I could have posted this one under Madness Monday, because this GGrandfather drives me mad, but seeing as I posted GGrandfather No 2 under "Madness", I thought this one could (and indeed more properly should) be "Maritime".
James Toal is my maternal grandfather's father. His father was Bernard Toal. He was born in Ireland around 1857. He married Mary Ellen Fitzgerald in Liverpool on 8 August 1887. He was a master mariner. There! That's it! All I know, after countless years of research!
Here are some "maybes": He may have been born in County Down - a 14 year old James Toal was on board a vessel recorded for the 1871 Census in Wales and that was his place of birth. After that, James disappears - not a solitary appearance in a Census. In 1891 his wife is recorded at her parent's home with my grandfather, but no James, so presumably at sea. In 1901 both my grandfather and his brother are with their maternal grandparents, sans either parent. Again in 1911 my grandfather is with his maternal grandmother, whilst his brother has joined the army. My grandfather evidently felt close to his grandparents - he added "Fitzgerald" to his name.
I haven't been able to trace an entry for either James or Mary Ellen in the death index or with the Catholic burial register in Liverpool. Perhaps they retired to Ireland, perhaps they died at sea or abroad - perhaps he is still out there, an ancient mariner, eternally sailing the seas!