Monday, June 20, 2016

My Royal and Famous Relations

I have previously documented ( how my Russell ancestry can be traced back to the origin of the Russell name in Normandy, France, about 1000 years ago. I documented at that same time the connections from that first Russell to his Scandinavian ancestors. One of the more important in that lineage was Ragvnald I Earl of Orkey Eysteinsson (830-894). Besides being the founder of Normandy, he is the direct ancestor to most of the royal families in Europe.

Ragvnald is my 34th great-grandfather. Here is his biography ( And here is one account of the family line around that time (

But it is through one of his great-grandsons, Hugh Capet (938-996), that most of the European royalty are connected. Here is a webpage that lists some of the famous descendants of Hugh Capet ( Some of these include:

·         Most of the US presidents, from George Washington (my 26th cousin), to Thomas Jefferson (my 26th cousin), FDR (my 29th cousin), and many others
·         Charles Darwin (my 28th cousin)
·         Douglas MacArthur (my 29th cousin), George Patten (my 31st cousin)
·         Queen Elizabeth II (my 30th cousin)

While these cousin relations are a little far removed and so I would not feel comfortable calling them “cousin,” that does not change the fact that these relationships exist. But it’s fun to know just the same!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tribute to a Russell Cousin

This seems to be the year of losing a generation of Russell men. In March I wrote of the passing of Robert Russell ( He was the last remaining of the children of my great-grandfather Louis Russell’s half-brother James Walter Russell, thus being my first cousin, twice removed. His siblings, Donald and Shirley passed away in 2007 and 1994 respectively. Every one of the Russell cousins at that level of the family tree have now passed away. Only Donald’s wife, Helen, is still living – at the age of 92.

The next level in the family tree are the second cousins of my father (my second cousins, once removed). Since my father was the oldest son of the oldest son of the oldest son, all of his second cousins were younger than he was, in fact, many are around my age. I am friends on Facebook with many of those who are still living. Of 50 great-grandchildren of Walter Russell, here are the 24 who are still living:

·         From Louis Russell: Shirley Macnaught; Gertrude Anderson
·         From Martha [Russell] Bradley: Chester Bradley; Lois Scheuritzel, Barbara Speer, Linda Lee, Arthur Bennett, Richard Bennett
·         From Charlotte [Russell] Hoyt: George Hosford, Hazel Condon, Sharon Floryancic
·         From George Hall Russell: George Russell, Jim Russell
·         From James Walter Russell: Patricia Luopa, Donna Todd, Judy Case, Laura Donaldson, Sandra Kamen, Sean Mecsery, Stephen Mecsery, Robert Russell, Renee Crow, Michele Teplica, Kim Thompson

This blog is about one of my second cousins who just passed away at the age of 92 – Andrew [Andy] Lewis Russell, Jr., the oldest grandson of George Hall Russell. Here is his obituary:

Andrew Lewis Russell, Jr., 92, of Snow Hill, passed away on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at the Chesapeake Cottages in Snow Hill. Born in Washington DC, he was the son of the late Andrew Lewis Russell, Sr. and Gertrude Xmas Becker Russell.

Andrew was a US Army veteran and a member of the Masonic Lodge in Temperanceville, VA, St. Paul On The Shore Lutheran Church in Hallwood, VA, and the Elks Lodge. He and his wife previously lived in Modest Town, VA. He enjoyed fishing and was an avid Washington Redskins fan.

He is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Dorothy Elizabeth Moore Russell; a daughter, Denise Elizabeth Eberspeaker & husband, Phil of Salisbury; 2 sons, Andrew L. Russell, III of Ocean City, and Thomas A. Russell & wife, Ginger of Dunkirk, MD; 6 grandchildren, 7 great granddaughters and one great great grandson; and 2 brothers, Jim Russell & wife, Avis of TX and George Russell & wife, Sally of FL.

Since I only began doing my genealogical research about six years ago, I have not had the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with many of these distant cousins who I never knew while growing up. But I have come to regard them all as family and have enjoyed meeting some of them face-to-face and others via social media. So it is still sad when one of them passes on. Andy’s younger brother Jim posted the following yesterday:

A very bittersweet day today. The memorial service for my brother Andrew Russell Jr. who passed away at 92 on June 4. [My] sister in law and one of his granddaughters put together a table with his favorite treats. I guess we shared a love of chocolate chip cookies. Sad day, but a wonderful celebration of his life, love of family, and cheerful smile. He will be sadly missed but held forever in our hearts.

In Sunday school this morning we talked a little about the legacy that we leave. Since most of us will not leave a large monetary estate, the legacy will be mostly the memories that we leave for those who continue to live. Jim stated it well – “sadly missed, but held forever in our hearts.”