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Origins of the Russell surname

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What does the name Russell mean?

Russell is a surname with a number of distinct assumed origins, the two most common believed to both be Anglo-Norman. The first source is thought to be geographical, and refer to people who come from the commune of Rosel in Normandy. The second, includes people who are given the nickname 'rusel' (red-haired), given to those with this particular physical feature or their descendants.

Alternative variations of the name Russell

Russell, Russel, Rusell, Russill, Rossell

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Russells live?

In 1921, most Russells lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Russells

How common is your surname?

84th most common surname in the UK

We have 347,000 records for the Russell surname. The oldest one dates back to 1220.

Who were Russells most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Russells.

What are the most common Russell first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Russell family members

Common jobs for Russells

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Russells in 1921




Domestic Servant


Living On Own Means


General Servant Domestic


Common Male occupations for Russells in 1921
Coal Miner


Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer






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