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Gates is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Gates family lived in various counties of England and later in Scotland. 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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The surname Gates was first found in various counties of England and Scotland. The earliest record of the family was Ailricius de la Gata who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Devon in 1169. A few years later, Ralph de Gates was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1206 and later, Gilbert atte Gate was listed in the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1275. The Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275 list Cristina Gate.[1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Hugh le Geyt in Oxfordshire and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 has numerous entries for the family: Johannes Gayte; Thomas de Gayte; Jonannes atte Gate; Robertus de Gate; and Custancia del Gates. Silvester atte Gates was rector of Brinton, Norfolk in 1354. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
"Its medieval forms are Ate Gate and Atte Gate, which have since the XV. cent. modified to Agate, Gater, and especially to Gates." [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Later a branch of the family was found in the parish of Knedlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. "The old Hall [of Knedlington], a fine specimen of the Elizabethan style, was possessed by Sir John Gate, a distinguished knight in the reign of Henry VIII." [4]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

And further to the north in Scotland, all of the entries and later typically showing a migration from England to Scotland. Patrick Gaittis was minister of Polwarth from 1593 to 1604. A seal dated 1605 reads "Master Patrik Gaittie, minister, vndoutit persone of the perochin and paroche kirk of dunce." In modern English, it translates as " S' Patricii Gait. Patrick Gaittis and James Gaittis were ministers of Duns from 1582 to 1611 and John Gaittis was minister of Bunkle from 1614 to 1640." [5]CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
Black continues "Gate is common element in place names on both sides of the Border."

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gates research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1164, 1206, 1260 and 1379 are included under the topic Early Gates History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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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 United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas 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 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 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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Gates Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • James Gates was a soldier of St. John's, Newfoundland in 1778
  • Benjamin Gates settled in Fogo, Newfoundland in 1787

Gates Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Isaac P Gates, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • Michael Gates settled in Harbour Grace in 1838
  • John and Josiah Gates settled in Tizzard's Harbour in 1871

Gates Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Martha Gates, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Eleanor Gates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838
  • James Gates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838
  • Mary Ann Gates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838
  • William Gates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838
  • ...

Gates Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Celia Gates, aged 19, a nursemaid, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Durham" in 1873
  • Benjamin Gates, aged 39, a sawyer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • William Gates, aged 14, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Arthur Gates, aged 11, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Samuel Gates, aged 35, a bootmaker, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874
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  • Mary Maxwell Gates (1929-1994), American businesswoman and academic, Member of University of Washington board of regents (1975-1993); she worked a fellow committee member John Opel, CEO of IBM and suggested her son's company Microsoft could provide an operating system for IBM, mother of Bill Gates
  • Bill "Swiftwater" Gates (b. 1935), American frontiersman and fortune hunter of the Klondike Gold Rush
  • Lionel Theron Gates (b. 1982), American football running back
  • William "Pop" Gates (1917-1999), American professional basketball player, member of the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Brent Robert Gates (b. 1970), former Major League Baseball second and third baseman
  • Antonio D. Gates (b. 1980), American football tight end
  • Major-General Byron Elihu Gates (1895-1970), American Senior Air Force Member of US Military Mission to Brazil (1945-1947)
  • Crawford Gates (b. 1921), American musician, composer, and conductor
  • Thomas Sovereign Gates Jr. (1906-1983), American politician, 7th United States Secretary of Defense (1959-1961), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • 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
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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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Citations



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)

Other References

  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. 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 23 June 2016 at 09:50.

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