I am a descendant of James Boal and Elizabeth Welch. In 1790, they left Derry, Northern Ireland on a ship bound for America. The family likely disembarked at Philadelphia and then traveled to central Pennsylvania, specifically Centre County, where they settled, alongside many others named Boal.
Their son William somehow ended up in Iowa, where he died in 1880. William had a son named John Shannon Boal. He also lived in Johnson County, Iowa, like his father. John married a lady named Almeda Foster. They had a daughter named Nettie Ann Boal, grandmother of my grandmother. But sadly, John and Almeda died young, she in 1874 and he in 1878. Nettie, too, would die young, in 1892, at the age of 26, leaving behind her husband and a daughter, my great-grandmother.
Until cousins from Australia connected the dots, I didn’t know anything about William and his parents, nor the connections to Northern Ireland.
The Boal surname, according to the experts, is a variant of Boyle. My Boals were Presbyterian, and I have learned that at some point the family likely came to the Emerald Isle from Scotland as part of the scheme to subdue Catholicism.
In 1881, the Boyle surname was common in Glasgow, Scotland and Lancashire, England. In Ireland, it had become widespread by 1847 to 1864 with a concentrated population in Donegal.
It is believed that in Ireland the Boyle name devolved from Ó Baoighill, meaning descendant of Baoigheall, a personal name probably based on combining the word baoth, meaning rash, with geall, meaning pledge.
Caincormac Ua Baighill, bishop of Armagh, 1099 in AU; Eochaidh O’Baighill (killed by the Ui-Fiachrach), 1193 in AU; Ferghal Ua Baighill, 1209 in AU; Cornelius O’Boyle, chaplain, 1568 in Fiants Elizabeth §1215; Derby O’Boyll, 1569 in Fiants Elizabeth §1300 (Moriston, Tipperary).
2 Norman, Scottish: locative name from Biéville, near Caen, Normandy, formerly Boiavilla .
The Boyle earls of Glasgow, lords of Kelburne (Ayrs) are descended from Adam son of Gilbert son of Richer de Boiville. In 12th-century England, men named de Boiville held land in Millom and Saint Bees, Cumb, and were associated with grants of land in Gloucs.
Simon de Boyuille, 1219–52 in Lindores Chartulary (Edderlick, Aberdeens); Eustace de Boyuill, 1296 in Scotland Calendar (Dumfriess); Robert Boyle, 1656 in IGI (Kilbarchan, Renfrews); John Boyle, 1686 in IGI (Kilwinning, Ayrs).
England: John Boyle, 1340–1450 in Coventry Guild Register (Warwicks); William Boyle, 1378 in The Church in London; Robert Boyll, 1545 in Subsidy Rolls (Wilts).
Barrow, Anglo-Norman Era; Domesday Descendants, pp. 333–4.