Russ History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Russ family

The surname Russ was first found in Devon. The first on record was Radulphus le Rufus, a knight in the train of William the Conqueror who became one of the Justices Itinerant of the counties of Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall temp. Henry II. It is from this eminent person that the family of Edmerston and Halton, co. Devon descend. [1]

"Rouse or Rowse is the name of an ancient Cornish family of Halton. Antony Rouse or Rowse, of Halton, was High Sheriff in the reign of Elizabeth. " [2]

"The manor of Helston, which was always considered as belonging to the dutchy, was alienated during the usurpation of Cromwell, when it was sold to Anthony Rowse; but on the restoration of the Stuarts, it returned again into its original channel. This manor was sold in the year 1798, under the Land-tax redemption act, to John Rogers, Esq. of Penrose, who is the present proprietor." [3]

Some of the family were also found at early time further north at Mearly in Lancashire. "The chief part of the township was granted by Jordan le Rous to Stephen, afterwards called de Merley, whose daughter married Adam de Nowell, and carried the Hall and manor into that family, 38th of Edward III." [4]

And still farther north, Rousay and Eagleshay is a parish, in the North Isles of the county of Orkney, Scotland. [5]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the popularity of the name was evident. That rolls included: Alexander le Rous, Cambridgeshire; Juliana la Rouse, Oxfordshire; Alicia Rouze, Cambridgeshire; John le Rus, Lincolnshire; Gilbert Russ, Lincolnshire; and Lucia la Russe, Oxfordshire. [6]

Early History of the Russ family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russ research. Another 290 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1579, 1659, 1608, 1670, 1656, 1730, 1776, 1731, 1411, 1491, 1411, 1574, 1652, 1600, 1579, 1659, 1618, 1680, 1660, 1645, 1626, 1605, 1677, 1653, 1660, 1608, 1676, 1654, 1660 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Russ History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Russ Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Russ family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Rous or Ross (c. 1411-1491), the English antiquary of Warwick, born at Warwick about 1411, was son of Geoffrey Rous, a descendant of the Rowses or Rouses of Brinkelow, Warwickshire; John Russe or Rouse (1574-1652), Bodley's librarian, born in Northamptonshire, Fellow of Oriel College in 1600; Francis Rous (1579-1659), English hymnist, fourth son of Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick, Cornwall; John Rous (c 1618-1680), an English politician, Member of...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russ Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Russ migration to the United States +

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 [7]
  • Thomas Russ, who landed in Maryland in 1671 [7]
  • James Russ, who landed in Maryland in 1677 [7]
Russ Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Timothy Russ, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [7]
  • Hans Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727 [7]
  • Michael Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1752 [7]
  • Anthon Russ, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754 [7]
  • John Russ, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Russ Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Russ, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Peter Russ, who arrived in America in 1836 [7]
  • Henry Russ, aged 32, who arrived in Missouri in 1840 [7]
  • Eduard Russ, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850 [7]
  • August Russ, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Russ Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mathias Russ, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906 [7]

Canada Russ migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Russ Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Carl Russ, who arrived in Quebec in 1850

New Zealand Russ migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Russ Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Job Russ, aged 22, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russ, aged 17, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Jacob Russ, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • Johan Russ, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857

Contemporary Notables of the name Russ (post 1700) +

  • Otis Stanley Russ (1930-2017), American politician, President pro tempore of the Arkansas Senate (1995-1997)
  • 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
  • John Russ (1767-1833), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Connecticut at-large, 1819-23; Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Hartford, 1824, 1829; Probate judge in Connecticut, 1824 [8]
  • D. H. Russ, American politician, Mayor of Enterprise, Alabama, 1952-54 [8]
  • Charles B. Russ, American Republican politician, Elected Connecticut State House of Representatives from Chaplin 1916 [8]
  • Bill Russ, American politician, Candidate for village President of Brookfield, Illinois, 2005 [8]
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Russ Motto +

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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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