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

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

The name Russ has a history dating as far back as the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for a person with red hair which was in turn derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead. Another equally valid derivation suggests that the name is a shortened form of the Norman given name Rufus.


Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Russ were recorded, including Rous, Rouse, Rowse and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russ research. Another 399 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1st , 1608, 1670, 1656, 1730, 1776, 1731, 1579, 1659, 1618, 1680, 1660, 1645, 1626, 1605, 1677, 1653, 1660, 1st , 1608, 1676, 1654 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Russ History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 159 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russ Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Russ arrived in North America very early:

Russ Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Alester Russ, who arrived in Maryland in 1651
  • Thomas Russ, who landed in Maryland in 1671
  • James Russ, who landed in Maryland in 1677

Russ Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Timothy Russ, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Hans Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Michael Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1752
  • Anthon Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754
  • John Russ, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765

Russ Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Charles Russ, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Peter Russ, who arrived in America in 1836
  • Henry Russ, aged 32, arrived in Missouri in 1840
  • Eduard Russ, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850
  • August Russ, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850

Russ Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mathias Russ, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906

Russ Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Carl Russ, who arrived in Quebec in 1850

Russ Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Job Russ, aged 22, a farmer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russ, aged 17, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Jacob Russ arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • Johan Russ arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857


  • John Russ (1858-1912), American professional baseball player
  • Robert Edwin Russ (1830-1902), American planter and civic leader who founded Ruston
  • Joanna Russ (1937-2011), American writer, academic and feminist
  • William Russ (b. 1950), American actor
  • Timothy Darrell "Tim" Russ (b. 1956), American actor, film director, screenwriter and musician
  • Debbie Russ (b. 1960), British actress
  • Gregory James Russ (b. 1971), former field hockey player from New Zealand
  • William "Bill" Russ (b. 1899), Australian rules footballer
  • Giannina Russ (1873-1951), Italian operatic soprano
  • Matthias Russ (b. 1983), German professional road bicycle racer



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: Vescitur Christo
Motto Translation: He feeds on Christ.



  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Russ Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Russ 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 9 February 2014 at 06:45.

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