Russell Family History & Genealogy

114,902 biographies and 335 photos with the Russell last name. Discover the family history, nationality, origin and common names of Russell family members.

Russell Last Name History & Origin



MOTTO: Che sara sara – What will be will be
CREST: Silver goat passant with gold antlers
COAT OF ARMS: Silver with a red lion rampant on a black chief three silver escallops.

There is no doubt that the name comes from Norman French; however, there is some dispute as to its exact origins.
Surnames were introduced into Britain by the Normans after the conquest in 1066, often they derive from place names, jobs or a nickname. Some say Russell is derived from the French Rous, meaning red, indicating the bearers had red hair. But there is evidence that the family started in northern France. In view of a recent genetic study of people surnamed Sykes, which showed that they all have the same genetic origins, the same may also be true of the Russells.
The Russell coat of arms shows a lion rampant; this comes from the shield of the Bertrands, which showed a lion rampant and a crown.
The Dukes of Bedford share this family name. Let us consider their origins. The family were originally Vikings, but Rollo the Viking settled in Normandy, in northern France, in the area of Briquebec around 912. He claimed descent from Thor and Odin, the Norse gods. In Normandy he changed his name to Drago, which was easier to pronounce. The family used the name du Rozel possibly from about 1012 and there are records from 1066 of its use.
Hugh Bertrand, born in 1021, became lord of Barneville and le Rozel, in the Barony of Briquebec. In the same year, Hugh de Rozel was born and it was he who constructed the castle at Le Rozel near Caen.
The family moved to Britain with William the conqueror in 1066 where they were given lands. The family motto is Che Sara Sara, translated from the Latin means, “what will be will be”.
The name is common in Scotland and bearers are entitled to wear the tartan (blue and green with red stripes and white stripes). It is first recorded in Scotland in 1180. – Biography: Historic Memoirs of the House of Russell, J.H. Wiffen MRLS 1833. Thanks to Isabelle Nimal for research in France.


FAMILY HISTORY: Spelling variations of this family name include: Russell, Russel and others. First found in Dorset where they were seated 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. Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were Joe Russell who settled in VA in 1635, John Russell who settled in VA in 1623, Simon Russell who settled in Boston in 1631. William and Walter Russell who settled in VA in 1607. –

Name Origin

English, Scottish, and Irish: from Rousel, a common Anglo-Norman French nickname for someone with red hair, a diminutive of Rouse with the hypocoristic suffix -el. Americanized spelling of German Rüssel, from a pet form of any of the various personal names formed with the Old High German element hrod ‘renown’.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Spellings & Pronunciations

There are various French forms of the name, common in northern France: ROSSEL, Rosel(;), Roselt, Rozel, Roosels, Roossel, Rossels, Rosselle, Rosselle(n), Rosseel(s), Roseel, Rosielle, Rousseel, Rousse(le), Rouselle, Roussiel, Ross(e)au, Ross(i)au, Ros(s)ias, Roseau(x), Rosaux, Rosseau(x), Rouceau, Rouzaud, Roussiau(x), Roussieau, Roussia, Lerousseaux, Rousso, Rossay, Ros(s) eeuw, Rousse(e)euw, Roussel, Ros(i)euw, Rouseu, Rouzeeuw, Rossau(w), Russel, -ell(s), Russiaux, Russo, Reselle.

Nationality & Ethnicity

Hart Michigan and Mason County .

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Early Russells

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Russell Family Members

Surnames: Rusid - Rutsohn

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Joi Dickerson commented on Dec 01, 2002
Russell Geneology

Peter G. Morgan b 1817- d 1890 of Virginia-Legislators House of Delegates
served in house 1869-1871 City Council Born a slave in Nottoway County bought
a house and lot in 1871 in Lawrenceville, VA purchased himself and family by
making $ as a shoemaker. His wife was $1000.00. He died in Lawrenceville,
VA(according to the Negro Office Holders 1865-1895 published in 1946 in
Norfolk written by Luther Porter Jackson. Peter Morgan moved his family to
St. Petersburg during the Civil War.
Had: daughter Virginia Michigan Morgan born Dec 20, 1882

Solomon Russell, Father of James Solomon Russell was a slave on the Russell
in Warren County, North Carolina. He was separate from his wife Araminta who
worked in the "Big House" on the Hendrick plantation. Araminta's mother's
grandmother was sold in Palmers Springs shortly after she was brought from
Africa. She had a daughter, Seleah who also worked in the big house. Seleah
had 4 daughters and 2 sons.

Mother: Seleah(first name) + ?
6 children: (4 daughters + 2 sons)
Araminta Hendrick
Solomon Russell Married Araminta Hendrick Had: James Solomon Russell
Note: James Solomon Russell in his book " Adventure in Faith"spends his
honeymoon on the Hendrick Estate and refers to Aaron Hendrick as "family". He
also note "Thomas Wade", overseer as helpful in his life and education.

Archdeacon James Solomon Russell-Founded the St. Paul Normal School
Photos can be found on the Jackson Davis Collection of African American
Educators website

Virginia Michigan Morgan B. 12/20/1882 D. 7/ 2/1920 +James Solomon Russell
B.12/ 20/1857

James Solomon Russell
Born on plantation (the Hendrick Estate) near Palmers Spring and the Roanoke
River Mecklenburg County, VA Educated at Hampton Institute, Hampton, VA went
to College of Liberia 1922
Ordained Deacon of the Episcopal Church March 9. 1882
First black Arch Deacon Oct 1893 p165 "One Hundred Distinguished Leaders"

Had 5 children:
Araminta Czarina born Dec 19,1883 married Turner
James Alvin B. 6/10/1885 in Lawrencville, VA Married 1916 Nellie Margueritte
Otelia Virginia B. 6/10/1887 Married Dr. R.A. Deane-the St Paul School Dr.
Herman Webster Born Aug. 2, 1889 served in WWI (807 Pioneer Infantry Co. A)
Charlote Baylies Born March 4 or 14, 1895 Married M. B. Birchette

James Alvin Russell and Nellie Margueritte Pratt Married 1916

Had 5 children:
James A. (Russell)
Henry P. (Russell)
Virginia M. (Russell)
Donald C. (Russell)
Ulyesses W. (Russell)
Deborah Swift commented on Dec 01, 2002
I was born in 1924, by a wonderful couple who loved me very much. I did not know that I was adopted until an Aunt who had a little too much to drink at a wedding reception got angry about something and yelled at me, You just stay out of it, You're adopted anyway. Wham!! For years I asked questions, searched, but nothing other than some names and a statement, Leave skeletons in the closet where they belong. I was told that by my adoptive Grandmother. I was told I was born in California, but birth certificate had been altered, so that was a dead end. I am gone now, but my daughter is continuing the search, may God her, for she too feels that lost feeling, and does so want this answered. The family which I came into was Russell and Swift. My adoptive mother was a Russell. If anyone knows anything, please e-mail my daughter. May we all find who and what we are searching for. My daughter has info which is not in this story so as to keep those who scam away, so, any serious replies, we thank YOU!The Russell family seemed to know the answers, but my adoptive name is Swift!
Kym Ney commented on Dec 01, 2002
Dated Thursday, June 13, 1901
Pages 219 - 220

In the morning about 4 o'clock, the Lord opened my eyes of my understanding and saw plainly my sins and iniquities, and I did seek him from the bottom of my heart for forgiveness of my sins in prayer and supplication before him. And then I realized the importance of the saying in the Book of Mormon, " The Lord gives unto men weakness, that they may be humble," and the Lord did except my humble acknowledgment and did forgive me of all my sins, according to his promise, and the spirit of the Lord did rest upon me in great abundance, so much that I did thank and praise his Holy name for his loving kindness and his tender mercies towards me, a time that I never shall forget and the Lord has said how great is his joy in the soul that repenth; Doctrine & Covenants; Sec 18 verse 13.
Kym Ney commented on Dec 01, 2002
Grandma Leora told me this little story about her Grandpa Allen Russell when I was visiting her for her birthday in March 1998.

She said that she was always together with her cousins, Edith, Maline, and Fawn. Whenever Grandpa would see them coming, he would always say, " Here comes my four little flowers.
Grandma Leora said he would always prophesy of things in the future and start to cry. Grandpa always warned them and said, " Lookout for the seventies and then on. Because that is when all the terrible things would begin to happen in the world." There will be wars and many terrible things. He always said " terrible". He had them all so scared, they thought the world was coming to an end. Grandpa would have a lot of visions. He would sit to the table and start to shake when he was having one. Grandma would say, " Now Pa, Don't have one of your visions now. Wait until after we eat!" The kids would be scared have to death. Grandma would tell them not to pay any attention to him.

I asked my Grandma Leora at age 85 to tell me her memories of her Great Grandfather Allen Russell. She said she did not have a lot of memories of him as she was only 6 years old when he died of old age. The one that stuck out the most to her besides his many visions, was of his special outhouse.
Because of his advanced age and health it was very difficult for him to walk the distance from the house to the outhouse. So his family built him a boardwalk to walk out to it which fascinated Grandma. She said his outhouse was the nicest around. He had a nice handle on the door instead of the regular strap most people had. He had it all decorated nice inside with pictures. He also had a toilet lid which no one else did along with real toilet paper. Everyone else had to use catalogs. Grandma said that toilet paper was two rolls for a nickel. They were always told to use the catalogs instead of the expensive toilet paper.
Grandma told me she has many good memories of the hours she sat in the two seatter outhouses with her best friend and first cousin Edith Warner. They would spend hours sitting together talking, looking thru the catalogs and dreaming of what they would buy. They regularly cleaned and scoured the outhouses and kept ashes by the holes to cover the smells.
Kym Ney commented on Dec 01, 2002
Subject: [UTMILLAR] Allen Russell

Posted on: Millard Co. Ut Biographies
Reply by clicking on "homepage"

Surname: Russell, Gardner

Black, Susan W. E. Early LDS Membership Data (Infobases, 1995):

Comments: In 1860, Allen had a household of 7, real wealth of $400 and
personal wealth of $700.

In 1870, Allen had a household of 5, real wealth of $800 and personal wealth
of $450.

Allen was a Patriarch in the South Sanpete Stake, Sanpete County, Utah.
He came to Utah with his father in 1852. At Fillmore he acted as a member
of the city council, acted as city marshal and road supervisor many years,
and from 1869 to 1901 labored as a home missionary in the Millard Stake.
In 1906 he moved from Fillmore to Manti, where he worked in the Temple
for a number of years in the interest of his dead relatives and friends.

Allen came to Utah on September 24, 1852 with the Benjamin Gardner Company.
He was a city marshal, a member of the city council for two years, a road
supervisor for 12 years. Allen also served as a member of the High Council
of the Millard Stake from 1869 to 1901.

Vocation: Farmer; 1860, 1870
Barbara Millner commented on Dec 01, 2002
Captain William J. Robins commanded a merchant ship that went between Liverpool,England and Boston,Mass. On a return trip to Boston, he met a lovely young lady of 16 years named Marie DeMahurin. She was a daughter of a French Hughenot widow who supposedly came to America with two daughters to escape persecution. William and Marie wanted to marry, but instead of blessings, her mother disowned her. They were wed anyway and set up a household there in Boston. Marie became pregnant and gave birth to a boy on Sept. 3, 1857. A proud moment for both parents. They named him Charles William Robins. Life was a struggle, but they were happy together. Several years later, Marie was pregnant again. The Captain had to go on a trip, but vowed to return in several months. But he never returned -he went down with his ship in a terrible storm. Marie was alone with a young Charles and pregnant. She sought help from her mother and sister - but was again turned away. The second birth was hard but another son was born. Marie did not recover, dying so young. Fortunately the Captain had left some insurance to care for his family. The court gave custody of young Charles to a pastor/
businessman and his wife, Alonzo and L. A. Russell, of Lowell, Mass. The baby boy was adopted by a young couple -their name was never known by our family. Charles grew to love his foster parents and his new siblings, especially brother, Eugene Russell. In his youth he did visit his grandmother and aunt, but was also turned away. Charles had a longing to see the world and became a newspaper journalist, going from city to city wherever there was work for him. He was visiting friends in Virginia and met a lovely young lady named Elizabeth Roberts from Georgia. They married in 1891. A year later Elizabeth gave birth to twins - Evelyn (Evie)and Charles, Jr. Again love was parted by death as Elizabeth also died after the births. Charles knew he couldn't take care of the twins on his own so he asked his friends, the Harris family in Norfolk, VA to take them as their own. Charles left, traveling again for the newspapers. He was in Virginia again several years later and met a lovely redheaded nursing student, Mary Howard Spiers of Carson, VA. They eloped to North Carolina and wed in August 1895. Life was good again and they settled in Virginia. Little Marie was born in March 1896, then Charlie in 1897, but died as a toddler. More children were born but passed away young. My grandmother Florence was born in August 1900 and the youngest, Howard, was born in 1902. Charles was restless and out of work. He was promised a job in Washington, DC and left the family to pursue it. Mary did not hear from him for several months; money was scarce. Bills were mounting. When they were to be evicted, Mary sent a telegram to her parents requesting they send help - they thought Charles had died, prepared a burial place for him, and sent Mary's uncle to get her, the children, and the body. When the parents learned that Charles had left on his own, they believed he deserted his family. Mary was to be under their rule for years later as they helped her find work and raise her three surviving children. Charles had actually fallen into ill health. When he recovered months later, he found that Mary and the children were gone - at least the landlady knew they were back with her parents. He contacted the parents by letter and was told not to contact Mary anymore. Future letters to Mary were apprehended and never delivered to her. He was shut out of their lives. Mary Russell was persuaded to divorce her husband after three years. In 1913 his oldest daughter, Evelyn and her husband, Philip Seymour, put an ad in a detective magazine and found him living in Iowa. They lived with him for awhile and then all moved back to Virginia where Charles started working at a newspaper in Norfolk, VA and Philip on the railroad. Three grandchildren were there too - Garnett, Phyllis, and little Charles. Later the Charles, Jr. (also called Will) came to live with them. In 1925, his health failing, older Charles requested that Evelyn try to locate his second wife Mary and his other children. She succeeded; Mary Russell and her son Howard made a trip from Richmond, VA to Norfolk, VA to see the man who left them so many years before. My grandmother Florence was married and pregnant at the time and couldn't make the trip. Charles had a wonderful reunion with them. They vowed not to stay strangers. Florence would later visit her father there and become fast friends with Evelyn and Philip. Charles William Robins Russell died in Nov. 1936. His obit in the Portsmouth, VA Times reads as follows:
"The passing of C. W. R. Russell, Sr. removes the real dean of the newspaper profession in Portsmouth. It was back in the eighties of the last century that Mr. Russell first came to Portsmouth, a fluent writer, with modern ideas of journalism. His first news connection was with the Portsmouth Enterprise then operated and controlled by the late John W. H. Porter and Junius Wilcox. Mr. Russell became a reporter on the Portsmouth Times just about the time that journal was edited by the late Mrs. Fanny Murdaugh Downing, and probably brought about the city's biggest sensation ever in journalism when he dressed himself up as a tramp and visiting all the churches in the city, wrote up the various receptions he received when he attempted to enter for worship.
The result brought both commendation and censure from the citizenship of the city but it all established Mr. Russell as an interesting and enterprising news writer. He remained in the city under the displeasure of some who disapproved his writings but this he overcame by his friendships made and interest in public matters taken. Later he left Portsmouth and lived for many years in the West. Some twenty years ago he returned here and for some time served as a news writer and then as proofreader on the Portsmouth Star.
Mr. Russell's infirmities had kept him confined to his home for almost a decade but he nevertheless continued his interest in local affairs and up to his final illness always sought the news of the city by having others read to him when his eyesight failed him.
Mr. Russell was a man of most kindly disposition, and though unable to get out to do any visiting around, there were those of his friends who never failed to visit him regularly, receiving from him in good cheer oft' times more than they carried to him."
Lori Russell commented on Mar 26
Ok Russell line. I'm hearing of a Timmy Ian Russell. He has a sister Rebecca Russell. His mom would be Shirley Russell. Shirley Russell was with a Richard Russell. ( My dad) . Has anyone heard of these people before ? Richard Russell was by Illinois before. I know he married a few times. I see a Dorothea with him. Went by DOT. There was a few more Richard William Russell married. Lillian Russell his last wife. My Richard William was from Hart Michigan. Or called Oceana county.
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