Russell Family History

Table of Contents


Bill Diederich worked on and off for more than 35 years on this history of the Russell family. Over the years, he gathered information from uncles, aunt and cousins. His mother, Alice Florence Yost Diederich was very proud of her Russell heritage and wrote many letters to her cousins on his behalf.

Bill Diederich researched the probate, vital records and land deeds at courthouses in Dallas and Guthrie Counties, Iowa.  he examined parish registers,  transcribed gravestone inscriptions, searched census records, newspaper files, microfilm and other sources at historical societies. He spent many days at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This family history is the result of all that effort.


In addition to all those who took the time to fill out questionnaires and answer letters, these are to be especially commended because of their assistance:

Mrs. Alice Yost Diederich of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Mrs. Mary Jane Schaff of Des Moines, Iowa

Origin of the Name:

There are many families named Russell and they are not necessarily related. The original Russells were not of Irish stock. The surname "Russell" began to appear in Irish records after the Anglo-Norman invasion (which began in 1169) and is now numerous in Ulster and Leinster. It is derived from an old French word denoting a red-haired person and is also an anglicized form of the French Protestant surname, Rossel.

See Edward MacLysaght, "The Surnames of Ireland." Dublin: Irish University Press, 1973, p 263.


Map of Ireland

IrelandMap300.JPG (23985 bytes)

Irish ancestors:

Alexander Russell and Esther Hutchinson of County Donegal, Ireland

Russell immigrants:

Isaac Russell

George Russell

Thomas J. Russell = Ellen McCormick

Abraham Russell   = 1) Anna Fines
                            = 2) Mary Alice (Kenefick) Keenan

Russell photo album:

Desendants of Alexander Russell of County Donegal, Ireland



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