Saturday, 25 June 2011

Surname Saturday: To(t)al Confusion!

The Elusive Toals - definitely found in significant numbers in Northern Ireland, possibly having emigrated from Scotland.  Quite a few in Liverpool, a small number in London and now found in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

My Toals (James Toal Snr b. 1855ish in Ireland, probably County Down; his wife Mary Ellen Fitzgerald b. 1871 in Liverpool; my grandfather James F Toal, his brother Bernard and sister Elsie) were last spotted in a surprise emigration to the USA in 1894.  This week I have found some more leads.

Firstly, little Elsie Toal, who we didn't even know about.  I have found a death record in the City of Philadelphia for an Elsie Toal, daughter of James Toal and Ellen Toal.  This Elsie's place of birth is given as England; she died on 2 June 1895 of pneumonia.  The only problem is her age - it is given as 3 years; "my" Elsie would have been 15 months old.  

Secondly, a 1900 Census return from Philadelphia.  At the home of Francis Toole is James Toole, his brother.  This James is a widowed Captain of a merchant vessel (my ggrandfather was a master mariner) born in 1855 in Ireland; his date of immigration is 1894.  So, all would seem to fit, apart from the name - but I think it is possible that the enumerator, Mr Schmidt, could have mistaken "Toal" said with an N. Irish burr for "Tool/e".  (I have been practising myself and am quite convinced on this one!)

Finally, a death record for Ella Tool, born in England 1870 and dying in Camden, New Jersey in 1899.  Could this be Ellen Toal.  I am not so convinced by this one.  In addition, I have an infant female Toal, born to James Toal and Ella F Toal, born in Camden, dying at birth in March 1900. Could this be the family?  Only point against this one is that the record says that James Toal born England, Ella F in Ireland, which is the wrong way around.  Also, can't find a record for Ellen dying after this.  And still no record for James Toal Snr dying.

So, still confusion surrounding the Toals - let me know if you can help clear the fog!


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