Show ContentsGrim History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious family surname Grim originated in the lands which eventually became the modern German state of Prussia. This territory was known for its beautiful landscape, its advanced technology, and its military power. However, in the medieval era, Prussia was fragmented and inhabited by numerous barbarian tribes who fought amongst themselves for control of the land. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms, which were established after the fall of the Roman Empire, changed repeatedly. The region that came to be known as Prussia was roughly divided among the territories of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia and East Prussia. The Grim family emerged in Brandenburg-Prussia, which is essentially the birthplace of modern Germany. By the 19th century, Brandenburg-Prussia had incorporated East Prussia, West Prussia and many other German territories. Moreover, in the late 19th century, it led the German states in the unification of Germany.

Early Origins of the Grim family

The surname Grim was first found in Prussia, where the name became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region.

The Brother Grimm, Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859), were German academics, philologists and cultural researchers, born in the town of Hanau in Hesse-Cassel. Their "fairy tales" or "folk stories" were complied in seven editions with many revisions in each edition. The collection included "Cinderella" ("Aschenputtel"), "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), ("Die Gänsemagd"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Beauty and the Beast", "Little Red Riding Hood", "The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats", "The Three Little Pigs" and many more.

In England, Edward Grim (fl. 1170-1177), was a biographer of Becket, a native of Cambridge, a clerk, and had attained the degree of Master at some university before the end of 1170, when he visited Thomas Becket on the latter's return to Canterbury. "On the fatal evening, 29 Dec., Grim accompanied Thomas into the church, stood by him during his altercation with the knights, and shielded him from their violence, till, his own arm being nearly cut off by a stroke aimed at the primate, he fell to the ground, but was able to crawl away to the altar where the archbishop's other clerks had taken refuge, and thus escaped with his life." 1

Early History of the Grim family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grim research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1785, 1786, 1792, 1828, 1859, 1863 and 1901 are included under the topic Early Grim History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grim Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Grim include Grimm, Grim, Grimme, Grimmen, Grimmer, Grimer, Grymm and many more.

Early Notables of the Grim family

Notable figures of the time with the name Grim were

  • Jacob (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), born in Hessen, who were the founders of folklore as well as historians of the German language
  • their dictionary and collection of fairy tales are world-famous. Hermann Grimm (1828-1901), son of Wilhelm Grimm, became known as an art and literature historian, whose works were translated into seve...

Grim Ranking

In the United States, the name Grim is the 5,404th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. 2

United States Grim migration to the United States +

The state of Prussia was a great influence on the shape of modern Germany. After the Second World War, Prussia's land was divided among the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany and the state was abolished. Some Prussians remained in those countries after the war, while many others migrated to North America in search of a new start. Philadelphia was their primary point of entry to the United States, after which many of them moved on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. A large number of Prussians also migrated to Ontario and the prairie provinces as United Empire Loyalists. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Grims to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Grim Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Egidius Grim, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1728 3
  • Hans Jerick Grim, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 3
  • Andries Grim, aged 18, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736 3
  • Johan Hendk Grim, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1737 3
  • Carl Grim, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741 3
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Grim Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andreas Grim, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1804 3
  • Bryan Grim, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 3
  • Joseph Grim, who landed in Galveston, Tex in 1846 3
  • Frederick Grim, who settled in Texas in 1846
  • John Grim, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1855 3

Contemporary Notables of the name Grim (post 1700) +

  • Webster Grim, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 10th District, 1903-10; Candidate for Superior Court Judge in Pennsylvania, 1908; Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, 1910 4
  • Virginia Grim, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1996 4
  • Lauralee M. Grim, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1980 4
  • John W. Grim, American politician, Candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly from Richland County, 1902 4
  • Harry Grim, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania at-large, 1900 4
  • George E. Grim, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 89th District, 1974 4
  • Allan Kuhn Grim (1904-1965), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944; Judge of U.S. District Court, 1950 4
  • Robert "Bobby" Grim (1924-1995), American racecar driver
  • Robert Lee Grim (b. 1945), former American football player
  • John Helm Grim (1867-1961), 19th century American Major League Baseball player
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. George E. Grim, American Gunners Mate First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking 5

Suggested Readings for the name Grim +

  • Pennsylvania-German Settlers in Nebraska: Charles T. and Barbara Grim by Jane Howard Dein.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, June 10) . Retrieved from
  5. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook