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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Dutch, English


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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The surname Cates was first found in Northampton at Asbhy St. Ledger's, a parish, in the union of Daventry, hundred of Fawsley. "The church [of Asbhy St. Ledger's] is in the later English style; it contains a richly ornamented screen and rood-loft, and in the windows are some remains of ancient painted glass. Sir William Catesby, favourite of Richard III., and owner of the manor, was buried within the altar-rails, under a marble slab with a rich brass in fine preservation; and Robert Catesby, the conspirator, of the time of James I., resided here, where he had property." [1]

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cates research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1459, 1573, 1605 and 1605 are included under the topic Early Cates History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 105 words (8 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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  • 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

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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. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  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 9 March 2016 at 14:15.

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