Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bates Name
Bates Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This last name has four origin theories and meaning. First, it is likely a baptismal/patronymic name meaning “the son of Bartholomew”, deriving from the personal (first) name Bate, it’s nickname or reduced/shortened form. The masculine given name Bartholomew is an ancient Biblican name deriving from Aramaic, meaning “son of Talmai”, coming from the word bar (son) and talmai from the Hebrew word telem, which means furrow ( a ridge of land for farming), and hence it literally translates to “son of furrows” (or “son of Ptolemy”). The name originated in Canaan, a part of the Ancient Near East or Levant. The name was popularized by Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ who was born in the first century AD in Cana, Judea, Roman Empire, a missionary to India and Armenia, who was martyred. Second, it may have originated as an occupational surname for a boatman, deriving from the Old English word bat, meaning boat. Third, the name may derive from the Old Norse bati, meaning gain or profit, used in the context of farming, meaning “lush pasture”, likely denoting a person who lived on or near such a place. The letter s on the end of the name indicates it’s a patronymic (son of). Fourth, in some cases, it is an Americanized form of the German surname Betz. One source asserts the family first held seat (land, manors, titles/positions) in Yorkshire, England prior to the Norman Invasion of 1066 AD. The Bates Association website (batesassociation.org) stated the following “Probably the earliest available record of the Bates name is found in the Domesday Book, in that part called the Bolden Book, or survey of the Palatinate of Durham, made in 1183, where in the medieval Latin it is recorded Obertus Bate tenet 17 bovat etc”.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Bate, Battes, Baites, Baits, Beates, Boates, Baytes, Bateson, Bat, Batt, Bath, and Bathe and others.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Bates ranks 293rd in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following seven states: Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oregon, and Idaho. The spelling variant Bate ranks 15,408th in the same census.
The surname Bates frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (196th), Scotland (766th), Wales (233rd), Ireland (795th) and Northern Ireland (534th). In England, it ranks highest in county Buckinghamshire. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Clackmannanshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Flintshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Wexford. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in 534th.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (739th), New Zealand (326th), Australia (306th), and South Africa (1,851st).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “A derivative of Bartholomew. This surname has two principal centres, one in the counties of Leicester, Rutland, and Warwick, and the other in Kent. Prom these centres it has extended to the adjoining counties; but it is essentially a midland and eastern county name. In other parts of England its place is supplied by other forms of the name, or by other derivatives of Bartholomew. Thus, in Cornwall we find Bate, in Dorset and adjacent counties we have numbers of Bartletts, in Yorkshire Batty, in Northumberland Batey, in Oxon Batts, in Notts Bartle, etc. The original name of Bartholomew is now mostly found in the counties of Kent and Lincoln; but in its numerous derivative forms it is scattered over the land”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
Herbert Bat was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire in 1182 AD. Thomas del Bate was recorded in Yorkshire in 1297 AD. Roger Bate was documented in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists three bearers of this as a personal (first) name: Bate de Butwick, Bate le Tackman, and Bathe filius Robert, all in county Lincolnshire. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists four bearers of this last name: Thomas Bateson, Alicia Bate (wyf), Johannes Bateson, and Adam Bate. Early marriages involving this surname include Humphrey Bates to Joane Empson in London in 1615 and William Bate to Anne Hill in London in 1621.
Bates Family Tree & Bates Genealogy
The following is a discussion of four different noble, royal, landed, or aristocratic families bearing this last name.
Bates of Heddon
This branch of the Bates family tree descends from a common ancestor with the Bates of Milbourne. George Bates, Esquire of Ovngton and Horsley, married Catherine, daughter of Curthbert Surtees of Ribchester. His grandson was also named George. This George, Esq. of Horsley, married Mabel Lock, and had a daughter with her named Catherine (married John Mitford of Heddon-on-the-Wall) and a son, also named George. This son George was an Esquire who married Catherine, daughter and co-heiress of John Cook of Aydon and Mary Winship, and had two sons with her: John and Thomas (had son named Thomas and a daughter named Catherine who married Matthew Culley of Copeland Castle). His eldest son and heir, John Bates, was an Esquire of Aydon White House, married Mary, daughter of William Jefferson, and had a son with her named George. This George Bates was an Esquire of Aydon and Heddon, who in 1769, married Diana, daughter and heiress of Thomas Moore, and had two sons with her as follows: John Moore and Thomas (of Kirklevington, county York, a renowned agriculturist). He died in 1816 and was succeeded by his eldest son John. In 1806, this John married Margaret, only daughter of John Dobson of High Seat, with whom he had six issue as follows: George, John Moore, Reverend William (Fellow and Tutor Christ’s College at Cambridge, Rector of Burnham Westgate, married Hannah Orford), Edward (of Cloeden Castle on the Elbe and of Orechov in Polesia), and Charles. He died in 1843. His son Thomas Bates, Esquire of Heddon and Aydon, county Northumberland, England was a Justice of the Peace, Barrister-at-Law, and Fellow of Jesus College at Cambridge who was born in 1810. In 1849, he first married Emily, daughter of John Batten of Thorn Faulcon of Somerset, with whom he had a son named Cadwallader John (born 1853). In 1861, he secondly married Matilda Jane, daughter of Reverend Edward Harbin, brother of George Harbin of Newton Surmaville, with whom he had five issue as follows: Edward Harbin, Arthur More, Charles Loftus, Henry Blayney, and Margaret Beatrice. They bore the same arms as Bates of Milbourne, quartering Moore of the Moor; and Brochwel Ysgithrog, Prince of Powys. The Bates family motto is A callow blaenawr, os na a llaed blaenawr. The family was seated on Heddonbanks, Wylam-on-Tyne, England, in modern day United Kingdom or Great Britain.
Bates of Manydown Park
Joseph Bates, Esquire of Springhall, county York, married Rebecca, daughter of Joseph Walker. He died in 1846. His son was Edward Bates, Esq. of Manydown Park, Hants, a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Member of Parliament who was born in 1816. In 1844, he married Ellen, daughter of Thomas Thompson of Hessle, and had seven issue with her as follows: Edward Percy (married Constance Elizabeth Graves), Gilbert Thompson, Sydney E., Wilfred, Ann Millicent, Mabel Stenhouse, and Norah Greame. This family was seated at Manydown Park, Basingstoke, England.
Bates of Gyrn Castle
The Bates genealogy of this branch of the family tree begins with Sir Edward Bates, 1st Baronet, of Manydown Park, Hants (or Hampshire), England and of Gyrn Castle, county Flint, Wales who was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Member of Parliament for Plymouth. He was the son of Joseph Bates and Rebekah Walker of Ardsley. He was born in 1816 and was created a Baronet in May of 1880. In 1837, he first married Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of Cornelius Umfreville-Smith. He had three daughters with her. She died in 1843. In 1844, he married Ellen, daughter of Thomas Thompson of Heddle, and had issue with her, including six as follows: 1) Sir Edward Percy (2nd Baronet), 2) Gilbert Thompson (Justice of the Peace for Renfrew, married Charlotte Thaxter Warren of Woolton, had issue named Stanes Geoffrey and Mary), 3) Syndey Eggers (married Ellzabeth Jessle Malet, had issue including Arthur Syndey and granddaughter Anne Mary), 4) Anne Millicent (married Donald Ninian Nicol of Ardmarnock, had issue), 5) Mabel Stenhouse (married Frederick Bellairs Thompson of Veilefield, had issue), and 6) Norah Greame (married Stanes Brocket Henry Chamberlayne of Witherley Hall). Sir Edward died in 1896 and was succeeded by his son Edward. This Sir Edward Percy Bates, 2nd Baronet, of Gyrn Castle, county Flint, was a Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff who was born in 1845. In 1876, he married Constance Elisabeth, daughter of Samuel Robert Graves, and had seven children with her as follows: 1) Sir Edward Bertram (3rd Baronet), 2) Sir Percy Elly (4th Baronet), 3) Cecil Robert (Major of the R.F.A who served in World War I, married Hylda Madelelne Heath, had a son named Geoffrey Voltelin, 5th Baronet, and Andrey Cecil), 4) Frederic Alan (Captain of the Denbigh Yeomanry and Major of the R.A.F. who served in World War I, married Elizabeth Bar Bartle Fair), 5) Denis Haughton (Colonel Duke of Lancasters Own Yeomanry, served in World War I, married Allne Mary Crook, had Philip Edward and Denise Elisabeth), 6) Austin Graves (Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Army, served in World War I and II, married Jean Christian Marguerite Hunter and had sons named Jeremy Dickson and Martin Graves), and 7) Maurice Hailfax (or Hallfax?) (Lieutenant of the Royal Army who served in World War 1, married May Francis Blunt, had daughter named Ann Maurice). His eldest son, Sir Edward Bertram Bates, 3rd Baronet, of Manydown Park and Gyrn Castle, was born in 1877. He died in 1903 and was succeeded by his brother Percy. Sir Percy Elly Bates, 4th Baronet, was a Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, and Captain in the R.N.R who was born in 1879. In 1907, he married Mary Ann, daughter of Reverend William Lefroy, and had a son with her named Edward Peroy who died in World War II. Sir Percy died in 1946 and was succeeded by his nephew: Sir Geoffrey Voltelin Bates, 5th Baronet, born in 1921. Geoffrey was an M.C., of Gyrn Castle, county Flint, as well as Captain of the 8th Hussars who served in World War II. In 1945, he married Kitty, daughter of Ernest Kendall Lane, of Saskatchewan, Canada, and had a son with her named Edward Robert who was born in 1946. The Bates Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Bates Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Argent, on a fesse azure, a quatrefoil, between two fleurs-de-lis of the field, in chief two quatrefoils, and in base a fleur-de-lis both azure. Crest: A stag’s head, erased, azure attired or, charged on the neck with two quatrefoils in pale, and pierced by as many arrows in saltire all gold. Motto: Labore et virtute. The family seat was at Hinderston Hall, Neston, Cheshire, England. The family resided at Poulton Hey, Bebington,Cheshire.
Bates of Magherabuoy
The Right Honorable Sir Richard Dawson Bates, 1st Baronet, of Magherabuoy, county Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was born in 1876 and became a Knight, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Member of Parliament. He was also the Minister of Home Affairs in Northern Ireland and was sworn to the Privy Council of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in 1921 and 1922, respectively. He was created a Baronet in 1937. In 1920, he married Jessie Muriel, daughter of Sir Charles John Cleland of Bonville, Maryhill, Glasgow, and had a son with her named John Dawson (born 1921, Major of the Rifle Brigade who served in World War II). He was the son of Richard Dawson Bates, Solicitor of Belfast, and Mary Dill. This family resided at Butleigh House near Glastonbury, Somerset, England.
Other Bates Pedigree & Family Trees
Thomas Bates had a son named Robert. Robert Bates was born in 1545. He had a son named Cuthbert. This Cuthbert was born in 1566. He had a son named Thomas. This Thomas was born in 1596. He had a son named Ralph. This Ralph Bates was born in Earsdon, Northumberland, England in 1613 AD. He married Mip Clayton and had a son with her named Ralph. This Ralph Bates II, also called Raphe, was born in the same twon in 1613. He married Margaret Challoner and had a son with her also named Ralph. Ralph Bates III was born in 1646. He married Anne James Hedworth and had a son with her, also named Ralph. His son Ralph Bates was born in Harreton, Durham in 1688. He was the father of Ann Bates, who was born in 1715 in Houghton Le Spring. She married Cuthbert Hutchinson and died in 1801 in Whitburn.
Another branch of the family tree begins with Henry Bates who was born in England at an unknown date. He married a woman named Agnes, and had a son with her named John. This John Bate or Bates was born in Lydd, Kent, England around 1390 AD. He had a son named John Thomas who was born in the same town in 1415 AD. John Thomas married Sarah Agnes Roberts and had a son with her named Thomas. This Thomas Bate was born in Canterbury, Kent in 1440 AD. He married Mary Margaret Caulkins and had three sons with her: Richard, John, and William. His son Richard Bates was born in Lancashire, England in 1454 AD. He married Leona England and had a son with her named Robert. The following is a pedigree beginning with him:
Robert Bates (Ashton, Clinton, 1482 AD, married Katherine England)
William Bate or Bates (Ashton Clinton, Buckinghamshire, 1514 AD)
William Bate (Ashton Clinton, Buckinghamshire, 1540 AD)
William Bates (1569 AD)
His son was Edward Bates (aka Elder Bates) who was born in Aston Clinton, England in 1606 and he came to colonial America. He married Susanna Putnam and had the following issue with her: Susanna, John, Prudence, Increase, Mary, Anne, Edward, and Jehoshabeath. His son Edward was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1655. He married Elizabeth Shaw and had the following issue: Temperance (Bunch), Ebenezer, Elizabeth, Samuel, Susanna (Thomas), Edward, John Sergeant, Ebenezer, Joseph, Samuel, Mary, Benjamin, and Eleazer. His son Joseph Bates was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1689. He married Joanna Tinkham and later Mary Blossom, and had three issue with her: Joanna, Mercy, and Joseph. His son Joseph was born in 1772, married Eunice Tinkman, nad had a son with her named Joseph. This Joseph Bates was born in Middleborough, MA in 1762. He married Lucy Lee and had a son with her named Roswell. Dr. Roswell Bates was born in Rutland, Vermont in 1788. He married Phebe Briggs, Mary Williamson, and lastly Adelia Judson. He had two issue: Charles Carroll and Marion Elizabeth. His son Charles Carroll Bates was born in 1829. He married Charlotte Clark and passed away in September of 1883.
Early American and New World Settlers
John Bate came to Virginia (Wariscoyack?) aboard the Addam in 1621.
John Bates, age 44, came to Virginia aboard the Southampton in 1623.
Clement Bates, age 40, along with his wife Ann of the same age, and five children (James, Clement, Rachell, and Joseph, Benjamin) came to New England aboard the Elizabeth in 1635.
In April of 1635, James Bate, age 53, his wife Alice, age 52, and his four children (Lyddia, Marie, Margaret, and James) came to New England aboard the Elizabeth.
William Bates, age 17, came to Bermuda of the Somer Island aboard the Truelove in June 1635.
Richard Bates, age 16, came to Virginia aboard the Globe in August 1635.
Nicholas Bate, age 24, and William Bate, age 35, came to Virginia aboard the Globe in August 1635.
Richard Bates came to the New World aboard the Expedition in April 1679.
Lettecia Bate, who had one servant and four slaves, was recorded in the town or parish of St. Michaell’s, Barbados in 1680.
Colonel (?) William Bate, owned 125 acres of land and 60 slaves in St. Michaell’s, Barbados in the late seventeenth century.
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions six bearers of this last name:
1) Clement Bates, came from Hertsfordshire, Kent, England aboard the Elizabeth in 1635 at the age of 40, with his children Clement, James, Richard and Joseph. While living in colonial America, he had a son named Samuel, and perhaps other issue.
2) Edward Bates of Boston, MA who came aboard the Griffin in 1637. He had a son named John in 1642.
3) John Bates of Haddam and Stamford, Connecticut, recorded in 1669 and had a son John in 1668 and a son named Solomon in 1670.
4) John Bates,
5) Robert Bates, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, moved to Stamford, and died there in 1675. He was one of the first purchasers of Stamford in the year 1640.
6) Robert Bates of Lynn, Massachusetts, had a son named John (who died in 1672), Rebecca (1673), and Sarah (1676).
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname who came during the eighteenth century include Judith Bates (Virginia 1704), That Bates (Virginia 1714), Nicholas Bates (Connecticut in 1741), Johannes Bates (Pennsylvania 1754), and John Bates (1767).
In Canada, one of the first settlers with this surname was Walter Bates, who came to New Brunswick in 1783. In Australia, John Bates and William Bates, convicts from Cambridge and Chester, England, respectively, came to New South Wales aboard the Asia in September 1820. In New Zealand, one of the earliest settlers was John Bates, who came to Onehunga, Auckland in 1840.
Early Americans Bearing the Bates Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains two entries for this surname:
1) Sable a fess bet three dexter hands argent.
2) Sable a fess engrailed between three dexter hands in bend argent couped at the wrist. In the new (1917) chapel at Ocean Point, Boothbay, Maine. Memorial window given by Lewis G. Wilson for his mother Lucy, daughter of Dr. Geo. Bates.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) and Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) do not contain any entries for this last name.
I have identified seven Bates family mottoes:
1) Et manu et corde (Both with hand and heart)
2) Ernst und trew or treu (Serious and faithful)
3) Lahore et virtute (By struggle and courage) or (With strength and effort).
4) Manu et corde (With heart and hand)
5) Fert palmam mereat (He bears the palm, let him deserve it)
6) A calow blaenawr os na a llaed (a calm sniper I do not stand??)
7) Dieu et ma main droite (God and my right)
We have 25 coats of arms for the Bates surname depicted here. These 25 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Bates Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Bates Family Crest)
1) Leonard Bate, Lupset, Yorkshire, gentleman, gift 8 February 1565, Flower
2) John Bates, of Norton, Suffolk, 30 December, 1605, by Segar
There are hundreds of notable people with the Bates surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) William Frederick “Bill” Bates (1961) who is a former American football player born in Knoxville, Tennessee who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1983-1997, 2) Arthur Laban Bates (1859-1934) who was a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania who served a decade between 1903 and 1913, 3) Bob Bates (1923-1981) who was an American jazz bassist best-known for playing said instrument in the Dave Brubeck Five between 1954-55, born in Pocatello, Idaho, 4) Edward Bates (1793-1869) who was the 26th Attorney General under the Lincoln Administration, and a member of the US House of Representatives for Missouri, a lawyer and statesman born in Goochland County, Virginia, 5) George Joseph Bates (1891-1949) who was a member of the US House of Representatives for Massachusetts from 1937-1949 and also the 41st Mayor of Salem, MA, 6) Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) who was an American songwriter born in Falmouth, MA who is best known for writing the words to the popular patriotic song “American the Beautiful”, 7) Isaac Chapman (1779-1845) who was an American politician that served as a Member of the US House of Representatives (1827-1835) and a US Senator (1841-1845), 8) Martin Waltham Bates (1786-1869) who was a lawyer born in Salisbury, Connecticut who served as Senator from Delaware from 1857-1859, having earlier served in the Delaware House of Representatives, 9) Leon E. Bates Sr. (1899-1972) who was an African American born in Carrollton, Missouri who became a labor union leader with the United Auto Workers from 1937 to 1964, and 10) Mick Bates (1947) who was an Independent Liberal Democrat Member of the Welsh Assembly for Montgomeryshire between 1999-2001.