Odum History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Odum surname lived in Oldham, in Lancashire. This was a town near the city of Manchester; it has since been absorbed by that city. The place-name Oldham is derived from the Old English elements old, which means old, and ham, which means farm. The place-name therefore translates as "the old farm." Alternatively, Oldham could have meant "dweller by the long-cultivate river flat." [1]

Early Origins of the Odum family

The surname Odum was first found in Lancashire at Oldham, an enfranchised borough, a parochial chapelry, and the head of a union, in the parish of Prestwich, hundred of Salford. Now part of Greater Manchester, the first record of the placename was found in 1226-1228 when it was listed as Aldholm. [2] "Oldham was for a long period celebrated for the manufacture of hats, which was established so early as the fifteenth century." [3]

Another possible origin of the name was found. "This place [(Werneth, Lancashire) which adjoins to the town of Oldham], anciently Fernet, was held in the reign of Henry III. by Alwardus de Aldholme, founder of the family of Oldham. His daughter and co-heiress conveyed the manor to the Cudworths, a branch of a Yorkshire family; and from them the estate passed by sale to Sir Ralph Assheton, of Middleton." [3]

We can only assume that both sources are referring to that same family at different times. Early rolls list the first record of the name not in Lancashire but as Achard de Aldeham in the Feet of Fines for Kent. Richard de Oldham was listed in Lancashire in 1384. [1] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Agnes de Oldom and Robertus de Oldom. [4]

Further to the north, Hoddam is parish in the county of Dumfries, Scotland. "This parish comprehends the ancient parishes of Hoddam, Luce, and Ecclesfechan, which were united in 1609. Hoddam, in ancient charters, is spelt Hodholm and Hodolm, signifying 'the head of the holm,' and is supposed to have derived that appellation from its situation on the bank of the river Annan, where the ground is flat and rich, and what is usually called holm land." [5]

Early History of the Odum family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Odum research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1486, 1480, 1505, 1486, 1480, 1452, 1519, 1653 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Odum History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Odum Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Odum are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Odum include: Oldham, Oldum, Oldan, Oldhams and others.

Early Notables of the Odum family (pre 1700)

Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Odum Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Odum migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Odum or a variant listed above:

Odum Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lonkas Odum, aged 34, originally from Greece, arrived in New York in 1916 aboard the ship "Regina d'Italia" from Napoli, Italy [6]
  • Clirr E. Odum, destined for North Carolina, arrived in New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Fernandina" from Cardiff, Wales [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Odum (post 1700) +

  • Fireman First Class Joseph R. Odum (1913-1942), United States Navy sailor, posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in combat during World War II, eponym of the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Odum (DE-670) and the USS Odum (APD-71)
  • Howard Washington Odum (b. 1884), American sociologist, best known for his book Religious Folk-Songs of the Southern Negroes
  • Howard Thomas Odum (1924-2002), American ecologist, father of Eugene Pleasants Odum, co-author of the Fundamentals of Ecology
  • Eugene Pleasants Odum (1913-2002), American biologist at the University of Georgia known for his pioneering work on ecosystem ecology., co-author of the textbook Fundamentals of Ecology, eponym of the Odum School of Ecology
  • Ethma Elaine Ewing Odum (1931-2009), American television host of her eponymous The Ethma Odum Show which ran for over twenty years from the 1960s into the late 1970s
  • Bernard Odum (1932-2004), American bass guitar player, best known for his work in James Brown's band in the 1960s
  • Harry C. Odum, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 22nd District, 1942 [8]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JJHS-1XQ : 6 December 2014), Lonkas Odum, 06 Oct 1916; citing departure port Napoli, arrival port New York, ship name Regina d'Italia, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  7. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6FT-QPY : 6 December 2014), Clirr E. Odum, 05 Jan 1920; citing departure port Cardiff, Wales, arrival port New York, ship name Fernandina, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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