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The "Phethean" Surname Project

The Phethean surname and its derivatives, especially Phythian, originate from two very close villages in Cheshire, UK (Brereton and Warmingham) with common ancestors going back to at least 1500. This has been demonstrated by a study of the earliest know forms of the surname, detailed genealogical studies and by preliminary Y-DNA testing. Phethean and Phythian are the most common surnames in existence today.


This project seeks world-wide participants with surnames belonging to the list at the end of this project description to enhance the preliminary Y-DNA tests carried out on two members of the Phethean family (one in UK, one in USA) and one member of the Phythian family (UK). This will assist in deducing the origin of these distinct (and in some cases, extinct) surnames and how strongly related they are to the core Cheshire surnames. In addition, it is hoped to determine any links (or otherwise) between The Phethean (and derivative) surnames in Cheshire and the Fythyan surname which appears to be restricted to Southern England.

The DNA project is run in conjunction with the Phethean one-name study registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. Further information about the study can be found on the project profile at:


A Surname Project traces members of a family that share a common surname. Since surnames are passed down from father to son like the Y-chromosome, this test is for males taking a Y-DNA test. Females do not carry their father's Y-DNA and acquire a new surname by way of marriage, so the tested individual be a male that wants to check his direct paternal line (father's father's father's...) with a Y-DNA37, or preferably a Y-DNA67 marker test. Y-DNA12 or Y-DNA25 tests unfortunately offer insufficient resolution for the purposes of this project.  Females who would like to check their direct paternal line can have a male relative with this surname order a Y-DNA test. (Females can also order an mtDNA test for themselves such as the mtDNA or the mtDNAPlus test and participate in a separate mtDNA project).  DNA is extracted painlessly from buccal cells (saliva/cheek cells). Full details can be found in the DNA FAQ accessed via the tab on the top menu.

Surnames of interest

Fethion, Fethyan, Fethyon, Fhithyan, Fithan, Fithean, Fitheion, Fitheon, Fithian, Fithion, Fithyan, Fithyon, Fitton, Fytheone, Fythian, Pheathean, Pheathian, Phethean, Phethein, Phetheon, Phethian, Phethion, Phithean, Phitheon, Phithian, Phithion, Phithyan, Phythean, Phytheon, Phythian, Phythion, Phythyan

Phethean Family History Web Site