Select Phillips Surname Genealogy

Phillips 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 century. Ohillips

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 co-founded the electronics giant Philips in 1891. 

Some Phillips are Jewish.  An early example was Jonas Phillips who had arrived in America from Germany in 1756 and settled in Philadelphia.  A more recent example is the British journalist Melanie Phillips. 

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Wales.   Philip 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 tremendous political, social and economic influence over all aspects of local life.   

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 related. 

The Phillips family of Trelewelyn in Pembrokeshire had assumed the Phillips name in the early 1600's.  Thomas 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 Redruth dating back to the 1570’s). 

Phillips was also to be found from an early time in Lincolnshire and 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 Thomas Phillips in Southwark around 1720.  His
son William Phillips 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.

  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. 

There were Welsh Phillips who were granted land in the vicinity of Bandon, Cork in the early 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 their home in Fredericksburg, Ontario. 

The 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. 

George Phillips, a Quaker of  probable Welsh origin, came to Bucks 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 took the well-trodden Welsh route to Chester county, Pennsylvania

Canada.  John and Anne Phillips from New England moved to Quebec in the 1760’s following their son 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 1919.    

John Phillips, a descendant of William Phillips of Taunton, was a Loyalist who decamped to Canada in 1777 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.

  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

Select Phillips Miscellany.

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

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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 Phillips 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 1920's.

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)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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