Saturday, 2 July 2011

Surname Saturday: This week's To(t)al Despair

Last week I posted about the Toal's previously unknown emigration to the USA.  This week I have been delving further into their lives and rather wish I hadn't.

I had already found that my grandfather's young sister, Elsie, had died shortly after arriving in Philadelphia.  She is buried in the City's Holy Cross Cemetery.  I have now found that two other little Toals are there with her - twin brothers George F Toal and John F Toal.  Both babies died aged 9 weeks on 1st July 1896 (a year and a month after their sister).  The cause of death was given as Marasmus, which was unknown to me.  It is apparently a form of malnutrition, now most commonly seen in children in the developing world.  Whether the baby Toals had insufficient nutrition, or whether their failure to thrive was due to some underlying illness, we shall never know.

Another baby Toal (a nameless girl) died early in 1900 in Camden, New Jersey, the child of James Toal and Ella F Toal - this may or may not be my great-grandparents' child, although the names fit.  I still can't find a death record for poor Ellen Toal - she must have died around 1900 - worn out, I would imagine, by the deaths of her babies.

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