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Kim, there was some discussion on this in earlier postings on this Forum, I believe. There was talk about it originally being Van Shott, or something like that, originating in das netherlands, traveling to England c. 11-1200's and being shortened to Shoat, Choate, etc. It's easily distorted as the name may also be pronounced the same as the name for a baby pig, which used to really make my mother very angry. She insisted upon the 'CH' being pronounced, as it is written, instead of the 'SH' sound. This may be why some of the descendents evolved the spelling as "CHoate."...I don't know, but that's my gibberish.