About Ashley Odell (quiet, but here!)
Although I am still checking threads and messages and following "my" profiles, I am currently less active on Geni than in the past. I will absolutely reply to your messages and requests, but please expect and excuse the delay. If you need help with a specific line, you will probably get a speedier response from someone (including possibly me) if you post a discussion thread. I am unfortunately unable to assist with tree-building for the time being. Thank you for your understanding.
I am a historian and a curator for Geni. I work on special projects focused on geographic and topical themes. I also coordinate the BillionGraves Team and co-admin the unofficial but hugely popular Geni Users Group page on Facebook.
If you follow the Geni Blog, you've likely seen some of my work. If I built a profile for you or a close relative and you have no clue who I am, odds are you have a notable relative -- ask me about it! If you have questions about the genealogy of a specific person or the information on their profile, please consider using the "Discussions" tab on their profile instead of sending me a private message so that we can work out the answer more quickly and collaboratively as a group.
When I'm not working on special projects for Geni, I like to work on my own direct ancestors, who include:
- Oldest-of-the-old-stock New England Yankees
- Confederate Southerners who fought the above
- Pirates, refugees, and slaves of the Bahamas
- A Danish-German shyster who murdered his professor
- New England's first "wonder-working" historian
- America's first public school teacher
- One of the original Mormon pioneers
- A bunch of cranky old coots, including this guy
Although I am predominantly European-American, my recent ancestry includes significant percentages of Yoruba, Mandinka, and Bantu on my maternal side, and undetermined Native American on my paternal. (My paternal grandfather was adopted.) Deeper DNA analysis narrows the Native American roots to Abenaki, Métis, and/or Mohawk.
In an exciting development, I learned in early 2015 that my father's surname was likely supposed to be Williams and that we trace back to Colonial South Carolina. Y-DNA testing is pretty great stuff!
Geographically, I am most active in the Bahamian and New England branches of the World Family Tree. Projects that catch my interest are often about fraternal organizations, comedy and popular culture, higher education and alumnae/i affiliations, founders and groundbreakers, creative people, and women and minority groups. Things like royalty, the Mayflower, and celebrity connections aren't of much interest to me. I do work on a lot of celebrity trees, but only to help with the Geni blog and attracting more people to genealogy. In my perfect world, I could work solely on the farmers of Vermont and fishers of the West Indies. Alas.
In terms of Geni-specific conversation, I like discussing the best ways to help users become better genealogists, emphasizing quality above all, and understanding primary vs. secondary sources. I am on a mission to keep discourse cordial and productive, and I invite you to join me.