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

Origins Available: English-Alt, English

Where did the English Oates family come from? What is the English Oates family crest and coat of arms? When did the Oates family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Oates family history?

The distinguished surname Oates emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Oates is derived from the Old French personal names Odes, Otes, Odon, and Otton. These are all derived from the Old German names Odo and Otto, which literally mean riches. Occasionally, the name Oates is a local surname derived from the settlement of Ott in Belgium.

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Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Oates, Oats, Otes, Otis, Oaten, Otten, Oadt, Otton, Oton and many more.

First found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oates research. Another 313 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1160, 1177, 1213, 1275, 1275, 1649 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Oates History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 67 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oates Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Oates family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 43 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Oates:

Oates Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Greg Oates who settled in Virginia in 1637

Oates Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert Oates, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • Robt Oates, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • Mary Oates, who settled in Virginia in 1721

Oates Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Oates, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • William Oates, aged 36, landed in Alexandria, Va in 1817
  • George Oates, who settled in Savannah in 1822
  • Edward H Oates, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1847
  • George Oates, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1847


Oates Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Richard Oates, aged 33, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork
  • Mary Oates, aged 35, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork
  • Jane Oates, aged 3, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork

Oates Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Charles Oates, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Oates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • Jane Oates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Santipore" in 1848
  • John Oates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848
  • Ann Oates arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1849


Oates Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Oates, aged 41, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Seringapatam" in 1856
  • Simon Oates, aged 24, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Eliza Oates, aged 18, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Catherine Oates, aged 16, a servant, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S.S. Arawa" in 1884
  • Catherine Oates, aged 16, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arawa" in 1884


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  • John William Oates (b. 1948), American musician and producer best known as as half of the rock and soul duo Hall & Oates
  • Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938), American author awarded the National Book Award in 1969 and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize 3 times
  • Warren Mercer Oates (1928-1982), American actor
  • Simon Oates (1932-2009), English actor, best known for his role as John Steed in the 1971 stage adaptation of The Avengers
  • Eugene William Oates (1845-1911), English naturalist
  • Frank Oates (1840-1875), British naturalist, one of the first Europeans to see the Victoria Falls
  • Adam Oates (b. 1962), Canadian former professional NHL ice hockey player, current head coach of the Washington Capitals
  • Captain Lawrence Edward Grace "Titus" Oates (1880-1912), English explorer who set out in 1910 with Robert Scott's Antarctic expedition, giving his life so that his three companions could survive


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  • The Art of Collecting Genealogy and History by Addison For Oates.
  • Oates-Earle and Related Families by William L. Winbarger.
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  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
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  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  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. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Oates Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oates 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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