740 North 37th St Philadelphia PA

I know from the 1940 Census that this house was once my grandfather’s home with his young, big family in 1940. He lived here with my grandmother Margaret Kelly, and their 7 children.  At this time not all the children had been born yet. 3 more were yet to be born including my mom.

When the family moved here or for how long they stayed here I don’t know. I don’t know if this was the first home my grandpa Toner rented when he crossed the border though Detroit in 1929 or what. I’ve not found any other documentation yet. I do know that they lived here for at least 2 years, because this is the same address that he filed on his WW2 draft card.

I was just tickled pink when I found my family in the 1940 census. I’ve not been able to trace my family foot steps once they cross border. It was easier finding their trail though Canada then the states.

I also know that Grandpa was an Elevator Operator in an office building at this time. I bet he was a dashing figure in his uniform with his lovely Irish accent.


James Toner Sets Sail

My grandfather was born July 2nd 1896 to John and Bridget Toner on a farm in Bancran Glebe, Londonderry Northern Ireland.

He married our grandmother (Margaret Kelly) on May 12th 1925 in Draperstown Roman Catholic Church. Two small children & four years later James set sail by himself.






James boarded the SS Letitia 2 from the port of Belfast Ireland as a third class passenger on May 20th 1927. Nine days later on May 29, 1927 he entered Quebec Canada Harbor.



From the Canadian Passenger List, I can tell he was going to a cousin’s in Toronto. But my question is why Canada when the United States were their goals. I know we did have family in the states at this time too. Why did he leave out of Belfast when Londonderry had a big shipping port itself? I know a lot of immigrants left though the Derry port, but this was in the 1800’s early 1900’s. Had that changed by 1929? An exactly who is this Michael McCullough that my grandfather claims as family? I had never heard this name before, and when I approached my mom she hadn’t either.

As you can tell, as I find some answers to my family history it only brings more mysteries and questions. While I may not know much at this time, & the memories of my grandfather might not be many. What I do have I treasure because I adored my grandfather. What I do know is that our grandfather was a great man. He was a strong man. He immigrated out of love, but could have been out of need too? At this time in Ireland there was a civil war going on. How did this affect him and his family? As you can tell, Jame’s story is far from over….

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