Share This:

Russell family

We have been researching the Russell family who originate from Lettermacaward (Leitir Mhic an Bhaird) in Donegal.

William Russell is my 2x great grandfather who migrated to New South Wales, Australia. According to his death certificate, he died on 29 December 1912, aged 92 years. Therefore, he was born in 1820. His parents were listed as William Russell and Hannah Scott.

His first wife was Catherine E Carson by whom he had 2 sons (deceased at the time of his death). He married her in Ireland when he was 30 (around 1850). Some family information suggests he married her in Newry.

He lived in NSW for 60 years, thus migrating around 1852.

He married again in NSW when he was 45 (in 1865). His second wife was Elizabeth Leighton and they had 9 children.

We’d like to find out any information about the family in Donegal.



Thursday 18th July 2013, 07:10AM

Message Board Replies

  • William Russell?s marriage to Catherine Elizabeth Carson was registered in Dublin South 1853 Volume 5, page 733. You can order a photocopy of that certificate from GRO Roscommon for 4 euros. Put the year, place, volume & page number clearly on the form (anywhere).

    Griffiths Valuation for 1857 lists just one Russell household in the parish of Lettermacaward. That was on Ranny townland. It was plot 22 which was a farmhouse, outbuildings and 20 acres held by Margaret Russell. (When a woman is the tenant it is often that she was a widow).

    That farm today is near Ranny Lough, just to the east of the N56, north of Lettermacaward village.

    The tithe applotment record for 1833 list just one Russell farm there then (of just over 21 acres), held by the Widow Russele, so perhaps the same lady who was there in 1857.

    In the 1901 census there were two Russell households, beside each other:


    By 1911 there were 4:

    Though most were RC, the last was Church of Ireland.

    The RC records for Lettermacaward (RC parish of Dungloe) only start in 1876, so not a lot of help for you there I am afraid. The Church of Ireland baptisms start in 1889, marriages in 1845.


    Thursday 18th July 2013, 10:43AM
  • Thanks very much for that - very helpful and plenty to go on with.

    Cheers, Michael.

    Thursday 18th July 2013, 11:59AM
  • Hi Michael,

    My ancestor Mary Russell (born circa 1820) who married Patrick O'Donnell  was the daughter of William Russell from Lettermacward.   I believe that that they were from Ranny, and suspect that she was the sister of your William.

    Please reach out to me here or on


    Jonathan O'Donnell

    New York, NY


    Tuesday 13th September 2016, 04:26PM
  • Hello Jonathan,

    Thanks for contacting me. I'd be interested in what else you know about William Russell (father of Mary and William). It appears that he has descendants in Australia and the USA.

    Best wishes,




    Saturday 17th September 2016, 03:04AM
  • Hi Michael,

    My Mary Russell born circa 1820 married Patrick O'Donnell circa 1840 and lived in the towland of Meenagowan, Lettermacaward, Donegal.   Through the names of her children, I am pretty certain her father's name was William and that her mother's name was Hannah.  Hence, I think there is a strong liklihood that your William and my Mary were siblings.

    I don't have any information on William Russell (father of Mary and William) but I had suspected that he was from Lettermacward because that is where Mary married and lived.  The only Russell family in Lettermacawrad at that time appears to be from Ranny which neighbors Meenagowan.  So that places everyone in the right place and time. 

    There are Russell family in Ranny in the 1901 and 1911 Census but the name "William" does not need seem to be prevalent within these Russell families.

    Have you done on DNA testing?  I am ancestry, 23and me, and familytreedna.  They may help us sort this out.





    Tuesday 20th September 2016, 07:43PM