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

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

Gates is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Gates family lived in Lancashire. The name, however, refers to the family's residence near an important thoroughfare or main road. It derives from the Old English root gate, which means road or thoroughfare.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Gate, Gates and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gates research. Another 226 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1164, 1206, 1260, 1275, and 1379 are included under the topic Early Gates History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gates Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Gates or a variant listed above:

Gates Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thos Gates, who landed in Virginia in 1609
  • Sir Thomas Gates, who arrived in Bermuda in 1609
  • Sir Thomas Gates who served as Governor of Virginia from 1611-1614
  • Stephen Gates sailed in the "Diligent" and settled in Hingham in 1638
  • Ann Gates settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1638


Gates Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Sarah Gates, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1729
  • Peter Gates settled in Potomac Maryland in 1731
  • Tho Gates, who landed in Virginia in 1751
  • Jeremy Gates settled in Maryland in 1774

Gates Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Victor Gates, who arrived in America in 1811
  • Thomas Gates, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1823
  • William Gates, who landed in New York in 1827
  • William W Gates, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • Bartholomew Gates, who arrived in Texas in 1835


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  • William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b. 1955), American software entrepreneur and philanthropist, former CEO of Microsoft, consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people, now known for the benevolent Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Lionel Gates (b. 1982), American professional football player
  • Charles Winslow Gates (1856-1927), Governor of Vermont from 1915 to 1917
  • Merrill Edward Gates (1848-1922), American ninth President of Rutgers College from 1882 to 1890
  • Artemus Lamb Gates (1895-1976), American businessman, naval aviator, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air in charge of naval aviation efforts in World War II
  • Robert M. Gates (b. 1943), American President of Texas A&M, former CIA director, US Secretary of Defense
  • Thomas Sovereign Gates Jr. (1906-1983), American politician, 7th United States Secretary of Defense (1959-1961), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Crawford Gates (b. 1921), American musician, composer, and conductor
  • Major-General Byron Elihu Gates (1895-1970), American Senior Air Force Member of US Military Mission to Brazil (1945-1947)
  • Antonio D. Gates (b. 1980), American football tight end

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  • Gates Garden: Roots and Branches of Chester Gates and Maria Sheely by Alice Gates Penrose.
  • My Gates Ancestry: Ancestry of Samuel Gates (1785-1841) of Bridgton, Maine, Waterford, Ohio, and Greene County, Illinois and Descendants of His Daughter, Phebe Gates Strawn of Jacksonville, Illinois by Margaret Tomlin Bellati.
  • Getz Genealogy by O.E. Sunday.
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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Gates Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gates 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 20 August 2014 at 20:56.

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