Hands down, the question I hear the most: What’s “toth” mean?
The short answer: Toth is my middle name. (Hi, it’s me, Meg.)
The good story: We are a family that leans heavily on family names and reclaiming family names. Elizabeth Toth was my great-grandmother; Toth was her maiden name.
Our lifetimes never overlapped, but I grew up fully aware of her story: She left Hungary sometime around 1909/1910/1911 when she was no more than 16 or 17 years old. She boarded a cross-Atlantic boat by herself, in the middle of the night, told no one. She came through Ellis Island, speaking only Hungarian – no English – and without anyone specific waiting for her here. She made her way from New York City to Pittsburgh. She found the First Hungarian Reformed Church in Homestead, the Hungarian community there, a room, and a job. She met my great grandfather, and they started our family.
Three generations later, her maiden name – which is the name she signed at Ellis Island – is my middle name.
I’d like to think we infuse as much of her exploratory, curious, determined spirit as we can into all our projects, writing, pitching, editing, partnerships. With that said, we cannot possibly muster the guts, moxie, bravery, courage, strength, emotional intelligence, younameit that it took her to do what she did.
We are toth shop out of pure respect for those who have come before us and all that’s possible for the generations to come.
We are also contributors to the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation.