Welcome to the Deans of Dorchester Online
In the late 1930's to early 1940's, Rev. John William Dean, D. Sc., D. D., an avid Dean Geneologist founded the Deans of Dorchester Association, which was an association with which to further the research on the Dean Bloodlines originating in Dorchester County, Maryland. This Association lasted quite a few years. In June of 1973, Rev Dean hand-typed a manuscript entitled "The Deans of Dorchester" and submitted it to the Dorchester County Historical Society Library, which is now housed in the Maryland Room of the Dorchester County Public Library.In this manuscript, Rev Dean lays out a very concise and accurate geneology for the Dean bloodlines of Dorchester County, Maryland dating back to 16th century England in the area around Dorchester, Dorset, England. From other data that have been found through years of research, it is quite appropriate to state that the information compiled by Rev. Dean and the original Deans of Dorchester Association was quite massive and thoroughly researched. At the present time, it has not been ascertained by this Association as to the fate of that amassed wealth of genealogical data. In the quoted text by Rev. Dean below, there is a clue as to the location of this data prior to 1973. Finding that data is one of the goals of this newly-reborn association. For the rest of our goals, credo, and research standards, please click on "About Us".
To help launch this new association, it is with the greatest admiration and respect for Rev. Dean and his fellow researchers that we quote the words of the Preface to The Deans of Dorchester:
Every family history or lineage should be well documented and authenticated. However, it is not always possible to do so. Many of our Dene-Deane-Dean records have been lost because of these three unfortunate events.
First: When the old Deane home known as "Atlantis" near East New Market in Dorchester County, Maryland, was struck by lightning and burned in 1846, two old Bibles containing family records dating back to 1639 were destroyed.
Second: When the County Courthouse at Cambridge, Maryland burned, most of the recorded wills were destroyed.
Third: Since 1939 our personal records as well as those of our family association known as "Deans of Dorchester" have been kept in safe deposit boxes at the bank. There they were safe from fire and theft, but when Hurricane Agnes swept up from the south and dumped seven inches of rain on us in 24 hours, a wall of water 31 feet high rushed down the Susquehanna Valley smashing bridges and washing away houses as if they were toys. Our records were buried in mud, oil, acid and sewage for ten days before we could get to them. Thousands of individual record sheets were salvaged and cleaned to the extent that they could be retyped, but hundreds of others as well as many rare old record books simply dissolved like so much gelatine. Many manuscripts that had not as yet appeared in print, and of which there are no known copies, were lost forever.
The results of years of research were lost within a few hours, but from each disaster some few things have been saved.
When the old homestead was destroyed by fire, a small strongbox containing deeds, old correspondence, and other family papers, was saved and kept. In later years, William Washington Deane began writing down everything that he could remember about the family. From the old correspondence he was able to verify some facts, chiefly family names.
When the courthouse burned, none of the recorded deeds were destroyed and from them we have been able to cull some valuable information. Fortunately, some of the very early wills recorded at Cambridge were also recorded at Annapolis.
A few dates of birth, marriage, and deaths have been found on church records and also on cemetery records. Census records and tax lists have yielded some information and fortunately the records of marriage licenses for Dorchester County since 1780 are available. Dates and other information for several generations is still missing, but the search for additional data goes on.
The ancestors of William Henry Deane back to the days of the Norman Conquests are fairly well documented and are recorded in "A Brief History of the Dene-Deane-Dean Family".
The Rev. John William J. W. Dean, D.Sc., D.D.June 30, 1973