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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Dewey family come from? What is the English Dewey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dewey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dewey family history?

The name Dewey was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Dewey family lived in Devon. This family was originally from Douai, near Lille, Normandy, and it is from this location that their surname derives.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Dewey, Dewy, Dewye and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dewey research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dewey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Dewey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Dewey or a variant listed above:

Dewey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Dewey, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1631
  • Elizabeth Dewey, who arrived in Maryland in 1675-1680
  • Jonathan Dewey, who arrived in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1689

Dewey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Dewey who settled in Bristol Rhode Island in 1820
  • Henry Dewey, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • S L Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • O H Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • J Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Dewey Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Chris Dewey, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760

Dewey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Benedick Dewey, who arrived in Canada in 1836


  • Charles S. Dewey (1880-1980), American politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois
  • Charles Melville Dewey (1849-1937), American painter
  • John Dewey, American teacher, philosopher, and educational reformer, he advocated "learning by doing"
  • George Dewey (1837-1971), American naval officer who attained fame in the Spanish-American War, also referred to as Commodore Dewey, eponym of the USS Dewey (DDG-105) and USS Dewey (DD-349)
  • Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), American librarian, inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification system for library classification
  • Thomas Edmund Dewey (1902-1971), Governor of New York and unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States
  • Charles Almon Dewey (1877-1958), United States federal judge in Iowa's southern district


  • Families of Dr. Charles Carroll, 1691-1755, and Cornet Thomas Dewey, 160?-1648 by Douglas Carroll.

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  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Dewey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dewey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 August 2015 at 18:55.

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