The surname Yeats is of English origin but is also prominent in Ireland. The name is derived from the Middle English term yates meaning “gates,” plural of yate, Old English geat meaning “‘gate,” hence a topographic name for someone who lived near the gates of a walled town, or a metonymic occupational name for a gatekeeper. The earliest recordings as a surname include those of Philip del Yate in the pipe rolls of Cheshire for the year 1260, and Robert atte Yates in the Assize Rolls of Norfolk in 1344. John Yeats, who married Ann Davis at St Georges Chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1753. 'Mr Yates' is recorded in the records of 'Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea' in February 1624, making him one of the earliest settlers to the American Colonies, whilst the poet William Yeats and his brother Jack, were both born in Dublin in Victorian times.
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