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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Dutch, English

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

The name Cates first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in Catesby, in Northants, now Northamptonshire.

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One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Cates has appeared include Catesby, Catesbury, Cates and others.

First found in Northampton where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cates research. Another 301 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1573 and 1605 are included under the topic Early Cates History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 49 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cates Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Cates arrived in North America very early:

Cates Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Luke Cates, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Joseph Cates, who arrived in New England in 1745

Cates Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • F. O. Cates, who arrived in Boston in 1849
  • Mrs. F Cates, aged 34, landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849

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  • Gilbert "Gil" Cates (1934-2011), American Primetime Emmy Award winning film director, producer of the Academy Awards (1990 to 2008)
  • David Allan Cates (b. 1956), American novelist
  • Phoebe Cates (b. 1963), Filipino-American film actress and model, best known for her teen roles in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Gremlins"
  • Richard Lyman Cates (1925-2011), American Democratic politician and lawyer from Wisconsin
  • George Edward Cates (1892-1917), English recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War I
  • General Clifton Bledsoe Cates (1893-1970), 19th Commandant of the US Marine Corps (1893 to 1970)


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  • The Cates Chain: The Hiram Cates Family: From Tennessee to Texas and Around the World, 1814-1988 by Greta Cates Leard.
  • Cates-Hess-Phinney and Allied Lines by Florence Cates.
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  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  11. ...

The Cates Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cates 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 13 March 2013 at 16:22.

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