This unusual and interesting name is a variant of the English nickname surname "Catt", also found as "Chat" and "Katte", as well as "Chate", and being used of someone with cat-like characteristics. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century (and Middle English) "Catte", reinforced by the Old Norman French "cat", Old French "chat". The word appears in a similar form in most European languages from an early date, for example "Gatto" in Italian, "Cath", in Gaelic and "Katte" in German. Domestic cats were introduced into southern Europe after the 1st century A.D., and were known to the Romans by the Greek name "ailouros", "wavy tail". They were treated as sacred animals in Egypt, where they seem to have originated from. One Sarah Chate was married to Oliver Owin at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, on the 14th May 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Cat. which was dated 1167, The Norfolk Pipe Rolls. during the reign of King Henry II, the Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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