNA test; in theory, as he is a generation 'closer', his results should be more precise. Between us, my uncle and I have 15 DNA matches, some with trees which between them cover all 5 of Thomas Dewey The Settler's children. This wide ranging DNA evidence, together with other evidence, as covered in detail on the 'America' tab section 4, leads me to conclude that Thomas Dewey The Settler and I are almost certainly related - Wow!


Where information has come from other sources, they are identified as appropriate.  I have had a lot of help with my research and I would like to thank all of the people who assisted me.

The images on this website were either created by myself (Terry Dewey) or are from:-
 a) Wikipedia, their usage is under 'Wikimedia Commons' licensing. For further details please see their 'Reuse Guide'.
 b) Dorset Record Office & Ancestry. Cropped samples from image files.
All copyrights are recognised, in particular those of the Dorset Record Office.

Links and Refs

Wikipedia Commons:
RCA_GtMgrtn: R. C. Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

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