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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Russell family come from? What is the English Russell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Russell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Russell family history?

The name Russell was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Russell family lived in Dorset. Their name, however, is a reference to Roussel, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

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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 Russell, Russel and others.

First found in Dorset where they were originally descended from William Bertram, Baron of Briquebec, living in 1012. His son Hugue (Hugh) named de Roussel attended Duke William at Hastings, and became Marshall of England.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russell research. Another 221 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1012, 1486, 1555, 1550, 1577, 1632, 1601, 1614, 1602, 1669, 1625, 1632, 1669, 1639, 1683, 1660, 1731, 1613, 1700, 1680, 1711, 1642, 1714, 1679, 1683, 1694, 1702, 1710, 1735, 1629, 1692, 1683 and are included under the topic Early Russell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 397 words(28 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Russell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 209 words(15 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Russell or a variant listed above:

Russell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William and Walter Russell settled in Virginia in 1607
  • John Russell settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Dennis Russell, who arrived in Virginia in 1628
  • Simon Russell settled in Boston in 1631
  • Joe Russell settled in Virginia in 1635


Russell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Mary Russell, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • David Russell, who landed in Oxford, Maryland in 1747

Russell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 22, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Isabella Russell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Isaac Russell, who landed in America in 1805
  • Henry Russell, aged 22, landed in New York in 1812
  • Jane Russell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816


Russell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Elijah Russell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Russell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Bridget Russell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • James Russell, aged 50, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Thomas Russell, aged 13, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • William Russell, aged 11, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Jane Russell, aged 45, a widow, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast


Russell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Russell, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Russell, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Russell, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Samuel Russell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Thomas Russell, a carpenter, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832


Russell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Russell, aged 21, a gardener, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • David Russell, aged 32, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 34, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 10, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • John Russell, aged 8, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842


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  • William Eustis Russell (1857-1896), American politician, governor of Massachusetts (1891-1894)
  • Donald Russell (1906-1998), American judge and politician, US Senator for South Carolina
  • Francis Russell (1910-1989), American author specializing in American history
  • Vice Admiral James Sargeant Russell (1903-1996), American naval officer and naval aviator
  • Johnny Russell (1940-2001), American country music, singer and songwriter
  • Bill Russell (b. 1934), American basketball player
  • Jane Russell (1921-2011), American film actress and one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s
  • Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), American religious leader
  • Henry Norris Russell (1877-1957), American astronomer
  • Morgan Russell (1886-1953), American painter

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  • Descendants of William Russell of Salem, Mass., 1647 by George Ely Russell.
  • Odyssey of the Barkers and The Russells by Don W. Barker.
  • Long, Long Ago, 1776-1976: a Genealogical Record of the Farris, Wells, Keltner, Wynne, Russell, Roberts Families in America by Harriett Farris Boozer.
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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: Che sara sara
Motto Translation: What will be will be.

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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Russell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Russell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 June 2015 at 15:23.

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