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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish O'Dell family come from? What is the Irish O'Dell family crest and coat of arms? When did the O'Dell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the O'Dell family history?

The O'Dell surname, has been found in Ireland since the 17th century. Before that, it was of English origins. Interestingly, in Ireland, the name has been altered to appear as if it had Irish Gaelic origins. It is also thought that some Irish Gaelic families adopted the O'Dell name during the seventeenth century. Extensive research into some of the most ancient documents has revealed the O'Dell surname to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, taken on as a surname from a place named Odell in Bedfordshire. The place name is in turn derived from the Old English words "wad," and "hyll," meaning "woad" (a plant collected for the blue dye produced by its leaves), and "hill."


Spelling variations of this family name include: Odell, O'Dell and others.

First found in Bedfordshire, where their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Dell research. Another 308 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Dell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early O'Dell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the O'Dell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 104 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Dell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Odell, who came to New England in 1630
  • William Odell, who arrived in New England in 1639
  • Henry Odell, who arrived in Virginia in 1654

O'Dell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Tho Odell, who landed in Virginia in 1706

O'Dell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Odell and her husband, who settled in Boston in 1820

O'Dell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Dora C. O'Dell, aged 50, who emigrated to the United States from Queenstown, in 1905
  • F. Edith O'Dell, aged 23, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1907
  • Agnes O'Dell, aged 25, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Frank O'Dell, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1923

O'Dell Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Eric O'Dell, aged 7, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1915

O'Dell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • G. O'Dell arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British King" in 1883


  • John O'Dell (1898-1989), award-winning American children's author
  • Matthew Odell (b. 1979), American pianist
  • Benjamin Barker Odell (1854-1926), American political figure
  • George Clinton Densmore Odell (1866-1949), American historian
  • Nancy Humphries O'Dell (b. 1966), American television host and entertainment journalist
  • Jennifer O'Dell (b. 1974), American film and television actress
  • Scott O'Dell (1898-1989), American multiple Newbery Medal winning author of 26 novels for young people
  • Kenny O'Dell (b. 1946), born Kenneth Gist Jr, an American country music singer and songwriter
  • Jack O'Dell (b. 1924), African-American member of the U.S. Civil Rights movement who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
  • Walden "Wally" O'Dell, American former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Diebold



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  1. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  2. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  3. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  5. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The O'Dell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Dell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 November 2014 at 18:16.

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