Gordon and the Giant Cake

A mystery photograph of my great uncle Gordon Dewey, staring into a bowl of cake mix.

Found this unusual old photograph in a photo album – it’s been through some tough times, so I thought I better scan it before it gets any worse.

A man and three women with a large bowl of cake mix

The man in the photograph is my grandfather’s youngest brother, Gordon Dewey. Quite why he’s with three women staring into a large bowl of cake mix is a complete mystery. I think the photograph is possibly one taken by a newspaper photographer – due to the original’s size and paper – it being different from all other photos in the collection.

At a guess, the woman on the far left is his girlfriend, Maisie, who appears in a couple of other photographs and is someone that my grandmother remembers, but I have no record of her surname.

Sadly, Gordon died aged 20 from a brain haemorrhage in November 1954. He never married, and he died without issue.

Surname Saturday: DEWEY

The Dewey surname is my closest linking ancestral name after my own surname.

There are many Dewey name bearers in the world – including a decimal system for libraries and a cartoon duck.

My own branch have lived in the county of Cambridgeshire, England since at least the 1700s, inhabiting the villages of Wentworth, Wilburton, Witchford and Witcham.

The earliest ancestor that I have confirmed so far was Thomas Dewey, who in 1768 married Elizabeth Covell at Witchford’s church of St. Andrew (this is where my own name comes from!). The couple had at least 3 daughters and a son George, and it is this son who travelled to Witcham where he married Mary Long in 1790. Sadly by 1807, Mary had died. This led to George heading to Wentworth to re-marry to a Mary Payton and continuing his family. In all, he fathered at least 11 children – 6 with his first wife.

George’s first child, William born in Witchford, is my ancestor and he married Ellen Markerham of Waterbeach. The couple set up home in Witchford where they had 6 children – 5 of them sons. The Dewey family grew and soon those children were having children and grandchildren themselves – continuing to grow the family throughout the county.

Variants

The surname has many variants: Dewey, Douay, Duey, Doway, Dowee, Doweay, Dewe, Dowey and Dewy, although as literacy rates improve, the surname generally ends up as Dewey or sometimes Dewy.

Dewi?

It is believed to be of Welsh origin, from the River Dewi area, although none of my ancestors have revealed their Welsh connections yet.

Surname Saturday: MODEN

Edward and Mary Ann Moden at home in Ely, Cambridgeshire

The surname of Moden appears twice in my ancestry and several other times through marriage.

My two ancestral occurrences are both on my maternal side, and even though they only live less than 10 miles apart (sometimes less), I’ve yet to find any link between the two branches.

Branch One: Coveney and Ely
The most recent ancestor of mine with this surname was my Great Grandmother Susan Jane Moden (1896-1981). She was one of seven children born in Ely to Edward Moden and his wife Mary Ann (née Cross) (pictured).

Edward was born in Coveney, Cambridgeshire, about 4 months after his father’s death (also an Edward Moden) in 1867. It was his mother’s later marriage to David Seymour that brought the Moden branch to Ely.

Edward’s (junior) wife Mary Ann owned and ran a shop on the corner of Cambridge Road and Barton Road until her death in the 1950s. The building remained a shop until the 1980s when it then changed in to the private house that it is today.

The earliest Moden ancestor that I can find is in Coveney in 1792, marrying Margaret Nicholas.

Branch Two: Haddenham and Wentworth
The other Moden family appear to live in Haddenham during the 1780s. Like the Coveney branch, the history before this point remains unknown and perhaps this is where the connection between the two branches occurs.

My earliest ancestor on this side is William Moden (1781-1839). He married Esther Whitehead and later to Elizabeth Howard.

During the 1830s, the family shift from Haddenham to Wentworth.

This branch intertwines with the Clements, Dewey and Boulter branches at Wentworth and like Branch One, includes several Dewey/Moden marriages.

The name has appeared in many different guises, which makes it a challenge to trace. I’ve seen it noted as: Moden, Morden, Moten, Modan, Moreden, Moodan, Mowdan and even Martin.