Prime History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Prime was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a slender or a small man having derived from the Old French word prim, meaning delicate.

Early Origins of the Prime family

The surname Prime was first found in Sussex where they acquired the manor of Walberton House.

Early History of the Prime family

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

Prime Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Pryme, Prime and others.

Early Notables of the Prime family (pre 1700)

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. Abraham de la Pryme (1671-1704), was an Presbyterian minister and English antiquary and descendant of a Huguenot family which migrated from Ypres in Flanders in 1628-1629, and lost much money in draining the great fens in the levels of Hatfield...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Prime Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Prime Ranking

In the United States, the name Prime is the 11,799th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1] However, in France, the name Prime is ranked the 3,606th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [2]


United States Prime migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Prime or a variant listed above:

Prime Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mark Prime, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630
  • Mark Prime, who landed in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1648 [3]
  • Abigail Prime, who landed in Maryland in 1670 [3]
  • Nicholas Prime, who settled in Philadelphia in 1683
  • Nicholas Prime, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1683-1684 [3]
Prime Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Prime, who settled in New England in 1725
Prime Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Prime, who landed in America in 1803 [3]
  • Alfred Prime, aged 36, who arrived in New York in 1854 [3]
Prime Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Richard William Prime, (b. 1884), aged 21, English bricksetter, from Plymouth, Devon, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 12th August 1905 en route to Montana, USA [4]
  • Mr. William John Prime, (b. 1880), aged 25, English brick setter, from Plymouth, Devon, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 12th August 1905 en route to Montana, USA [4]

Australia Prime migration to Australia +

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

Prime Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Prime, British Convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. David Prime, English convict who was convicted in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Nathan Prime, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Susannah" in 1849 [7]
  • Philip Prime, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Calabar" [8]

New Zealand Prime 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:

Prime Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. H. G. Prime, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [9]
  • Mr. William Prime, (b. 1843), aged 25, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January1869 [9]
  • Mrs. Mary Prime, (b. 1845), aged 23, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January1869 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Prime (post 1700) +

  • Edward Dorr Griffin Prime (1814-1891), American clergyman and journalist
  • Samuel Irenæus Prime (1812-1885), American clergyman, traveler, and writer
  • Benjamin Young Prime (1733-1791), American poet, essayist, and songwriter
  • Victor W. Prime, American Republican politician, Chair of Essex County Republican Party, 1910
  • T. J. Prime (1883-1967), American politician, Mayor of Bergenfield, New Jersey, 1918-22
  • Spencer G. II Prime (b. 1883), American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Essex County, 1912-13
  • Spencer G. Prime, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Essex County, 1887-88
  • Michael A. Prime, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1956
  • Fred L. Prime, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 4th District, 1974
  • James Prime, Scottish musician


The Prime 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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUSANNAH 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Susannah.htm
  8. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 2nd August 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Calabar 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/williamstuart1853.shtml.
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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