Saturday, January 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks -- George Toulson

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks ---

Hmmmm, who should I choose?  Seems appropriate to start with the ancestor that started me off on this 35+ year journey of genealogy, my Grandfather.

I never met my Toulson grandfather --- he died many years before I was born, but I was always curious as to our surname (which is rare in the USA) and why he emigrated from England.  I was sure there was some deep, dark secret.....

All I knew was the village he came from, Fulbeck, Lincolnshire and that he came to Iowa because he had an Uncle there, and eventually came to California. 

I started with the basics (good genealogy advice for anyone) and wrote to the Vicar in Fulbeck, asking for my Grandfather's baptism record. This was in 1976, so it was snail-mail.  Several months later a letter arrived with a typewritten listing of my Grandfather's baptism date, along with 4 siblings!  SIBLINGS? Who were these people?  We had no idea he had any brothers or sisters, as he'd never spoken of his family.

Turns out there was another sister, and 2 half-siblings born before his Mother married!!!

Over the ensuing years, I have uncovered more about the siblings - a sister and half-sister died as infants, a brother died in a tragic accident as a teenager, a half-brother was raised by Grandparents, another brother died a bachelor, a sister married a miner and moved to Nottingham, and finally, the last brother was a CHALLENGE!  It took me until the 2000's to find his descendants - all because I made a classic genealogy mistake.  I discounted the possibility that they brother would have relocated and moved away for work. 

With the advent of more records being digitized, I've found further records about my Grandfather, beyond just baptism, marriage, death and census records.  I've found his World War One Draft record, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding a traffic accident he was involved in, etc.

Slowly and surely, I feel I have a better idea of what his life was like and what an amazing journey from a small village in rural Lincolnshire to Ellis Island to Clinton, Iowa to Oklahoma, and on to California.  The story goes, he was headed to Australia next......but a little matter of a wife and baby on the way got in the way with that! 


  1. Sounds like a great first find - no wonder you got hooked! I remember those days waiting for the mail - some days it was like Christmas!!

  2. It sounds like your grandfather didn't like his life, but it is certainly interesting to learn about it and to discover there were siblings and potential cousins.

  3. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels in The Homeplace Series such as: "Back to the Homeplace"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  4. Welcome to Geneabloggers! I am doing the 52 Weeks as well. Great way to get our folks out there and find connections. Good luck with your blog. I hope you enjoy posting & make wonderful discoveries.

  5. Welcome to Geneabloggers! Enjoyed your post. I remember getting that first genealogy package in the mail too. Lots of fun and very exciting! Good luck with your blog.