Spanish and Jewish (Sephardic): habitational name from the city in central Spain, which was the capital of the Visigothic state between the 6th and 8th centuries. Its role declined for three centuries after the Muslim invasion of Spain, until it was taken as the capital of the kingdom of Castile between the 11th and 16th centuries. It was a major cultural and political center throughout the Middle Ages, and was also the home of an important Jewish community. The place name, first recorded in Latin as Toletum, is of obscure etymology, possibly connected with Toleto in Piedmont; Jewish tradition connects it with Hebrew toledot ‘generations’, but this is no more than folk etymology.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.