This interesting surname is a patronymic i.e. "son of Fil", a pet form of the male given name Philip, coming from the Greek "Philippos", which is composed of the elements "Philein" to love and "hippos" horses; hence "lover of horses". Philip of Macedon (382-336 B.C.), fater of Alexander the Great, the first famous example, spread the name throughout Greece and Asia Minor. Hence the two Philips in the New Testament; Philip the deacon, who converted the chamberlain of the Queen of Ethiopia, as told in the seventh chapter of the Acts and Philip the Apostle. Phil and Fil are the usual pet forms of the name. The surname is first found in the mid 17th Century (see below). Other early recordings of the surname from London church registers include; Rebecca, daughter of George and Mary Filson, who was christened on May 26th 1713, at St. Dunstans, Stepney; Elizabeth Filson married John Clark on August 27th 1782, in the same place; and on July 5th 1798, Thomas Filson married Mary Abbot at Spitalfields, Christ Church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Felsun, who married David Vdes, which was dated December 7th 1645, Allhallows, London Wall, during the reign of King Charles 1, "The martyr, 1625 - 1649. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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