As a gift for my mom's first post-retirement birthday, my brother and I chipped in on a membership to Ancestry.com. She's been blabbing on and on about wanting to do genealogy, but I think she needed a kick in the butt to start acting on it. And that's what I, as the proverbial redheaded (non step-)child did for her (and talked my brother into doing too). Kicked her in the proverbial butt, we did.
Of course, now that she has a membership, she's been learning all kinds of interesting things and poking around the site for at least an hour a day. Sometimes, she delves into it so much that she loses track of time. (Plus points to my brother and I for being stellar gift-giver children.)
One of the most interesting things she learned is that the surname "Russell", who some generation of my great-grandparents were named, means "red". Whether red skin or red hair, my red hair partially comes from that said of the family. Meaning, some of the Russells were redheads. Aptly named, I guess.
What's more interesting is that the Russells came from England, not Ireland/Scotland. However, a likelihood exists that they may be Scottish. Or maybe came from Ireland way, way back when. (But the this could dissuade the whole "red hair came from the Vikings theory" that I've often ascribed to.) I wonder if ginger was an anagram for another bad word all the way back then.
Point of the matter is: Russell means red. So if you really want to trick a redhead -- and we all know that that's not an easy thing to do -- nickname him/her "Russell". Then see how long it takes before your throat is slit in your sleep.
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