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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.

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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 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

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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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Cates Armorial History With Coat of Arms
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  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 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 7 November 2014 at 16:49.

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