Show ContentsDewey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Dewey family

The surname Dewey was 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.

Early History of the Dewey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dewey research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dewey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dewey Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Dewey family (pre 1700)

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

Dewey Ranking

In the United States, the name Dewey is the 2,841st most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1]

United States Dewey migration to the United States +

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 [2]
  • Elizabeth Dewey, who arrived in Maryland in 1675-1680 [2]
  • Jonathan Dewey, who arrived in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1689 [2]
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 [2]
  • S L Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • O H Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • J Dewey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Dewey migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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

Australia Dewey migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Dewey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Dewey, English convict who was convicted in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Emperor Alexander"on 6th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dewey (post 1700) +

  • Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), American librarian, inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification system for library classification
  • Duane Edgar Dewey (1931-2021), American combat Marine, recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions on April 16, 1952, during the Korean War; smothered another exploding grenade with his own body to save the life of a corpsman and the other Marines around him
  • Charles S. Dewey (1880-1980), American politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois
  • Charles Almon Dewey (1877-1958), United States federal judge in Iowa's southern district
  • 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)
  • Thomas Edmund Dewey (1902-1971), Governor of New York and unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States
  • George Dewey Nye (b. 1898), American Democratic Party politician, Pike County Prosecuting Attorney, 1923-26; Member of Ohio Democratic State Central Committee, 1938; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1940 (alternate),Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, 1945-47, 1949-53 [4]
  • Laurin Dewey Woodworth (1837-1897), American Republican politician, Member of Ohio State Legislature; U.S. Representative from Ohio 17th District, 1873-77 [5]

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Edward D G Dewey (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [6]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Kenneth G. Dewey, British Chief Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [7]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Joseph Dewey (b. 1882), Latvian coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [8]
  • Mr. Mike Dewey (b. 1880), Latvian coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [8]

Suggested Readings for the name Dewey +

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

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th April 2022).
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, May 18) . Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from
  6. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  7. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from
  8. Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved from on Facebook