Show ContentsCaton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Caton date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Norfolk. However, there are numerous other places named Catton including: a chapelry in the parish of Croxall, Derbyshire; a parish in East Riding Yorkshire; a township in the parish of Topcliffe, North Riding of Yorkshire; and Caton, a chapelry in the parish of Lancaster. [1]

One source notes that the family may have been anciently Norman in origin: "Herebert Katune, of Normandy, 1198 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae). This may mean the English family of De Catton, which it shows to have been Norman." [2]

Early Origins of the Caton family

The surname Caton was first found in Norfolk "from time immemorial till the middle of the last century. Until the close of the XVI. cent., Catton and De Catton; from the manor of Catton near Norwich, which in Domesday is spelt Catun and Catuna. The Latinizations Catonus, Gathonus, and Chattodunus occur in old records." [3]

"The Catons of Essex are probably a branch of the ancient family of Caton or Catton of Norfolk." [4]

Researchers scanning through early rolls discovered the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Robert de Catton, or Cattune: Norfolk, 1273; and John Caton, Huntingdonshire. The Lay Subsidy Rolls listed John de Caton, of Lancaster, Lancashire. And the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes de Catton; and Willelmus de Caytton. [1]

Walter Catton or Chattodunus (d. 1343), was "a Franciscan friar of Norwich, was, according to some authorities, head of the Minorite convent situated between the churches of St. Cuthbert and St. Vedast. He seems to have been an author of some repute in his generation, and was, according to Bale, a great student of Aristotle. Towards the close of his life he was summoned to Avignon by the Pope, and died a penitentiary in that city in 1343. " [5]

Early History of the Caton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caton research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1636, 1665 and 1652 are included under the topic Early Caton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caton Spelling Variations

Caton has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Caton have been found, including Caton, Catton, Cattan, Catten, Caten and others.

Early Notables of the Caton family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Caton (1636-1665), an early English Quaker itinerant preacher and writer. He "was probably a near relation of Margaret Askew, afterwards wife of Thomas Fell, vice-chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. At the age of fourteen he was taken by his father to the judge's house at Swarthmore...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Caton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caton Ranking

In the United States, the name Caton is the 5,631st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

United States Caton migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Catons to arrive on North American shores:

Caton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Caton who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Caton, aged 26, who arrived in Virginia aboard the ship "David" in 1635 [7]
  • William Caton, who landed in Maryland in 1674 [7]
  • Isaac Caton, who landed in Carolina in 1679 [7]
Caton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Caton, who settled in Maryland in 1735
  • John Caton, who arrived in America in 1798 [7]
Caton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Caton, who arrived in America in 1806 [7]
  • Pat Caton, aged 19, who landed in New York in 1854 [7]

Canada Caton migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Caton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Caton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1818

Australia Caton migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Caton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Caton, a gardener, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. John Caton, (b. 1807), aged 20, English labourer who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 14th August 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1860 [8]
  • Mr. James Caton, (Catton), (b. 1805), aged 27, English turner and filer who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years for breaking into a warehouse, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st September 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1838 [9]
  • Mr. James Caton, English convict who was convicted in Kirkdal, Lancashire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [10]

New Zealand Caton migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Caton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • H. Caton, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "William" in 1853
  • H. Caton, American settler travelling from San Francisco aboard the ship "William" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 2nd April 1853 [11]
  • Mr. John Caton, British labourer travelling from London aboard the ship "Victory " arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 17th October 1863 [11]

Contemporary Notables of the name Caton (post 1700) +

  • Lawrence "Larry" Ray Caton (b. 1948), American former handball player at the 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Hiram Pendleton Caton III (1936-2010), American Professor of politics and history at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  • Noah Winston Caton (1897-1922), American football player and track star, brother of Eugene Caton
  • Eugene Leon Caton (1889-1979), American college football player and coach of the Howard Bulldogs in 1915
  • Gregory James Caton (b. 1956), American businessman, inventor, manufacturer and promoter of various herbal products
  • John Dean Caton (1812-1895), American associate justice and chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court; Abraham Lincoln was an attourney in 214 of his presidings
  • Steve Caton, American guitarist and singer
  • John D. Caton, American politician, Justice of Illinois State Supreme Court, 1842-43, 1843-64 [12]
  • Homer Caton (b. 1887), American Republican politician, Member of Illinois State House of Representatives 26th District, 1941 [12]
  • Harry Aaron Caton (1870-1949), American politician, Mayor of Winfield, Kansas, 1901-02 [12]
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Miss Annie Caton, aged 50, English Turkish Bath Stewardess from London, England who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 11 [13]

The Caton Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cautes metuit fovean lupus
Motto Translation: The cautious wolf fears the snare.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2022).
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from
  13. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook