The origins of the Phillips name and family are found in Wales, although it is possible that some of the family may have emigrated to Wales from an area in Europe. The Phillips family is also found in Prussia, Netherlands, and areas now part of Germany, in some early records (OR, some of the family may have emigrated from Wales to Europe?) Some of the Welsh family later migrated to Lincolnshire (England), America, and Canada. It is a large family, and is certainly more complex than can be fully shown in our family tree files, and would include millions of descendants. Many of these are interwoven and folded back in by the Cluster Principle (information elsewhere at this website). This interweaving, a basic genealogical fact, means that many of us are descended from the same family. View the family coat of arms, and read the family motto. Much of the early information from Wales is courtesy material supplied to us by Picton Castle Trust, which is often cited as a source in the Family Tree files. Any family researcher who can find a Phillips marriage in their family ancestry, will be interested in this information.
Many founding families intermarried with Phillips men or women, and thus this surname is found very often in our Online Family Files. If anyone in your family ancestry married a Phillips, you may be interested in viewing this page.
The Wales Phillips family is the founding root family of the Massachusetts Phillips and New Jersey families. A branch later, via pathways through Somerset England, were signers of the First and Third Charters of Virginia, and thus founding the Phillips of Virginia, North Carolina, and beyond. See on this page, the ancestral home, Picton Castle. Read of the Phillips who founded modern public education. Enjoy your visit with the Phillips family in its early days.
The German and Dutch Phillips family, is the founding root source of the family in early days in New Amsterdam (New York) and other locations in the early colonies. This family is found with spellings such as 'Fylps', 'Flips', 'Philip', and most often 'Philips', though most later descendants chose the spelling 'Phillips'. All spelling at the NFFG online family tree, are rendered as 'Phillips', for ease of searching.
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The early branches of the Phillips family may have had some unique DNA Markers. Using this assumption, you might be tempted to try a DNA testing service to find lost cousins. However, as valuable as DNA testing is for some purposes, DNA testing is not yet able to help with historic family links. After examining a number of failed test results, where known family members were found to have 'no relationship' or 'little relationship' with proven family members over a longer span of generations, NFFG now believes that such testing is a waste of time and money, at this point. The y-chromosome path, which is supposed to go directly from father to son, has failed for complex reasons. The only useful answers will be obtained when tests using mitochondial DNA are developed further. To read a summary of our findings on this matter, please click here.
Root Meaning of 'Phillips'
The name 'Phillips' derives from the Greek name 'Philippos', which is a union of "philien", meaning 'lover' and "hippos" or 'horse'. Phillips means 'great horseman'. An early exemplar of the name was Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.
'Phillips' is a Patronymic Surname
The surname Phillips is a patronymic surname, which likely based on skills as horsemen. 'Patronymic' means that the surname was used in order to identify people by who their fathers were (hence also who their grandfathers were etc). Once an individual was named 'Phillips' that remained their surname.
Cadivor Mawr, Prince of Pembroke, the First Identifiable Member of this Family in Wales...
We have searched through many sources, and arrived at unknown darkness in the annals of time. The earliest identifiable person traced in the Phillips family appears to be Cadivor Mawr, Prince of Pembroke (Wales). He was cousin of Rhodri Mawr, the first recorded King of Wales. Aaron, a great grandson of Cadivor, was given a family coat-of-arms by King Richard I (1189-1199). Aaron received the crest as a token of his services during the third crusade to the Holy Land. This is now displayed as the Phillips Coat of Arms (see it elsewhere on this site). His descendant in the 12th century, named Ffylib ap Jevan, is the first who used the name Phillips. Ffylib became Phillips, and he was known as Jevan Phillips. This early family, MAY have had earlier roots in Europe.
Brythonic Celtic language: The First Language Spoken by the Phillips Family
The Phillips family of Wales, was rendered first in the Brythonic Celtic language, and thus spun off names in English with many spellings: Phillips, Phelps, Philip, Phip, Phips, and more.
To view a Map of the main castles and settlement patterns of the Phillips family of Wales, as they branched out from Wales, please click here. You will recognize names and locations of parish churches where family events are cited in the online family tree.'
The Phillips family is also found in northern Europe, in early records. The connections between this branch of the family, and the Welsh branch, if any, is unknown. Here is a map of some of the early locations in northern Europe which have been traced in the NFFG online family tree.
Early Days in the Phillips Family of Wales
From the 15th to the 19th centuries the Philippses of Picton Castle were the most powerful family in Pembrokeshire, exercising tremendous political, social and economic influence over all aspects of local life. They had vast estates, were prominent philanthropists (being particularly notable supporters of the Charity School and Public School movements), and for generations supplied Pembrokeshire with sheriffs, justices of the peace, deputy lieutenants, lords lieutenants and members of Parliament. As you look at entries posted in this family tree, you will see many early cousins who were born in the Royal Courts of London and Westminster - the family spent part of each year in London, but retained their homes in Wales. The parish churches in where their events took place are often shown as in counties of Shropshire and Cornwall - counties around the periphery of Wales.
The Baronetcy held by the Philips family included the title "Justiciar of Ireland ", and was a springboard for some Phillips families to move to Ireland. The Phillips who came to America (and later to Canada) migrated first from Wales to Lincolnshire (aka Lincoln County, England).
The Phillips Crest, granted by King Richard I to Aaron Phillips
. The family motto is
'mens conscia recti'
("In our inner mind, we know what is right")
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