Philips of Early Virginia
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Phillips Y-DNA Project

The Phillips Y-DNA web site - See Family Group 46

The Phillips family Y-DNA web site is maintained by Family Tree DNA as part of their overall Y-DNA data collection and grouping effort.  All of the Y-DNA data appearing on this web page relates to Y-DNA that the submitters believe can trace their ancestors back to an ancestor named Phillips or a variation thereof. 

Phillips DNA Project Goals

  1. Help researchers from common or related branches of Phillips families work together to find their shared heritage.
  2. Identify how the participants' families are connected, both genetically and through paper trails.
  3. Identify and confirm genetic lineages of ancestral families and find our ancestral roots in Europe, or wherever they may be.
  4. Ultimately catalog pedigrees and genetic connections of all known Phillips branches.

Phillips DNA Family Groups

Over 100 individual Phillips family groups have been established through Y-DNA analysis thus far. The Y-DNA signatures of all these different Phillips family groups indicate they are probably not related to each other within 1,000 years. The singles listed under Unassigned Members are probably not related to anyone else listed here through their Phillips lines within 1,000 years. This suggests the surname Phillips was adopted by many different unrelated men as surnames gradually came into existence from 1000 AD to 1800 AD. In other words, we do not all trace back to a single Phillips family. If you do not find your Phillips family on this website today, be sure to check back frequently in the future. We are currently gaining approximately 5 to 10 new members per month.

Family Group Lineages

We list all pedigrees for those who wish to be listed. We also post DNA results and pedigrees obtained from other online public databases. If you recognize your DNA results or pedigree and wish to have them removed, let us know. We hope that all Phillips families will eventually be listed on this website. We also hope to ultimately locate male descendants of every Phillips family to arrange for their DNA testing. Participation in the DNA Project is not a requirement for listing in this project, but we strongly encourage DNA testing.

Please note that these pedigrees do not contain a lot of detailed information. They are intended to allow a researcher to identify a family of interest. They are NOT intended to provide all of the information that is known about these families or to reveal the identity of any participants. Each ancestor's information should fit on one line and include name, birth date, birth place and wife's name. These pedigrees do not include any marriage information other than the name of the wife, and do not include any death information or any details on the wife. Our pedigrees begin with the earliest known paternal Phillips ancestor.


The website BEHIND THE NAME states that Phillips is the 43rd most common surname in England and Wales and the 45th most common surname in the United States.  Many Americans erroneously believe that Phillips is strictly a Welsh surname.  The Dictionary of American Family Names published by the Oxford University Press says the surname Phillips can be English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, North German and even Jewish (western Ashkenazic).  In the melting pot that is North America, this surname has also absorbed similar names from other European countries, such as the Italian surname Filippi and the Polish surname Filipowicz.

The surname Phillips is believed to be a patronymic surname, which means it is derived from the male first name Philip or Phillip.  Adding an "s" to the end of Philip or Phillip causes it to mean "son of Philip" or "son of Phillip".  The website BEHIND THE NAME states that the first name Philip or Phillip is from the Greek, and it means "friend of horses" or "lover of horses".  One of the twelve apostles was Saint Philip.  Philip was also the name of an early figure in the Christian church, spoken of in the New Testament.  The name was bestowed on six kings of France, five kings of Spain, and five kings of Macedonia, including Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.  Philip or Phillip was an extremely popular first name in medieval times.  DNA indicates a great many unrelated men who had fathers named Philip or Phillip adopted the surname Philips or Phillips (meaning son of Philip or Phillip) as permanent surnames gradually came into general use in Europe from 1000 AD to 1800 AD.  Variations include Philipps, Phillipps, Philips, Philps, Phelps, Phalps, Philippe, Philippy, Phelips, Phalips, Filips, Filups and numerous other diminutive, patronymic and cognitive forms. 

It is important to remember that spelling in the English language did not become standardized until the 19th century.  Webster's Dictionary was not published until 1806.  Before the 19th century, there was no guide to the spelling of words or names, and those who wrote and recorded documents, such as clerks and clergymen, attempted to reproduce phonetically the sounds they heard.  Up until the 19th century, the great majority of the population in Europe and North America was illiterate and had no notion that any one spelling of their name was more 'correct' than any other.  Benjamin Franklin, who was a very literate man for his times, once said that he could never respect a man who could only spell a word one way!

Having said all that, it is important to remember that my family of Philips (spelled with one "L") rely on family lore about how the spelling came about.  As the story goes, our Philips family were supporters of the Revolutionary War and other branches of the family were in favor of staying under the King of England.  So our family changed the spelling of their name, eliminating one "L" from the spelling to identify they were the part of the family supporting the American Revolutionary War.