The Family Tree

John Thomas Moden

John Thomas Moden was the illegitimate and first child of Esther Moden of Wentworth, Cambridgeshire, England. According to his birth certificate, he was born at the Union House in St. Mary's Ely, Cambridgeshire. Presumably Esther had gone away from the small village she called home to give birth to him, in an attempt to avoid shame.

John then reappears in 1852, when his grandparents Thomas and Rebecca Moden present him for baptism as if he was their own. However, the register notes his date of birth - which matches that on the birth certificate - therefore confirming that his mother was actually Esther.

Three years after his birth, his mother married Henry Dewey of nearby Witchford, and went on to have a further ten children. John appears alongside these half-siblings on the 1861 census, where he has been noted perhaps intentionally to avoid the social stigma of illegitimacy, as 'John Dewy'.

By the time of the 1871 census, he has flown the nest and is living in nearby Haddenham. Soon after he marries Charity Barrett of Feltwell, Norfolk. The couple have a son (also named John) and then begin moving away from Cambridgeshire whilst they grow their family to eleven children.

The family appears in Wittering near Peterborough, a brief stop in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, but eventually settle in Easton-On-The-Hill in Northamptonshire, England.

John's father-in-law, Richard Barrett joins the family in time for the 1891 census, where he's listed as an 86 year old retired agricultural labourer. John has a similar line of work - seemingly staying in agriculture from 1881 onwards, rising to the rank of Farm Foreman by 1911.

Of the couple's eleven children, two are noted as having died by the time of the 1911 census - but I have yet to identify which children they are.

Further Details

13th July 1851, Union House, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.

30th May 1852, at Wentworth parish church, Cambridgeshire, England, along with his aunt Susan Moden (under the guise of his sister)




1927, Lincolnshire.

not known