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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish


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."

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The surname Tooley was 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.

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.


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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.

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

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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

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  • Sandra "S.D." Tooley, American mystery and urban fantasy novelist who write under her name and the pseudonym of Lee Driver
  • Mark Tooley (b. 1965), American President of the Washington-D.C. based Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009
  • Albert R. "Bert" Tooley (1886-1976), former American professional baseball player who played shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1911-1912)
  • Orley Nobel Tooley (1904-1991), American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Jefferson County, 1932, 1934, 1937; Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 32nd District, 1936, 1938
  • L. H. Tooley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Montana, 1932
  • James Tooley, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Jefferson County 2nd District, 1909; Candidate for New York State Senate 37th District, 1926
  • Howard J. Tooley, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Columbus, Indiana, 1923-27
  • Dennis Tooley (b. 1945), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oregon, 2004, 2008
  • Dale Tooley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Colorado, 1980
  • Chuck F. Tooley, American politician, Mayor of Billings, Montana, 1996-2005

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  1. 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.
  2. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  3. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  6. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  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 4 December 2015 at 05:59.

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