The surname of ODEN was an English name of two fold-origin. It was a nickname for someone who had done well for himself by marrying the daughter of a prominent figure in the local community. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form AOUM, and is also spelt ODHAM, ODAM and ODHAMS. It was also a locational name meaning 'one who came from ODIHAM' a parish in Hampshire, twenty six miles from Winchester. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Walter ODOM, who was recorded in 1313 in County Yorkshire, and Robert ODAM was documented in Yorkshire in the year 1327. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A later instance of the name includes Thomas Early and Agnes ODIUM, who were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1580. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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