My Dewey family tree

The Nottingham Branch

By Janet Smith

Mr. Lawrence Dewey, Headmaster, Bottesford School
Mr. Lawrence Dewey, Headmaster, Bottesford School

I have been researching my family tree for a considerable time and although my father’s family came from the Westminster area of London and subsequently from Edmonton/Enfield in Middlesex, I have managed to trace my great great grandfather, Samuel’s birth to the parish of St Mary in Nottingham.  He was born in about 1811/12, parents unknown.

I believe that he married in Manchester in 1829, after joining the Coldstream Guards in London.  Four years of his army service was spent in Quebec, Canada, where his wife gave birth to two sons.  The family then returned to England in about 1842.

Professional researchers both in Nottingham and Manchester produced precious little and so I decided to write to all the Deweys in those areas.  Today I have received a telephone call from a Peter Dewey who tells me that he believes that all the Deweys originated from one family in Bottesford.  On logging on to your website, the first name I came across was a Mr Dewey whose name featured in a local play!

I have lived here in East Wittering for virtually all of my life – I am now retired, and my husband and I run a local history group of some ten members who were born and bred here in this coastal village in West Sussex.  If any of your members has any information that they think may be of help to me, I would be delighted to hear from them.

Janet Smith

Mr. Dewey was Head Master of Bpttesford School until 1968. In his description of a post-war childhood, Michael Bradshaw has written of his gratitude to his Bottesford teachers, especially Mr. Dewey. ‘Mr Dewey must have been my earliest hero. His knowledge of the world and things ancient and modern. I along with other classmates helped him to compile an early history of the district, “The North East Corner”, what a shame no one ever put it to print. I read it last time in 1986, when I called on Mrs Dewey and borrowed it for a short time when we came to England for the year. It was still in the proof form as we had collated it, I do hope one of the Dewey boys inherited it, and might sometime publish it. Local history was always a favourite of mine. He also taught us the growing of vegetables, and how to prune and to graft the fruit trees in the orchard at the school gardens up Pinfold Lane, we would have an afternoon tending our plots during the growing season. A lot of the produce being used in the production of school dinners, and the skills in every thing horticultural have stayed with me all my life.’

Perhaps an enthusiasm for local history is an inherited characteristic.

This page was added on 29/05/2008.

Comments about this page

  • A great many members of the Dewey family are on The Vale of Belvoir Family Tree – a data base of some 25,000 individuals which has grown out of the “Barkestone-le-Vale Family Tree”. I would be pleased to help Janet Smith with her research if she would like to email me or alternatively visit our next exhibition in Barkestone-le-Vale beginning the second weekend of October.

    Your Web site just gets better and better – it’s the only one on which I always spend hours every time I visit. Keep up the wonderful work – you’re marvelous.

    Sheila H Marriott
    Barkestone-le-Vale Photograph & Family History Exhibition

    By Sheila H Marriott (09/07/2008)
  • We have a copy of The North East Corner in our project’s archive. It is a very fine work and I have wondered if it could be published. Would it fit in with the much vaunted ‘National Curriculum’?

    Meanwhile, I have checked the censuses for Bottesford and Muston. In 1841 there was Ellen Dewey (15) living in the household of John Norris, a cordwainer, ‘On The Green’. Later, a Dewey family was resident in Bottesford in 1851 and 1861, but had left by 1871. In 1851, John (29), a railway labourer, and his wife Ann (27) and sons William (2) and John (1), lived in one of the cottages On The Green. In 1861 the family had moved to Normanton Gatehouse on the Grantham-Nottingham railway. John was still a railway labourer and Ann had become the gatekeeper. They had three sons William (12), John (5) and Thomas (1), and four daughters Elizabeth (9), Mary (7), Sarah (4) and Hariot (2). It may be that the son John recorded in 1851 had died and a second boy been given this name. No Deweys are recorded in Bottesford in 1871, 1881 or 1891. The only other Dewey I found was Ethel Dewey, who is recorded in 1901 as a servant, aged 13, of John Day at Muston Wharf. John was a ‘carter on the estate’ (presumably the Duke of Rutland’s estate). Ethel is recorded as being born at Swayfield in Lincolnshire. However, as Sheila points out, there were several other Dewey families it the area, for instance in the nearby village of Plungar, and it would be most interesting to see what light Sheila’s powerful database can shed on them.

    By Neil Fortey (10/07/2008)
  • I have recently made contact with Janet Smith and we are currently trying to peice together our Dewey ancestry. My Henry Dewey b1825 in Calais to William and Johanna Dewey, emigrated to NSW in 1848 on the Fairlie together with other Nottingham Lacemaker familes from Calais. Interested in any other contacts. Michael Tuite, Canberra, Australia

    By Michael Tuite (15/07/2008)
  • I would like to thank the above for their information; Michael Tuite is producing the Deweys of Nottingham family tree on; I have yet to prove a direct link unfortunately, but live in hopes!

    By Janet Smith (09/09/2008)
  • My father’s family come from Balderton, some from Orston and Croxton Kerrial. I would love to have more information about the Deweys in the Newark/Nottingham area.

    By june margaret dewey (09/01/2010)
  • After much time and effort and a great deal of help from a gentleman from Nottingham, I have now found what I think is the right ‘home’ for my great great grandfather, Samuel DEWEY. I am interested to see that June Margaret Dewey’s family came from Orston and if she is able to contact me, I am very willing to provide any information that might be helpful.

    By Janet Smith (15/02/2010)
  • I went to the Bottesford school from 1952 until 1955 and Mr Dewey used to teach geography and history. I recently came across an old report card which he had signed and it took me back to those school days.

    By Margaret Frew (19/02/2010)
  • I was very interested to read Janet Smith’s message about her great-great-grandfather, Samuel Dewey as MY g-g-grandfather was also Samuel Dewey but I’m wondering if it’s the same man . My g-g-grandfather’s wife was named Sarah. According to my search of parish records, Samuel was born 1807 and died 1877. His father was Richard Dewey, who married a Martha M ason at Barnby-in-the-Willows in 1804. I think Samuel and Sarah had at least 8 children, one of which – George -p was my gr-grandfather. Is this any help?

    By june margaret dewey (11/03/2010)
  • Would be very pleased to receive any information about the Deweys of Leicestershire and adjoining counties.

    By Jim Dewey (16/11/2010)
  • I remember Mr Dewey very well, he taught my class …. ‘Hygiene’!. His presence as the Head Master of Belvoir High School during the early 60s. was very much respected. I went on to train as a registered nurse and midwife, which I am sure was contributed from his lessons. So thank you.

    By Alison Arnott (02/12/2010)
  • June Margaret Dewey states that her gggrandfather was a Samuel Dewey who married Sarah (surname possibly Drury). This Samuel Dewey, son of Richard Dewey and Martha, is also in my family tree. Richard Dewey’s grandfather was William Dewie b.1705, who I believe was my 5th great-grandfather. It is possible therefore that June Margaret and I could be distantly related! Janet Smith

    By Janet Smith (22/12/2010)
  • A possible distant link with your Dewey family..!.one of my ancestors , William Crow, married a Mary Dewey in April 1794 in Newark. Mary , born in 1770 was the daughter of Richard Dewey and Ann Widnall who were married at Screveton in Notts in 1767 . Richard, born in 1739 in Elton was the son of William Dewey and Hannah Rick I have several old family links in the Newark, Balderton, Barnby in the Willows, North Muskham, Beeston areas , and would be more than happy to share info with interested parties ! Regards Howard Wheeldon

    By Howard Wheeldon (03/01/2011)
  • My search doesn’t go back beyond about 1740. Dewey is a derivative of Douai which is a French/Flemish name. Does anyone have any information regarding any of the family coming from this part of the world?

    By june margaret dewey (30/11/2013)
  • My great-great grandfather was Henry Dewey of Garthorpe, Leicestershire, born at Burton Lazars in 1813; his son, Henry, also lived in Garthorpe and erected his father’s gravestone in the churchyard there. The elder Henry was a shoemaker in Garthorpe and farmed a small holding. He had a number of sons including some that moved to Nottingham and to other areas. The younger Henry had two sons that emigrated to the USA, and two sons that remained in the Grantham, Lincs, area. He is buried in the Grantham churchyard. Names of sons for both can be found in the England census of 1841 and following years.

    By Timothy Dewey (28/12/2015)
  • Who is Peter Dewey?

    By Jim Dewey (01/03/2016)
  • Peter Dewey was my dad who was the son of Lawrence Dewey pictured at the start of this article 🙂 . Sadly he has passed away 6 years ago. If anyone wishes to contact me where I can fill in any blanks, please call me 07715550229

    By Dafydd Dewey (04/04/2016)
  • Hello. As I child I lived across the road from your Grandmother Mrs Dewey. I remember Peter well. A true gentleman. My parents where Sylvia (deceased) & my Father Peter Robinson, now aged 83. He remembers your family well.

    By Wendi Robinson (03/09/2016)
  • Wendi that’s wonderful. It’s a shame that they’ve built houses on what was once my Granny’s garden and orchard.

    By Dafydd Dewey (05/08/2023)
  • After a web search have come across your family history page relating to the Dewey surname. My mother’s maiden name was Dewey. Margaret Dewey was born in Burton on Trent on the 9th of April, 1914 to Joseph Dewey and Theresa Dewey (nee Dolan) She was part of a large family with many brothers and sisters including Ethel, Winifred, Leonard, Thomas Sydney, Raymond all of whom are listed on my Ancestry UK family history. My Mother’s father Joseph Dewey was a Brakesman working on the Burton Corporation teams and in the early part of his life played for a number of football teams in the Burton area in the 1890’s and 1900’s which participated in the English football league. Joseph’s father was also named Joseph too and can be found in the census surveys for Burton for the 19th century. Mum married Reginald Thomas Goult (7th February, 1913) in August, 1936 and had three children, Brian Reginald (29th September, 1937), Michael (26th December, 1944 and myself Roger (29th May, 1947). Mum passed away in 1983 followed by Dad in 1984 and my brother, Brian in 1990. We had already tragically lost Michael in a drowning accident in the local Trent and Mersey canal in 1948. If anyone would like any further information please get in touch.

    By Roger Goult (10/11/2023)
  • Hi Roger,

    Thank you for sharing your family history. Sorry to hear about the drowning accident of your brother. You’re on the right page though as your mother is on my family tree. You’d be my 5th cousin. If you’d like to know more please email me on or I still have the same mobile 07715550229. I can also send you an invite to my tree ( I use MyHeritage). The top of my Dewey branch goes as far back to 1565 with Hugh Dewey, back then written as Dewye, and I have his father (John’s) will which mentions him and other family members when he died in 1611. (I know I have a Welsh first name due to my place of birth, but the Dewey surname from my research is from nowadays France after the city of Douai. The earliest record I’ve got is from 1214 about a Geoffrey de Doway in Barmston, Yorkshire.

    By Dafydd Dewey (26/12/2023)

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