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Are the CRYMES, CHRYMES, CRIMES and CHRIMES names in good health?

There are real concerns about the long term prospects for the CRIMES and CHRIMES names in the UK.

We know that there are about 420 people named CHRIMES in the UK at present (see Distribution) with a similar number of CRIMES. These are very low numbers for any UK surname. Is there a risk that these names may disappear from the UK?

The UK Births Index has the following numbers of entries for the period 2000 to 2006:


This suggests that the CRIMES and CHRIMES names are stable, but the data has to be treated with caution because of the way in which the UK Births Index is compiled. Looking at 2005 as an example, there were 7 CHRIMES entries in the UK Births Index. Of these, 3 were born to CHRIMES females in a relationship with named males and have since been found to have taken the surname of the named male (not CHRIMES). Of the remaining 4 births, 2 were females, who are unlikely to pass on the name CHRIMES to their offspring. That leaves just 2 males who can potentially carry the surname CHRIMES forward.

Applying these "correcting" techniques to the full table gives:


These numbers are not sufficient to sustain the CRIMES or CHRIMES surnames in the long term. The trend away from traditional naming of children (see story A new way of naming children?) may further reduce the number of children born to CRIMES/CHRIMES parents who actually carry that name into adulthood. So there is a real risk that the CRIMES and CHRIMES surnames may disappear, in the UK at least, within a few generations. As the CRYMES and CHRYMES surnames have disappeared already, this would signal the end of all variants in the UK. This gloomy prospect is solely from the perspective of the One Name Study - CRIMES and CHRIMES are not about to disappear from the UK overnight.

But we can nevertheless predict the eventual demise of these surnames.

What about other countries?

The CRYMES name lives on story explains that the CHRYMES and CRYMES names have already expired in the UK, but that the CRYMES surname thrives in the US. This is a remarkable story of the emigration of one man, leading to the development of what may turn out to be the largest branch within this research - my guess is that the prospects for the CRYMES surname are better than for any other variant.

See story Contrasting Emigration for CRYMES, CHRYMES, CRIMES and CHRIMES for a discussion of the current numbers of CRIMES and CHRIMES in countries other than the UK. There are several well-established CHRIMES families in the US, and I perceive (but cannot prove) that the traditions of marriage and child-naming still persist there so, although the numbers are low, they may be maintained for many more years.
The prospects for the CRIMES surname are improved by the significant number of black Americans with that name, but there is no data available regarding US 21st Century births as there is in the UK, making this improvement difficult to quantify. So although the CRIMES name will not be sustained by CRIMES emigrants from the UK, it may nevertheless persist, and hopefully even thrive, as an indirect result of one CRYMES emigrant.

The small numbers of CHRIMES in Australia would not suggest a lifeline for that name though, as with the United States, data for recent births is not easily available.

Overall, the "health" of each of the three remaining variant names is different, and their fate may well be decided in the next twenty years, brought about by migration, cultural changes and social pressures. I can foresee a time when the CRYMES name (which, being of an old-English style, might be expected to have expired) becomes the dominant variant once again, as it had been in 16th century England.

Revised March 2021 David Chrimes

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