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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Irish, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Phillips family come from? What is the Welsh Phillips family crest and coat of arms? When did the Phillips family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Phillips family history?

The ancestors of the bearers of the name Phillips were the ancient Britons that inhabited in the hills and Moors of Wales. This surname was derived from the personal name Philip. This name, which was usually Latinized as Philippus, was originally derived from the Greek name Philippos. This Greek name was composed of the words "philein," which means "to love," and "hippos," which means "horse." The personal name Philip owed its popularity to the medieval romances about Alexander the Great, whose father was Philip of Macedon.


There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Phillips have included Phillips, Philips, Phillip, Philip, Pilip, Pillips, Fillip, Filip, Filips, Phillipes, Philipes, Phillup, Philups, Fillups, Filups, Pilups, Pillups, Fulop and many more.

First found in Kent, where legend has it that the family (but not the surname) is descended from Maximus, the Briton, Roman Emperor from 383 until his death in 388, and the King of Britain, when he married the daughter of Octavius, King of the Britons. Later the family was forced back into Wales by the invading Saxons, where they traditionally claim descent from Tudwal (c.AD 528-564) "of the wounded knee," a descendant of Rhodri Mawr, first King of Wales.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Phillips research. Another 319 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1279, 1586, 1638, 1604, 1629, 1613, 1680, 1640, 1640, 1644, 1674, 1749, 1676, 1709, 1701, 1594, 1674, 1653, 1662, 1630, 1696, 1631, 1706, 1638, 1699, 1640, 1720, 1724, 1721 and are included under the topic Early Phillips History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 329 words(24 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Phillips Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Phillips family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 131 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


North America in the 1800s and 1900s saw the arrival of many Welsh people hoping to share in the wealth of land, work, and freedom that they felt North America held. Those who made the journey often attained those expectations, but only through an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, and often a bout of good luck. These immigrants helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and culture of both Canada and the United States. Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Phillips:

Phillips Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Elinor and Henry Phillips who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • George Phillips, who came to Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Bartholmew Phillips, who landed in Maryland in 1637
  • Day Phillips, who landed in Virginia in 1648
  • Alice Phillips, who arrived in Maryland in 1648

Phillips Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Phillips, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Ellinor Phillips, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Daniel Phillips, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Elizabeth Phillips, who landed in Carolina in 1724
  • Edmund Phillips, who arrived in Virginia in 1741

Phillips Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Bernard Phillips, who arrived in Long Island in 1815
  • Grace Phillips, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • Alexander Lewis Phillips, who landed in New York in 1822
  • Cecil Phillips, aged 3, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1838
  • Abraham, Alexander, Ann, David, and George Phillips, and many others who arrived at Philadelphia between 1807 and 1840

Phillips Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • George Phillips, who landed in Arkansas in 1906


  • Corporal Ruben J. Phillips (1874-1936), American Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Charles Franklin Phillips (1910-1998), American economist and author
  • William Daniel Phillips (b. 1948), American Nobel Prize winning physicist (1997)
  • Private George Phillips (1926-1945), American Marine awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Claire Phillips (1908-1960), American spy and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • John L. Phillips PH.D. (b. 1951), American NASA Astronaut with over 203 days in space
  • Ralph Saul Phillips (1913-1998), American mathematician awarded the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 1997
  • Pauline Esther Phillips (1918-2013), also known as Abigail Van Buren, an American advice columnist and radio show host who began the "Dear Abby" column in 1956
  • John McCandlish Phillips Jr., (1927-2013), American journalist and author on religious subjects who worked at the New York Times from 1952 to 1973
  • Howard Phillips (1941-2013), American politician, founder of the Constitution Party



  • Descendants of William and Elizabeth (Iser) Phillips of Columbiana County, Ohio By Rita Hineman Townsend.
  • Hatfield and Phillips Families of Eastern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia by Harry Leon Sellards.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ducit amor patriae
Motto Translation: Patriotism leads me.


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  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  4. Evans, Gwynfor. Wales: A History: 2000 Years of Welsh History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-120-2).
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Phillips Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phillips Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 October 2014 at 17:08.

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