In 1898 Charles Otis Gates published an extensive work on the genealogy of Stephen Gates which contained an inaccurate description of his English ancestry. Unfortunately, this erroneous information has become widely circulated on Internet genealogy sites and elsewhere despite several subsequent research works which disproved this reported English lineage. While the early lineage was proven to be inaccurate it was not until recently that the true ancestry of Stephen Gates has been revealed.
Recent research by Edward J. Harrison indicates with reasonable certainty that Stephen Gates was the son of Eustace Gates and Rose Wright, daughter of Martin & Elizabeth Wright. The results of this study are presented in The January 2006 issue (Volume 160) of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Mr Harrison, a Stephen Gates descendant (Stephen-1, Simon-2, Amos-3, Amos-4, Oldham-5, Anna-6 who married Peter Hatfield) began his family history research in 1985.
It was originally thought that Stephen Gates was “of Hingham, England” mainly because his marriage in 1628 and the 1636 baptism of his daughter Marie appear in the Hingham, Norfolk parish registers. Mr. Harrison’s research into the registers of other parishes in Norfolk and Suffolk led him to the discovery of additional important family records in the parish registers of Coney Weston, Suffolk, a small parish located about sixteen miles south of Hingham. There he found a baptism record for Stephen Gates, son of Eustace, dated December 26, 1597, a marriage record for Stephen’s parents Eustace Gates and Rose Wright, dated March 4, 1592, and baptismal records for Stephen’s siblings (Thomas, Rose, William, Alice, Mary the elder, Bridgett, Simon, and Mary the younger)
ranging from 1593 through 1609.
In addition to these parish records Mr. Harrison found a will dated March 15, 1625/6 for Eustace Gates, laborer, which names his wife Rose and his four daughters, Rose, Alice, Mary the elder, Mary the younger and his four sons, William, Thomas, Stephen, and Simon. One of the problems in conducting this research was that the spelling of the surname was not consistent. The will names Eustace “Jaques” and in a Coney Weston burial record, dated April 26, 1626, his name is spelled Eustace “Jayuettes.” Mr. Harrison is not sure why these variations in the surname exist, but he points out that the vicars of old were not consistent spellers and they spelled phonetically what they thought they
After reviewing parish registers of Hingham, Mr. Harrison believes that the transcription of Ann’s surname as “Veare” may be in error. There are no other entries there for this surname.
After analyzing the records in the Hingham and Coney Weston parishes and the Eustace Gates will it appears that the composition of Stephen Gates’s family was as follows:
Eustace Gates, laborer, was buried at Coney Weston on April 26, 1626. His will, dated March 15, 1625/6, was proved June 5, 1626 in the Archdeaconry Court of Sudbury. He married at Coney Weston on March 4, 1592/3, Rose Wright, daughter of Martin and Elizabeth, who was baptized at Coney Weston on February 25, 1566/7 and was buried at Hingham, Norfolk on July 25, 1635.
Children of Eustace and Rose (Wright) Gates, baptized at Coney Weston, all except Bridget living March 15, 1625/6:
1. Thomas Gates, bp. Dec 6, 1593; bur. Hingham Sept 2, 1635; m. Hingham June 24 1622, Margaret Mylnye. She may be the “widow Gates” bur. Hingham Dec 13, 1639.
2. Rose Gates, bp. Dec 29, 1594.
3. William Gates, bp. April 18, 1596; m. Hingham Sept 18, 1627 Alice Foulesam.
4. Stephen Gates, bp. Dec 26, 1597; d. Cambridge, MA, between June 9 and Sep 29, 1662; m. Hingham May 5, 1628 Ann “Veare” d. Stow, MA 5 or 19 Feb 1682/3. Stephen and Ann immigrated to Massachusetts in 1638 on the Diligent.
5. Alice Gates, bp. after April 21, 1599.
6. Mary Gates, bp. Dec 25, 1601. Either she or her younger sister Mary m. Coney Weston in 1629 John Stidman.
7. Bridget Gates, bp. May 1, 1603; bur. Coney Weston March 20, 1616/7.
8. Simon Gates, bp. March 22, 1606/7.
9. Mary Gates, bp. Nov 5, 1609