Using the Russell Index for County Courthouse Records

Knowing how to use the Russell Index system is essential for county records research, whether you research at the county courthouse or in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Using the Russell Index for County Courthouse Records

One frustration for genealogists using probate records that are not yet indexed for computer-based searching is the Russell Index.

The Russell Index is named for its inventor, Robert C. Russell, born 1861 Danville, PA and died 1938 Pittsburgh, PA. The system relied on the letters L, M. N, R, and T for organizing files and was considered an efficient indexing system in its day. Probate and deed records are often Russell indexed with a master index for hundreds of volumes of ledger books and individual files.

You will encounter the Russell Index if you research in person in courthouses or if you are using un-indexed images in the FamilySearch Catalog.

I'll cover how to use the index in general, then three step-by-step examples with different names.