Odom / Odum DNA Project
As many of you may know there is a project underway started by Helen Odum Harrell
with the aim of conducting genealogical research using the latest scientific method. This
project is the Odom/Odum/Oldham DNA project. Since many NOA members have
expressed an interest in joining the project. I will try to provide some information in this
part one of two articles I plan to write on the subject.
Many members of the project have derived various degrees of results from the DNA
testing. Members have been connected with others they never knew were researching the
same lines. Just importantly they have found lines that they are not descended from. Just
about all have stated they had hit the proverbial brick wall in their research. Several have
furthered their ancestry by generations.
“Just over a year ago, I had heard of family DNA projects, but had no idea what was
involved. I simply knew that I wanted desperately to gain some info about my ancestor
that was not based on family lore and tradition — I had tried for years to prove the
tradition, but could not document what I had heard.” Helen Odum Harrell, based on her
extensive research that just about every member of the NOA has benefited from, found
she was ‘not even remotely related’ to certain lineages but instead was connected to
another. This narrowing down of her target area allows her to refocus her efforts in a new
better defined direction.
Jimmy Ray has proven through DNA testing his connection with two others and the three
now are hiring a researcher to assist in establishing the links through the traditional paper
I was fortunate enough to have a perfect match with someone I did not know who had a
documented lineage far beyond my great-grandfather where I had ran into the wall.
Further testing has indicated that we share a common ancestor before we connect with
And as one member stated, “The information I obtained through the DNA project verified
the information that I had gathered. Now, I can move forward with confidence that I
have been on "the right track" in my research”.
“My cousin's DNA was evidence my paper evidence was pointing to the right Odom
Others have become part of a group of independent lineages that we as of now have not
connected to the four distinct lines. As more people join the project, more connections
with be found and other distinct groups of ODOM/ODUM/OLDHAM will be delineated.
Currently, the Odom DNA project has 40/120 total participants. Testing results have been
produced for 85. The remains six should have their results posted shortly. These 34 have resulted in the defining of four distinct groups with 14 sub-groups.