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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. The family there were lords of Rosel, an ancient neighbourhood of Cherbourg. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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The surname Russell was 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. "Hugh de Rosel, a benefactor of the abbey of Caen accompanied the Conqueror to England, and was rewarded with possessions in county Dorset, the principally of which were Kingston, afterwards called Kingston-Russell and Berwick, the latter of which is still in possession of the family." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
The noted Scottish author George F. Black believed that while not discounting the Norman influence, he felt the name was "most probably a diminutive of rous, 'red'," and that Chaucer's reference to 'Daun Russel' in Nonne Prestes Tale was "alluding to his reddish color." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
He also notes one the first records in Scotland was Walter Russell who witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani to the Abbey of Paisley, c. 1164-77. A few years later, John, son of Robert Russel of Doncallaw, granted lands to the Hospital of Soltre between 1180 and 1220. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
Moving back to the English branch of the family, we found a few listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, specifically: Miriel Russell in Huntingdonshire; Simon Russel in Cambridgeshire; and Elyas Russell in London. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Johannes Russell and Robertus Russell. [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Over on the Isle of Wight in Yaverland, a small branch of the family was found at one time. "An ancient mansion of the Russells here, subsequently of the Richards family, and now a farmhouse, is a good specimen of the Elizabethan style." [4]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russell research. Another 393 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1012, 1683, 1727, 1741, 1437, 1423, 1424, 1432, 1417, 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 and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Russell (died 1437), an English landowner and Justice of the Peace, Speaker of the House of Commons (1423-1424) and in 1432, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1417; Sir John Russell, (c.1486-1555), Lord High Steward and Lord Keeper of the privy seal under...

Another 184 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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 and printed products wherever possible.

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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
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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
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Russell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Elijah Russell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Miss. Elizabeth Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [5]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. Jonathan Russell U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 270 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York, USA [6]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mrs. Martha Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mrs. Molly Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [8]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
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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, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Thomas Russell, aged 13, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • William Russell, aged 11, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Jane Russell, aged 45, a widow, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
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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
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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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  • James C. "Jay" Russell Sr., (1928-2016), American politician, Member of the Missouri House of Representatives (1962-1988)
  • Richard Lion Russell (1924-2015), American finance writer, perhaps best known for his newsletter called the Dow Theory Letters that started in 1958
  • Jeanne K. Russell (b. 1950), American actress best known for playing Dennis's playmate, Margaret Wade, in the television series Dennis The Menace (1959-1963)
  • Major-General Henry Dozier Russell (1889-1972), American Commanding General 48th Division (1944-1945)
  • Brigadier-General Clinton Warden Russell (1891-1943), American War Department Liaisson Officer with Admiral Ernerst J. King (1942-1943)
  • Brigadier-General Carl Austin Russell (1892-1948), American Deputy Chief of Theater Group for Ground Forces, War Department General Staff (1939-1945)
  • Francis Russell (1910-1989), American author specializing in American history
  • Jane Russell (1921-2011), American film actress and one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s
  • Donald Russell (1906-1998), American judge and politician, US Senator for South Carolina
  • William Eustis Russell (1857-1896), American politician, governor of Massachusetts (1891-1894)
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Russell Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Miss Sarah Mcqueen Russell (1881-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. William Russell (1846-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Clara M  Russell (1877-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917 but later died due to injuries
  • Master George  Russell (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Protestant Orphanage, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

HMS Hood

  • Mr. David L Russell (b. 1908), Scottish Musician serving for the Royal Marine Band from Glasgow, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Walter F Russell (b. 1907), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Fareham, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Leonard W Russell (b. 1916), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Tynemouth, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. John A G Russell (b. 1916), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Newport, Isle of Wight, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Charles A Russell (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Birmingham, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. L Russell, British Musician, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Arthur Charles Russell, British Chief Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Frederick Russell, English First Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Boysie Richard Russell (d. 1912), aged 17, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
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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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Citations



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  5. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  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 22 August 2016 at 16:58.

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