Show ContentsPrim History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Prim is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a slender or a small man having derived from the Old French word prim, meaning delicate. [1] [2] [3]

However, another source claims that while the name is Norman, it is derived from the "Latin primus-first, best, chief, as in the old French phrase, 'Le prime de Chevaliers,' defined by Cotgrave as 'a prime Knight, the flower of Knights.' The French surname De la Pryme has, however, the appearance of a local origin." [4]

Early Origins of the Prim family

The surname Prim was first found in Lincolnshire where William Prime was recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. A few years later, Ralph Prime was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. [3] In Sussex they acquired the manor of Walberton House.

Early History of the Prim family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Prim research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1596, 1628, 1629, 1671, 1701 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Prim History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Prim Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Pryme, Prime and others.

Early Notables of the Prim family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • John Prime (1550-1596), English divine, son of Robert Prime, a butcher of Oxford, born in the parish of Holywell

Prim Ranking

In the United States, the name Prim is the 17,602nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

United States Prim migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Prim or a variant listed above:

Prim Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henrich Prim, aged 40, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1740 [6]
  • Jacob Prim, aged 20, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [6]
  • Peter Prim, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751 [6]
Prim Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Prim, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1879 [6]

Australia Prim migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Prim Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Bridget Prim, (Primm), (b. 1802), aged 24, Irish dairy maid who was convicted in Wexford, Ireland for 7 years for shop lifting, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, listed as having 1 child [7]
  • Mr. Eli Prim, English convict who was convicted in Birmingham, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Clara" on 28th January 1864, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [8]

New Zealand Prim migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Prim Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Richard Prim, aged 25, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Prim (post 1700) +

  • Kristin Prim (b. 1993), American fashion blogger and model
  • Robert C. Prim (b. 1921), American mathematician and computer scientist, creator of Prim's algorithm for mininal spanning tree
  • Ray Prim (1906-1995), American Major League Baseball player
  • Paine Page Prim (1822-1899), American attorney and judge
  • Paine Paige Prim (b. 1822), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Oregon State Constitutional Convention from Jackson County, 1857; Justice of Oregon State Supreme Court, 1859-80; Chief Justice of Oregon State Supreme Court, 1864-66, 1870-72, 1876-78
  • Tommy Prim (b. 1955), Swedish cyclist
  • Juan Prim (1814-1870), 1st Marquis of los Castillejos, Spanish Catalan general and statesman

The Prim Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nil invita minerva
Motto Translation: Nothing contrary to one’s genius.

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th February 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook