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Russell (Russel) Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: CHE SARA SARA (what will be, will be)

Allow me to recount the fascinating history of your family, the Russells, a tale imbued with meanings of ‘rous,’ the vibrant hue of red. This name resonates with the Normans and the French, akin to the personal name Rufus. In historical records, Walter Russel is witnessed in a charter benefiting the Abbey of Paisley between 1164 and 1177, underscoring the lineage’s presence through the ages. John, hailing from the lineage of Robert Russel of Duncanlaw, earns mention in a charter circa 1180. The legacy continues with Robert Russel appearing on the Ragman Roll, pledging allegiance to Edward I of England in 1296.

A captivating chapter emerges when Rozel, an English baron, ventures to Scotland, fighting valiantly in the siege of Berwick and the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. This intrepid soul, Rozel, ultimately settles in Scotland, claiming the estate of Aden and bestowing the title ‘Russel of that Ilk’ upon his family. Fast forward to 1680, and Patrick Russel, united in matrimony to a sister of Archbishop Sharp of St. Andrews, seizes the lands of Moncoffer in Banffshire.

In the heart of Selkirkshire, the Russels of Ashiesteel flourish as a distinguished local family, particularly renowned for their military valor. Colonel William Russel of Ashiesteel emerges as adjutant general of the Madras army, serving gallantly under General Lord Clive during the campaigns spanning 1756 to 1767. His legacy continues through his son, Major General Sir James Russel, who contributes his mettle in India and commands a cavalry brigade at the Battle of Mahedpoor in 1830. Alexander Russel, a mid-eighteenth-century luminary, garners acclaim as a doctor and naturalist, culminating in the publication of the Natural History of Aleppo in 1756.

The Russel saga transcends borders, with descendants of Rufus ascending to become the powerful Dukes of Bedford in England. Among their ranks emerges the thought-provoking Bertrand Russell, who rises to prominence as a pre-eminent philosopher in the twentieth century. In Scotland, the Russell name continues to enrich the nation and advance human understanding. John Scott Russell, a distinguished engineer born in 1808 and a graduate of the University of Glasgow, conducts groundbreaking experiments in steam power for road transport and is credited with discovering the phenomenon known as ‘Russell’s Solitary Wave.’ His contributions extend to supervising the construction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s monumental steamship, the Great Eastern.

From the annals of Edinburgh emerges Professor Gerald Francis Morris Russell, a visionary psychiatrist who, in 1978, unveils the first description of bulimia nervosa. His legacy endures at Maudsley Hospital in London, where an eating disorder unit bears his name, a testament to his lasting impact.

As you embrace your heritage, take pride in the tapestry of your family’s journey, woven with brilliance, courage, and transformative contributions to both the past and present. Your lineage, the Russells, encapsulates a legacy that continues to shine brightly.

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Family Crest Motto: CHE SARA SARA (what will be, will be)

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