Now Todd, my maiden name, is nearby … in Todd County, Kentucky. But the state of Alabama alludes me. Scanning through Foscue’s Place Names, Toadvine, Alabama, stands out like a sore thumb. This community in Jefferson County was originally called Smithville, but later changed its name to honor a Confederate soldier. Toadvine is also one of the oldest communities in Jefferson County, according to a 1928 Birmingham News post by W.J. Boles. It was settled just before 1810, more than nine years before Alabama became a state.
Surnames have always fascinated me. What’s the origination of your name? What does it mean? Did it change when your family came to America? According to my family’s genealogy, we are mainly Scottish and our family name was Todhuntre (which means “hunter of the foxes”). When the family came to America, it changed to Todd (meaning “fox”). My husband’s family has a few varieties in its origins, and I’m still digging through the floppy disks (yes, 1980s floppy disks) of material that his father left behind to quell a few undisputed claims that the family is Prussian and the surname means “pillow maker.”
The Alabama Heritage team takes field trips across our great state throughout the year, and the photo here in this blogpost is from our visit to West Blocton. Originally, this Bibb County town was called Suttleton for a local businessman but was then changed to Blocton around 1901. According to Foscue, the name is from the mining industry, referencing a block of coal that weighed more than a ton removed from the Cahaba Coal mines.
What has your genealogy research found for your family name’s origin? Is there a town or community in the state of Alabama that bears your name? If so, are you related to the person for whom that town is named?