This surname of RUSSO was a nickname from the Old French 'the rous', one with red hair. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name has many variant spellings which include RUSS, ROUSE, ROWSE, ROUSET, ROUSIC, ROUSSY, ROUS and RUSE. Early records of the name mention Alexander le ROUS of the County Cambridgeshire was recorded in 1273 and Robert le ROUS of the County of Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Nicholas ROUSE married Jone Woodmus at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1668 and Samuel RUSS and Mary Jones were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1767. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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