Primrose History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Primrose surname is generally thought to be habitational name taken on from a place in Fife, originally named Prenrhos. This place name comes from the Welsh words "pren," meaning "tree"’ and "rhos," meaning "moor." It thought that only later came an association with the name of the Primrose flower.

Early Origins of the Primrose family

The surname Primrose was first found in Fife, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Primrose family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Primrose research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1387, 1580, 1641, 1641, 1659, 1580, 1641, 1616, 1679, 1659, 1661 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Primrose History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Primrose Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Primrose, Prymerose and others.

Early Notables of the Primrose family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Gilbert Primrose (c. 1580-1641), Scottish divine, son of Gilbert Primrose, principal surgeon to James VI. The family belonged to Culross, Perthshire, and his father was elder brother of Archibald Primrose, from whom the earls of Rosebery descend. James Primrose (dies 1641), was Clerk of the Privy Council of Scotland, the second son of Archibald Primrose of Culross and of Burnbrae, Perthshire. James Primrose or Primerose (died 1659), was a Scottish...
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Primrose Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Primrose migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Primrose Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lew Primrose, who settled in Boston in 1764
  • William Primrose, who settled in Maryland in 1775
  • John Primrose, aged 46, who landed in New York in 1798 [1]
Primrose Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Primrose, who arrived in Illinois in 1830 [1]
  • William Primrose, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1843
  • J W Primrose, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • Thomas Primrose, who arrived in America in 1855 [1]
  • David Primrose, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1871 [1]

Australia Primrose migration to Australia +

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

Primrose Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Primrose, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Primrose (post 1700) +

  • John L. Primrose, American Republican politician, Candidate for Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention from Wayne County 6th District, 1961
  • James Primrose, American politician, U.S. Consul in Pictou, 1837-43
  • Archibald John Primrose (1783-1868), fourth Earl of Rosebery, eldest son of Neil, third Earl of Rosebery, born at Dalmeny Castle, Linlithgowshire, Scottish peer
  • William Primrose (1904-1982), Scottish violist and teacher, probably the best known viola player of his time
  • Ms. Christine Mary Primrose M.B.E., British recipient of Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Gaelic Music, to Culture and to Education in Scotland and Internationally [3]
  • Peter Thomas Primrose (b. 1955), Australian politician in New South Wales
  • Captain Neil James Archibald Primrose (1882-1917), British politician and soldier, member of the UK Parliament
  • Philip Carteret Hill Primrose (1864-1937), Canadian police officer, who was made Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
  • Archibald Philip Primrose (1847-1929), British politician, 5th earl of Rosebery, Prime Minister of Britain (1894-95)
  • Howard Primrose Whidden (1871-1952), Canadian churchman, Member of Parliament, 6th Chancellor of McMaster University in 1923, eponym of the Whidden Lectures


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  3. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 4 July 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1


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