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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Tooley family come from? What is the Irish Tooley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Tooley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tooley family history?

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Tooley appeared as O Tuathail, which is derived from "tuathal," which means "people mighty."


Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Tooley are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include Toole, Tool, O'Toole, O'Tool, Tooley, Toile and many more.

First found in County Kildare (Irish:Cill Dara), ancient homeland of the Kildare based Uí Dúnlainge (Kings of Leinster), located in the Province of Leinster, seated at O'Toole's Castle, where they were descended from Tuathal, King of Leinster who died in 950 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tooley research. Another 307 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1327, 1590, 1128, 1180, 1225, 1327, 1670 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Tooley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 131 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tooley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Tooley or a variant listed above:

Tooley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Tooley settled in New York in 1830
  • Bridget Tooley, aged 6, landed in New York, NY in 1850

Tooley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Benjamin Tooley, aged 39, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
  • Catherine Tooley, aged 42, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
  • William B. Tooley, aged 15, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888
  • Selina Tooley, aged 14, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888


  • Albert R. "Bert" Tooley (1886-1976), former American professional baseball player who played shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1911-1912)
  • Mark Tooley (b. 1965), American President of the Washington-D.C. based Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009
  • Sandra "S.D." Tooley, American mystery and urban fantasy novelist who write under her name and the pseudonym of Lee Driver
  • Richard Tooley (1820-1910), Ontario farmer and politician who represented Middlesex East in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1871 to 1883 and from 1886 to 1894
  • James Tooley (b. 1959), British professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Christopher Donald Michael "Chris" Tooley (b. 1964), former English cricketer
  • Ronald Vere Tooley (1898-1986), English map dealer in London, founder of the Map Collectors' Circle, Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  11. ...

The Tooley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tooley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 November 2013 at 12:50.

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