Last name: Russell

This is one of the most famous and noble names in British history since the Conquest of 1066, when it was a Norman introduction. The name is a diminutive patronymic and means "the son of Red", from the Old French "Rous", red, a nickname for someone with red hair, and "-el", little. In the National Biography there are over sixty entries for Russell, the Dukes of Bedford being Russells, while Charles Russell 1832 - 1900, the Lord Chief Justice of England was Baron Russell of Killowen. The third Earl Russell is better known as the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). On January 2nd 1634, one John Russell, aged 19 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Bonaventure" bound for "Virginea"; he was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to enter America. In the modern idiom, the name has seven spelling variations:- Russel, Russell, Russill, Rousel(l) and Roussel(l). Over sixty Coats of Arms have been granted to bearers of this illustrious name, one of the earliest being that of the Russells of Shropshire, which depicts, on a black shield, a fess between six gold martlets. The martlet signifies one who subsists on wings of virtue and merit, having little land to rest upon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Rousel, which was dated 1115, in the "Winton Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Administrator", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Kirsty Russell
Hi my names Kirsty Russell I never knew our surname was one of the most noblest in British history. It's nice to get some background information.

David Rouse (historian)
Russell is an Anglo Saxon name and not linked to Rous ( or any of it's derivatives). It neither originated from Normandy or resulted from the poll tax. Moreover, coats of arms are specific to one person and not a family through the generations.

Stephen Henry Russell
My father was John Jewett Russell. I live in Maine. I know much about my father's mother's family, and my mother's families, but know little about the Russells. I thought I was Irish by Russell ancestry. But am I really Norman? Where is that tree....?

Luka
Hey guys. I'm a black guy from america and I'm curious about my last name. I assumed that black slaves took the last name of their owners but my uncle showed me pics of my grandfather's dad and guess what....HE HAD RED HAIR!!! That sent chills up my spine. He was dark skinned and redheaded. He told me that Russell was a Scott Irish name but you guys are saying it's an anglo/saxon so I'm confused about that. my father's side of the family is from central texas San Antonio area so maybe I'm related to other Russells in that region.

sarah
im a Russell and my hole family is Irish but i think your saying im English i don't believe everything on the internet but this has me wondering

John Russell
Woah that's really cool I never knew that it dated back into England I always knew I was though.

Jayne Isgro
I am doing my family tree as we speak, my Great Grandmother, who I knew at a young age is Eleanor Adeline Russell. I have traced back to her great grandfather who was John Russell born in 1825 in sussex England. Having trouble getting his parents details as he was a convicted criminal in 1844 and sent to Tasmania Australia and later was released and married a Matilda Eastley and had around 10 children. They became first pioneers in the Ulverstone area and are listed in there local museum. But as far as I can tell, what ever direction I head with leads on his family, he pretty much was a relation of the Royal Russell Family but most likely illegitimately as his mothers name is unclear. so exciting stuff and I am really addicted to the geneolagy!!

Jayne Isgro
Also from my research it would seem that if you dig back far enough we are related sooner or later. :)

Mark Russell
Interesting to hear that the name has no connection with 'Rousel'

manda
I am Australian and am trying to trace my Russell family in Ireland. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

SB
My surname is Russell and I live in Scotland. There seems no doubt that the name derives from the place name Rosel in Normandy and the previous suppositions about diminutive forms of Rous were wrong. However, I undertook an ancestral DNA test which analyzed my Y-chromosome (my paternal lineage and therefor the 'surname chromosome'). This revealed a Germanic origin, specifically Frisian. This is about as Anglo Saxon (not Norman) as it gets. However, it is known that there were Frisian and other Germanic mercenaries amongst the forces of William the Conqueror during the Norman Invasion, so that perhaps explains it.

Robert Russell
I was always told when I grew up that Russell was the third person on earth. as the story goes that when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden they were disturbed by a wee Russell in the bushes.

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell. earliest relative known to be Toish Russell around 1760`s

George russell
This is interesting. I live in Scotland to

Derek Russell
My wife's father was born in Glasgow Scotland, James Russell in 1901. So her maiden name was Russell and her married name Russell. I was born in Essex, my wife also.

Karl Russell
I'm a Russell from New Zealand, and my father and his father were Russells from New Zealand. I have no idea where his father is from but I'm told we are descended from Scandinavia somewhere though again, I have no clue where and to what clan.

Rebecca Russell
This is all so interesting!

Darren Russell
Quite mad that it's earliest meaning was a nickname for a redhead. I am a redhead.

brent sutton

my grandfather and grandmothers name is june and edward russell im there grandson brent sutton

brent sutton

im on facebook as well. I live in crestline ohio and my grandparents was from mansfield ohio. My Grandfather was an elder at the Shelby Alliance and was in WW11

Chad Russell

Based on my findings on Ancestry.com, I am descended from one Hugh De Rousel, whom fought for William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings in 1066. I can also claim relation to the Earls of Bedford and their ilk. So in my case, the Russell surname is totally derived from France.

Juanita Russell

where were the first African decent of the russells acknowledged

Callan Russell

cool! im my family, the russell side is in fact POLISH! any resons why??? :/

frank brewster

My father's family is German for as far back as anyone can remember. So Russell made itshot way to Germany at some point

Joshua Russell
Family history is important, it tells a story of beliefs are fickle beginnings - my Russell ancestry comes from London, but it's wide spread across to Sussex and to Rye ( nothing to do with the Rye plot ) my earliest ancestor is Isaac Russell living in Rye. My uncle had told me that my grandfather told him that we have Scottish, Irish and royalty blood - folklore is strange as don't whether what's fact or not. Most Scottish are related to the Bedford duke clan. My 5 times great grand father is a William Thomas Russell born in Rye 1759.

Charles Russell
There are two different explanations for the origin of the surname Russell. One is that the name originated from a Norman, Hugh de Roussel who had three sons, and whose name appeared on the Falaise Roll as having arrived in England in 1066 and settling there. The holiday village of Cherence-le-Roussel in north west France still bears his name. In support of this explanation, Scottish Russells from Aberdeenshire have obtained proof of this origin of their surname from parish records, by tracing back their ancestry to a baron Roussel who purchased estates there in 1333. The alternative explanation that the name Russell originated from roussel, the diminutive of rous meaning red, is less convincing. The Oxford dictionary indicates that the diminutive of rous was rousset, which is the derivation of the modern English word russet.