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About the origins of William and George Phelps

Site Update

On February 28, I updated the genealogy database to reflect requested corrections and to add about 1000 individuals and 200 families, totaling 18,493 individuals. This includes 5,964 families, including 784 sources, and representing over 2000 surnames in this database, totaling 2596 pages of family history.

William and George Phelps
of Crewkerne, not Tewkesbury

Pages one to 72 of The Phelps Family in America and Their English Ancestors describe the purported Tewksbury origin of the family of William Phelps. This has been disproved. For the latest information on the origins of William Phelps, visit your local library and order a copy of:

  • Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society. 1995. 3: 1444-1446.
  • Myrtle Steven Hyde, F.A.S.G. “The English Origin of William Phelps of Dorchester, Mass., and Windsor, Conn. with Notes on His Marriages,” TAG 65:161-166.

For information about these two articles, see Margaret Swanson's article Phelps Entries in "The Great Migration Begins from the Phelps Connections newsletters. The book The Phelps Family of America devotes most of its attention (pp 72 to 1,257) to the descendants of William Phelps, one of the founders of Windsor, Connecticut.

For more information, see:

About George Phelps Allegedly of Tewksbury

On pages 1259 to 1557, the The Phelps Family of America devotes identifies some of the descendants of George Phelps. More recent research, including DNA testing of the descendants of William and George, has proven that George is not William's brother. George also does not appear to have come on the Mary and John, but is believed to have come later, about 1635. For more information, see the article below:

A very few pages mention a James Phelps who came to Georgia about 1765 and another James who came in 1854.

Descendants of George Phelps and the Salem Phelps were much more numerous than this genealogy indicates. For various reasons they seemed to have been drawn to the frontier where fewer records were kept.

For more information, see:

About Henry and Edward Phelps, the “Fifth Family”

Pages 1569 to 1692 of The Phelps Family of America devotes identify descendants of the so-called “Fifth Family” who came to Salem, Massachusetts from London in 1634. The Phelps in this section are descendants of two supposed brothers, Henry and Edward. Edward remained in Massachusetts and had four children, two sons and two daughters who left issue. The majority of the Phelps found in eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are descendants of this fifth family. Their religion is predominantly Baptist. Henry’s son John has the only descendants of Henry that are carried forward in the Phelps Family of America.

Henry’s Quaker wife held meetings in her home. After several fines by the Salem Court for nonattendance at meetings, Henry moved to North Carolina about 1666 and settled in Perquamins County. In North Carolina Henry had children by a second marriage to Hannah (Baskell) Phelps who had previously been the wife of his brother, Nicholas. See:

  • Gwen Boyer Bjorkmann “Hannah (Baskell) Phelps Phelps Hill: A Quaker Woman and Her Offspring,” NGS Quarterly Dec. 1987.

About Cuthbert (Cudbeard) Phelps

Most Quaker Phelps descendants are descended from this family or that of another Quaker, Cuthbert Phelps who also settled in Perquamins County. Cuthbert also called Cudbeard first came to Talbot County, Virginia in 1654.

Other Early Phelps Immigrants

Another overlooked family of early Phelps who emigrated to the South in the seventeenth century was that of Walter Phelps (ca. 1658-1719) of All Hallows Parish [Anglican], Ann Arundel County, Maryland. Walter was a rebel and was transported with his family and servants.

For the latest information on descendants of this branch of Phelps, see:

Not unexpectedly a look at the occupations reported in the Phelps genealogy shows the individual entries heavily skewed to the more prosperous and educated—merchants, lawyers, doctors, clergy, prosperous farmers, elected officials and to warriors who served in either the Revolutionary War or Civil War.

A very few pages mention a James Phelps who came to Georgia about 1765 and another James who came in 1854.