Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Phillips One-Name Study commenced officially in 2009 when we were registered as a one-name study by GOONS; however, the roots of this study go back to 2004 when a Phillips DNA project was organized through Family Tree DNA, a commercial DNA testing company. As of January 2016, we have over 800 participants in the Phillips DNA project and more than 90 distinct, unrelated Phillips families in the UK, the USA, Canada and other countries have been identified through DNA analysis. If you are a man with the surname Phillips or some variation thereof and you live in the UK or Ireland, you may qualify for a free yDNA test if you are willing to supply a five generation Phillips lineage. Please contact me for details.

Variant names

Variants of the name that have been registered with GOONS are Fillips, Phillips, Philips, Philipps, Phillipson, and McPhillips.

Name origin

The surname Phillips and its many variations are believed to be patronymic surnames, which mean they are derived from the male first name Philip or 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'. DNA analysis of over 800 men named Phillips or some variation of Phillips indicates a great many unrelated men who had fathers named Philip or Phillip adopted some variation of the surname Phillips (meaning son of Philip or Phillip) as permanent surnames gradually came into general use in Europe from 1000 AD to 1800 AD.

Historical occurrences of the name

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. A list of famous people surnamed Phillips may be found at this link:

Name frequency

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. According to The World Book of Phillips, Volume 1, in 1993 there were 153,965 Phillips heads of households in the USA; 56,102 in the Great Britain; 16,103 in Australia; 8,340 in Canada; 2,453 in New Zealand; 1,134 in Ireland; 421 in Germany; 29 in Switzerland; and 13 in Austria. 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).


There are over 800 individual Phillips family pedigrees posted on our yLineages page at our Phillips DNA project website. There are also over 800 yDNA haplotypes posted on our yResults page at our Phillips DNA project website. In addition, I maintain a large personal database of information on various Phillips families. I would be happy to search my database for information on your Phillips family. Please contact me for details.


Along with two co-administrators named Tom Hutchison and Virginia Phillips-Smith, I am the volunteer administrator of a Phillips DNA Project hosted by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) with a courtesy website provided by FTDNA at this link:

In addition, we maintain an independent website at this link:

We set up the independent website so that we could accept DNA results from any testing company, not just FTDNA. Also, our independent website is more flexible than our courtesy website at FTDNA.  That flexibility allows us to post pedigrees, pictures, stories, news items and provide many other benefits for our members.