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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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.


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.


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.


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


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 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 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

Cates Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Cates, who settled in Quebec in 1870
  • A. Cates, who came to Canada in 1886


  • Richard Lyman Cates (1925-2011), American Democratic politician and lawyer from Wisconsin
  • Phoebe Cates (b. 1963), Filipino-American film actress and model, best known for her teen roles in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Gremlins"
  • Louis S. Cates, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Utah, 1928
  • James W. Cates, American Democrat politician, Member of Maine State House of Representatives from Washington County, 1919-20
  • J. Elmer Cates, American politician, Representative from New York at-large, 1932
  • H. C. Cates, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 24th District, 2012
  • Esther L. Cates, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1932
  • Craig Cates, American politician, Mayor of Key West, Florida, 2009-
  • Charles Theodore Cates Jr. (b. 1863), American Democrat politician, Chair of Knox County Democratic Party, 1898-1902; Member of Tennessee Democratic State Executive Committee, 1898-1900; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 1900
  • M. L. Cates, American Republican politician, Chair of Orange County Republican Party, 1952



  • 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. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. 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 20 October 2015 at 15:20.

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