Phillips Surname Meaning and Family History

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Phillips is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Phillip." The given name Phillip comes from the Greek name Philippos which means "friend of horses," composed of the elements philos, meaning "friend" and hippos, or "horse."

Surname Origin: Welsh

Alternate Surname Spellings: PHILIPS, PHILLIP, PHILIP

Famous People With the Surname Phillips

  • Elizabeth J. (Magie) Phillips - American inventor whose "The Landlord's Game" (patented in 1904) was the precursor to Parker Brother's "Monopoly"
  • Alban William Phillips - New Zealand economist known for the "Phillips Curve," a relation between inflation and unemployment.

Where Is the Phillips Surname Most Common?

The Phillips surname, according to surname distribution information from Forebears, is the 819th most common surname in the world, and is especially prevalent in Wales (where it ranks 17th), the United States (46th), England (50th), New Zealand (48th) and Australia (56th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler data also has the Phillips surname as being especially common in Wales, particularly in the western half of the country. It is also common throughout England, as well as New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Canada.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname Phillips

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Phillips Family Crest It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Phillips family crest or coat of arms for the Phillips surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

Phillips DNA Project
This very active DNA project brings together individuals with the Phillips surname interested in combining DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to help identify Phillips ancestors.

Phillips Family Genealogy Forum
This free message board is focused on descendants of Phillips ancestors around the world. Search the forum for posts about your Phillips ancestors, or join the forum and post your own queries. 

FamilySearch Phillips Genealogy
Explore over 9.6 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Phillips surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Phillips Surname Mailing List
A free mailing list for researchers of the Phillips surname and its variations includes subscription details and searchable archives of past messages.

GeneaNet — Phillips Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Phillips surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Phillips Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Phillips surname from the website of Genealogy Today. Phillips Surname
Explore over 14 million digitized records and database entries, including census records, passenger lists, military records, land deeds, probates, wills and other records for the Phillips surname on the subscription-based website,


Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Phillips Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Phillips Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Phillips Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2023).