Russell / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Russell
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives.
Surnames developed a wide number of variants over the centuries. Many different spelling variations of the same name can be traced back to a single original root. Also, when a bearer of a name emigrated from Ireland it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books upon arrival at their new location. Some names have dozens of spelling variations. Some Surnames were also altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically, by their sound, and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another. This was especially so in Ireland where most Gaelic names were 'anglicized' at some stage.
Variants of the name Russell
include Russel, Rowsell, Rousell and Russ. Russell is a name of nickname origin meaning 'red haired one', from a person with this colour of hair. This name is of Anglo-Norman descent spreading to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in these countries. Examples of such are a Miriel Russell of Huntingdonshire, a Simon Russel of Cambridge, and an Elyas Russell of London, who were all recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England, in the year 1273. A Walter Russell witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani to the Abbey of Paisley, Scotland, in the year 1164. A Stephen Russell was recorded as being the Bailiff of Weymouth in 1388.
Names were recorded in these ancient documents to make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired land by either force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for themselves and their vassals. It was by the method of creating and updating these old reference books that they were able to maintain their authority and enforce laws.
In Ireland the name has existed since the fourteenth century and in modern times is mostly found in Ulster Province having been introduced there from England and Scotland centuries ago.
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Russell