NW Kent FHS magazine (vol. 6 no. 7, October 1993) pp. 227, 228
An Odd Story, by Ruth Cheeseman
My maternal grandmother's maiden name was Sarah Odd. she was the third child of Thomas and Caroline Odd of Crockenhill in Kent, where Thomas and his father, James were fruit growers, renting a farm on the Hart Dyke estate. The family were Baptists, and their marriages and births of their children are very well recorded in the records of Eynsford Baptist Chapel.
The 1851 census gives the birth-place of James as Westerham, about fifteen miles away, and this fitted in with an inscription in a New Testament given to me by a cousin of my mother. It was presented to Margaret Odd of Westerham Sunday 1812. Westerham parish records were quite informative, giving the christenings of John 1788, William 1791, James 1794, Thomas 1796, Margaret 18090, George 1802, another John 1804 and Sarah 1809, all the children of William Odd, who married Sarah Baker at Westerham in 1799. The appearance of a second John was bit mystifying, as there was no record of the first one's death, in fact he married in 1820, when the second John would have been only sixteen.
At this point I stuck for some time. The International Genealogical Index was not much help, as the only earlier record of an Odd was a marriage of John Odd to Sarah Davis at Shoreham, in Kent in 1753, but they did not seem to have had any children there. at this frustrating stage Helen Norris, who was then the Society's secretary, rang up and asked if I would like to be put in touch with a new member, who was researching the name of Odd! Of course I would, and Francis Morgan had a very interesting tale to tell. His mother's maiden name was Odd, and he had traced her family back to Westerham. She was descended from John, the eldest son of William. Francis had then had the good sense to search the surrounding parishes, and found an entry in Limpsfield parish records, just over the border in Surrey. It recorded the christening in 1728 of a baby found by the haystack at the White Hart, by Mr. Robert Nightingale! The baby was christened John Oddboy.
Following this forward, he found that John married Sarah Davis at Shoreham [Deanery] in 1753 -- the marriage is given in both names in the IGI. Returning to Limpsfield they had eight children, all christened there -- Sarah 1753, Margaret 1755, James 1757, Elizabeth 1759, John 1761, William 1763, Thomas 1765, and George 1788. Most of the family seem to have dropped the "boy" from their name fairly soon, but John and his family, who moved to Chelsfield were sometimes know by the one name and sometimes by the other -- a fact which Linda Meaden had already pointed out to me, but I did not realize that they were in the process of changing their name. The latest mention of an Oddboy which I have found is a burial in 1904 which is recorded in the Everest Funeral Book, (a firm of funeral directors) transcribed by Sue Pittman.
Soon after 1961 I joined the Foots Cray Baptist Church, Sidcup -- one of the older churches with its own graveyard, and I noticed a stone to John Odd of Old Bexley who died on September 18, 1894 "Saved by grace." My mother remembered him -- he was her grandfather's brother, a basket-maker. Last year, a church friend of mine, Joan Bridges, told me that her son, Malcolm, had started researching their family tree, and had found that his great-grandmother's maiden name was Martha Odd. Martha proved to be the daughter of John Odd of Old Bexley. She married William Watson, and their daughter Annie, was Joan's mother-in-law. it came as a very pleasant surprise to find that I was related to a family I had known for over thirty years!
There had always been a rumour that one of the Odd family had made cricket bats at Croydon, but nobody seemed to have any details. It was when I borrowed one of the East Surrey FHS journals to have any details. It was when I borrowed one of the East Surrey FHS journals that I noticed Ralph German's interest in the name and got in touch with him. George Odd, the fifth son of William had married Mary Ann German. Ralph was kind enough to send me a mass of information about the Croydon branch of the family, including Amos the maker of cricket bats, and very well-known in the cricket world. He was the first to strengthen the bat by putting extra wood at the back. Amos was my great-grandfather's cousin, and Sutton Library has a lot of information about him.
Another piece of the jig-saw fell into place when I saw Becky and Ed Lough's interest in "Family Tree Magazine." Becky is descended from Richard Odd, who at the time of the 1851 census gave his age as 45 and his place of birth as Westerham, but nowhere in the Westerham records is there a mention of a Richard. However there is John the second, christened in 1804, so that it looks as though someone may have slipped up when writing up the records.
So far all the records I have seen link the branches of this family together, and it becomes increasingly likely that there is only one family of that name. Whatever the origins of that little foundling, he handed down a capacity for hard work since two of his grandsons were farm bailiffs and a third rented a farm, and he now has descendants all of the world.
I am most grateful to all the people who have helped me in this research, and I am sure that there is still much to learn.
submitted by Dorothy Paul,
my grandmother was Margaret Edna Odd Berkley - daughter of William Francis Odd b. 26 Jan 1868, Croyden, Surrey, England -- died 12 Nov 1859, Tacoma, Price County, Washington, USA
and wife Avilda Lucinda Page Odd b.7 Mar 1870, Bountiful, Utah, USA -- died 9 June 1955, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA.