Phillips Surname Genealogy
is patronymical,
from the personal name Philip (from the Greek Philipos, a lover of
horses). This name was popular probably because there were a
number of
early saints called Philip. The Philip name
came to England
from France probably sometime in the 12th
The surname
is not only English and Welsh, but also – as Philips – Dutch, Flemish,
and north
German as well. The numbers here are not
large, just 3,000 in Flemish Belgium today and fewer elsewhere.
Anton and Gerard Philips were the Dutch industrialists who
the electronics giant Philips in 1891.
Phillips are Jewish. An early example
was Jonas
who had arrived in America from Germany in 1756 and
settled in Philadelphia. A more recent
example is the British
journalist Melanie Phillips.

Phillips Resources on

arrived as a
personal name in Wales in the 14th century, initially as Ffylib or
Phelip. Ffylib ap Jevan in Pembrokeshire
in the 12th
century was also referred to as Jevan Phillips.

It was taken as a surname by Sir Thomas Philipps who came to
power and
influence in Pembrokeshire in the early 1500’s under Henry VII.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the Philipps – from their base
at Picton
castle – were the most powerful family in Pembrokeshire, exercising
political, social and economic influence over all aspects of local

They adopted the Phillips spelling in the 18th
century and other families followed. The Phillips families of
Cwmgwili in
Carmarthenshire and of Treygbi in Cardiganshire are believed to be

The Phillips family of Trelewelyn in
Pembrokeshire had assumed the Phillips name in the early 1600’s.
Phillips of this family was Sheriff of Pembrokeshire in
1667. Meanwhile
Peregrine Phillips, a Puritan preacher, was known as “the apostle of
Pembrokeshire” in the mid 1600’s.

England. Phillips in England
was to be found in
the west country, mainly in Cornwall (there are Phillip and Phillips
records in
dating back to the 1570’s).

Phillips was also to be found from an early time in Lincolnshire
London. There were two Phillips literary brothers
in London who were friends and associates of the poet John
Milton. One Phillips London line began with the birth of
Phillips in Southwark around 1720. His son William
had three wives and a mistress and died a wealthy man

Phillips in England may have a connection
with the like-sounding surnames Phelps and Phipps also found in the
west country. The Phelps of Tewkesbury in
Gloucestershire date from about 1500 and sometimes became Phillips.

Jacob Phillip arrived in London from Frankfurt in Germany in the early
1700’s. His son Arthur made his name in the British navy and
undertook the responsibility for the first convict shipments to
Australia on the First Fleet in 1788. He was Governor of the
colony until 1792.

Scotland. Phillips travelled to
Scotland also,
initially as Philp. Sir James Philp was curate at Abdie in the
late 1400’s. The name has been most
evident in Fife, particularly
around Dunfermline. But there are larger
Phillips numbers today in the Glasgow area.

Ireland. There were Welsh
Phillips who were granted land in the vicinity of Bandon, Cork in the
1600’s. Later the Phillips name cropped
up in the Cork parishes of Ballymoney and Kinneagh.

Thomas Phillips
(originally Phelps), a Cromwellian soldier from Tewkesbury in
Gloucestershire, was
granted land in Tipperary in the 1660’s and his family later made their
home at Mount Phillips. Turn the clock forward two centuries and
Francis Phillips of Cashel, Tipperary was first a poet and then a Sinn
Fein activist in the early 1900’s.

William Phillips from England
was one of the
first settlers in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1637. He
was killed by Indians in 1671. But his
line continued, first in Rhode Island
and then in upstate New York. As
Loyalists during the Revolutionary War, they later moved north and made
home in Fredericksburg, Ontario.

early Phillips in Maryland were from SW England. John
Phillips who acquired land in Dorchester
county in 1674 came from Cornwall. And
it is thought that Thomas Phillips, who was there around the same time,
originated from Devon.

, a Quaker of probable Welsh origin, came to
county, Pennsylvania in 1713. His descendants ended up in
Indiana. A later
arrival was the Rev. David Phillips from Pembrokeshire in 1755. He came with his three younger brothers and
the well-trodden Welsh route to Chester county, Pennsylvania.

John and Anne
Phillips from New England moved to Quebec in the 1760’s following their
John who had fought there against the French.
John’s son William became a flour merchant in Quebec. Some of his descendants headed west in the
late 1800’s, crossing the border into Minnesota. Wendell
Phillips departed for New Zealand in

John Phillips, a descendant of
William Phillips of Taunton, was a Loyalist who decamped to Canada in
after his farm in New York state had been seized. He
and his family came initially to Missisquoi
Bay before settling in Hastings county, Ontario. Another
Loyalist, Matthew Phillips from New
Jersey, emigrated to New Brunswick in 1783.
His descendants settled in Sunbury county.

Australia. Samuel Phillips from Oxfordshire was an early
settler in
Western Australia, arriving there in 1839 and over time becoming known
as the “Squire”
of the Toodyay valley. His Culham home
is still held by descendants. Meanwhile
John Phillips from Bristol arrived in Sydney around 1850, married
there, and
was an early settler in Brisbane, Queensland.

Phillips Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Phillips Names

Sir Thomas Philipps was
the forebear of the powerful Philipps family which held Picton castle
in Pemrokeshire from the early 16th century.
Anton and Gerard Philips co-founded
the Dutch electronics company Philips in 1891.
Henry Phillips founded
the American Screw Company in 1934 and was the man after whom the
screwdriver was named.
William Phillips was the
English economist after whom the term Phillips curve was named.
Frank Phillips, the oilman,
founded the Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in the

Select Phillips Today

  • 122,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 134,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 77,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

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