This unusual surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicization of the Gaelic "O'Tuathail", translating as "descendant of Tuathal", an Old Celtic personal name composed of the elements "tuath", people, tribe, and "hal", rule. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", meaning grandson or male descendant of, or "Mac", denoting "son of". The more familiar form of the surname is (O)Toole, as in the first recording below.The O'Tooles were famous for their unremitting resistance to English attempts to conquer Ireland from the late 12th Century, when the Anglo-Norman invasion took place, down through the centuries to the end of the 17th Century, when the country was finally subdued. Their territory was near Dublin, but it was suited to resistance because of its wooded and mountainous nature; they possessed an area co-extensive with the small diocese of Glendalough. Laurence O'Toole (see below) took up arms against the Anglo-Norman invaders in 1171. The surname can also be found recorded as O'Tuale, (O)Tou(g)hill, (O)Twohill, To(o)hill and Tohall, and the form Toal is more numerous in Northern Ireland. Recordings include: the christening of Robert, son of William and Elizabeth Toal, in June 1821, in Eglish, County Armagh, and the christening of Henry, son of Michael Toal and Catherine Casey, on November 20th 1865, at Blackwatertown, also in County Armagh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Laurence O'Toole, first Irish Archbishop of Dublin, which was dated 1132 - 1182, in the "Medieval Ecclesiastical Records of Dublin", during the reign of Turlough Mor O'Connor, High King of Ireland, 1119 - 1156. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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