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Butler-Rawlings Family Project

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Surnames/tags: Butler Rawlings Rawlins
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The Butler-Rawlings Family Project is a family research project dedicated to the study of the origins, lives and descendants of the Butler-Rawlings family.

History

The Butler-Rawlings family refers to the descendants of a man who most likely lived in the early 16th century in Bromham, Wiltshire and who gave rise to the Butler alias Rawlings surname.

The earliest known mention of a member of this family dates back to 1555 when Andrew Baynton, esq, of Bromham appoints William Rawlyns alias Butler as his attorney to deliver seisin of Bowdon to a lessee.[1]

Later, in the 1570s, known references to family members begin to increase, with Henry Rawlins alias Butler (–1615)[2] of Chittoe (then a detached tithing of Bishops Cannings 1.6km north of Bromham) marrying Joan Morris (–1630)[3] in 1578,[4] baptising children well up until 1601[5] and most notably being sued by Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham in 1581 for allegedly assaulting his keepers and servants while they were out hunting in Chittoe Heath using bows, arrows, bills, long piked staves and other unlawful weapons.[6]

Many mentions of family members during this time are associated with Henry’s immediate family and almost all occur in Bromham, with one notable exception being Henry’s brother Anthony Butler alias Rawlins (–1611)[7] who was issued a 99-year lease to Maunditts Park in Little Somerford in 1600.[8]

Some of these early records may give us a glimpse into the origins of the family. In 1592, Sir Edward left an annuity of 40 shillings for life to his servant Richard Butler. In 1604, a Richard Butler is buried in Bromham and said to be a servant of Sir Henry Baynton, the heir of Sir Edward.[9][10] As mentioned earlier, in 1555, Andrew Baynton appointed William Rawlyns alias Butler his attorney to deliver seisin of property on his behalf.[1] It is possible that the progenitor of the Butler-Rawlings family was employed as a butler to a member of the Baynton family, who were then the lords of Bromham, or another landed family, and so took on the alias Butler. This would work well with the fact that the Rawlings surname was typically placed before the Butler surname at that time[2][3][1][11] and also that the Rawlings surname was and still is relatively common in Wiltshire.[12]

Of course, it is difficult to know with certainty precisely how the Butler-Rawlings family came about, given how just few and far between records from that time are. What is known with certainty is that by the early-17th century, the family had come to hold some degree of local prominence, with Henry featuring as a mention in most of the wills of residents of Chittoe in the 1600s and 1610s[13][14][15][16][17] and having his own will proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury,[2] which was typically used for testators of some degree of wealth.

After the passing of Henry, who is currently the earliest known ancestor of all living members of the Butler-Rawlings family, the family continued to grow at Bromham and the neighbouring village of Chittoe until roughly 1650 when Henry’s grandson Henry Rawlins alias Butler (1624–1683)[18][19] began baptising his children at Corsham.[20] His descendants would continue at Corsham, some, such as Robert Butler alias Rawlings (1704–1764), moving to Colerne[21][22] and later to Wisconsin with William Eljiah Butler (1819–1907)[23][24] and Australia with George Butler (1809–1873).[25][26]

The mid-17th century was also a time of great political, social and religious strife, with the decade-long English Civil War (1642–1651) raging on and a plethora of Christian dissent groups emerging. In Bromham and Corsham, Quakerism took hold of a great many residents, rich and poor alike. Henry Jr and his first cousin Daniel Rawlins alias Butler (1614–1670)[27][28] of Bromham became some of the first converts around 1657[29] and 1656, respectively, when they began baptising their children with the Quakers.[30] Unfortunately, this brought them into the conflict with the government, which at one time, penalised the hosting of meetings by Quakers. Notably, in October 1670, Daniel’s widow Dorothy née Gee (1625–1683)[31][32] was fined £2 for suffering a meeting at her house and 15 shillings for being at it.[33][34] She was so poor that all her goods were sold for £2, placing her into destitution.[33][34]

In the face of such persecution, it is understandable that some family members would choose to leave, with Daniel and Dorothy’s sons Aaron Rawlings (1668–1741) of Anne Arundel[35][36] and Daniel Rawlings (–1726) of Patuxent River and Calvert[37][38] becoming early settlers of Maryland in the late 1600s.[39][40] Aaron's grandson Lt Col Moses Rawlings (–1809)[41] would go on to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783),[42] acting as a delegate to the Maryland State Convention of 1788, to vote whether Maryland should ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States.[43]

Interestingly, whereas Aaron and Daniel chose to go by the Rawlings surname in Maryland, many of their cousins back in Bromham and Corsham did not.[44] Most descendants of their brother Moses Rawlins alias Butler (1656–)[27] of Chittoe eventually dropped the Rawlings surname[44][45] as did most descendants of Henry Jr of Corsham.[46] By the mid-1800s, the aliases had all but died out, with the last known reference dated 14 December 1818 when the Salisbury and Winchester Journal reported that ‘Robert Butler alias Rawlins, Sarah his wife, and their daughter, were committed to goal … on a charge of stealing paper’.[47]

Today, there are thousands of Butlers and Rawlingses and hundreds of thousands if not millions of descendants of the Butler-Rawlings family, the vast majority of whom are mostly unaware of each other’s existence.

It was only in 2019, with the formation of the Butler-Rawlings Family Project, that distant descendants of this one tight knit family were able to be reunited and rediscover their common ancestry. The formation of this project also led to a milestone discovery in 2020 when O Butler of the Bromham branch and Ralph Harold Butler of the Colerne branch were shown to be Y-DNA matches. In 2023, Henry Rawlins alias Butler was further identified as their common ancestor, meaning that their lines separated over 400 years ago.

Showcase

Noteable members of the Butler-Rawlings family include:

  • Henry Rawlins alias Butler (c 1557–1615) of Chittoe, the earliest known ancestor of all living members of the family
  • Aaron Rawlings (1668–1741) of Anne Arundel, early settler of Maryland
  • Daniel Rawlings (–1726) of Patuxent River and Calvert, early settler of Maryland
  • Lt Col Moses Rawlings (–1809), veteran of the American Revolutionary War and a delegate to the Maryland State Convention of 1788

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Baynton, Indented lease by Andrew Baynton of Bromham, Wiltshire, esquire, to Joan Walker, widow of Anthony Walker, and William Walker the elder, son of Anthony and Joan, TNA reference WARD 2/26/94A/17, The National Archives, Kew, 26 July 1555, accessed 14 January 2024.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 5111 #894043 : accessed 18 December 2023) [requires subscription], will of Henrici Rawlins of Bronham, Wiltshire, England, probated on 6 May 1616; citing TNA Prob. 11 Piece 127.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #43934 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Joan Rawlins of Chittoe, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1631; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P24/264.
  4. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2103437 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], Henry Rawlings married Jane Morris on 16 June 1578 in Devizes, St John the Baptist, Wiltshire, England.
  5. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2842047 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], Richard Butler, son of Henry Butler, baptised on 29 March 1600 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  6. Baynton v Rawlins alias Butler, Chiver, Bayly, Webb [23 Eliz] STAC 5/B6/26. Images available here and here.
  7. "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 5111 #890612 : accessed 11 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Antonij Butler of Sommerford, Wiltshire, England, probated on 29 January 1611; citing TNA Prob. 11 Piece 119.
  8. H Poole, Assignment of 99 year lease of Mawditte Park and Kingemeade Mill, TNA reference D2700/NR11/6/1, The National Archives, Kew, 1600, accessed 14 January 2024.
  9. WG Davis, The ancestry of Abel Lunt, 1769-1806, of Newbury, Massachusetts, The Anthoensen Press, Portland, p 243.
  10. "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 5111 #928587 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Edwardi Baynton of Bromeham, Wiltshire, England, probated on 13 November 1593; citing TNA Prob. 11 Piece 82.
  11. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2842278 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], Susan Rawlins, daughter of Willm Rawlins, baptised on 14 April 1605 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  12. P Hanks, R Coates and P McClure, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 2222.
  13. "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #132097 : accessed 18 December 2023) [requires subscription], will of Susan Flower of Chittoe, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1606; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P1/F/19.
  14. "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #43823 : accessed 11 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Alice Bayly of Chittoe, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1607; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P24/163.
  15. "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #43697 : accessed 11 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Thomas Hobbes Sr of Chittoe, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1611-1615; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P24/135.
  16. "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #48734 : accessed 11 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Edmund Chever of Blackland, Calne, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1612; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P26/25.
  17. "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #44693 : accessed 11 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of William Bayly of Chittoe, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, probated in 1614; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P24/95.
  18. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #3043639 : accessed 17 December 2023) [requires subscription], Henry Rallinges, son of Henry Rallinges and Joyce Rallinges, baptised on 29 February 1623 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  19. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2146032 : accessed 14 January 2024) [requires subscription], Henery Butler Junior buried on 15 September 1683 in Corsham, Wiltshire, England.
  20. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #1666253 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], Margaret Butler, daughter of Henry Butler, baptised on 17 April 1650 in Corsham, Wiltshire, England.
  21. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #134803 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], Robert Pruter , son of Robert Pruter, baptised on 27 April 1704 in Corsham, Wiltshire, England.
  22. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2130385 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], Robt Butler buried on 22 November 1764 in Colerne, Wiltshire, England.
  23. "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1936", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 2972 #980779 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], Elijah Butler, son of Charles Butler and Sarah Butler, born on 4 June 1819 and baptised on 4 July 1819 in Colerne, Wiltshire, England.
  24. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find a Grave® Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.. Name: William Elijah Butler; Gender: Male; Birth Date: 1819; Death Date: 1907; Cemetery: Hillside Cemetery; Burial or Cremation Place: Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin, United States of America; Has Bio?: Y; Spouse: Helen Butler; Children: William Butler Helen E. McNeel; URL: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/141963962/william-elijah-butler. Ancestry Record 60525 #116457806.
  25. "England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 9841 #54724846 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], George Butler, son of John Butler and Susanna, baptised on 28 May 1809 in Colerne, Wiltshire, England.
  26. Coroner Inquest Deposition Files (1840-1925), Public Records Office Victoria. Name: George Butler; Gender: Male; Death Place: Australia; Inquest Date: 21 Jul. 1873; Inquest Place: Ballan; Cause of Death: Drowned. Ancestry Record 61863 #54134.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Society of Friends' Registers, Notes and Certificates of Births, Marriages and Burials, TNA reference class RG 6 piece 1306, The National Archives, Kew. Name: Moses Rawlings; Event Type: Birth; Birth Date: 2 Feb. 1656; Birth Place: Charlcot, England; Gender: Male; Father: Daniell Rawlings; Meeting: Monthly Meeting of Wiltshire: Charlcot Monthly Meeting; Piece Description: Piece 1649: Monthly Meeting of Bristol: Birth notes (1668-1680). Ancestry Record 7097 #854.
  28. "Wiltshire, England, Non-Conformist Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1810-1987", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61766 #117359 : accessed 15 January 2024) [requires subscription], Daniel Rawlings died on 22 December 1669-1670 and buried in Somerset.
  29. "Wiltshire, England, Non-Conformist Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1810-1987", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61766 #115456 : accessed 16 January 2024) [requires subscription], Joice Rawlins, child of Henry Rawlins and Margarett Rawlins, born on 8 January 1657 and baptised in Somerset.
  30. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2266699 : accessed 16 January 2024) [requires subscription], Isaac Ralings, son of Moses Ralings and Elizabeth Ralings, baptised on 7 January 1706 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  31. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2843261 : accessed 16 January 2024) [requires subscription], Dorothy Gee, daughter of Stephen Gee and Edith Gee, baptised on 15 May 1625 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  32. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2853081 : accessed 16 January 2024) [requires subscription], Dorathy Butler buried on 2 February 1682 in Bromham, Wiltshire, England.
  33. 33.0 33.1 KS Taylor, 'Chalk, cheese, and cloth: the settling of Quaker communities in seventeenth-century Wiltshire', Quaker Studies, 2006, 10(2):160–84, p 170.
  34. 34.0 34.1 J Besse, A collection of the sufferings of the people called Quakers, Luke Hinde, London, 2:43.
  35. Society of Friends' Registers, Notes and Certificates of Births, Marriages and Burials, TNA reference class RG 6 piece 1306, The National Archives, Kew, 1649. Name: Aaron Rawlings; Event Type: Birth; Birth Date: 5 Jan. 1667; Birth Place: Charlcot, England; Gender: Male; Father: Daniell Rawlings; Meeting: Monthly Meeting of Wiltshire: Charlcot Monthly Meeting; Piece Description: Piece 1649: Monthly Meeting of Bristol: Birth notes (1668-1680). Ancestry Record 7097 #1047.
  36. "Maryland, U.S., Calendar of Wills, 1635-1743", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 3250 #7228 : accessed 17 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Aaron Rawlings, probated on 25 March 1741; citing Volume: VIII, Wills from 1738 to 1743.
  37. "England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death Registers, 1578-1837", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 7097 #357233 : accessed 19 January 2024) [requires subscription], Daniell Rawlings, son of Daniell Rawlings, married Ann Nelless on 5 October 1700 in Devonshire House London, England.
  38. JD Warfield, The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard counties, Maryland: a genealogical and biographical review from wills, deeds and church records, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2008, pp 134–5.
  39. JD Warfield, The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard counties, Maryland: a genealogical and biographical review from wills, deeds and church records, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2008, p 134–135.
  40. CE Peck, Aaron Rawlings, The Rawlings Family of Maryland website, 27 July 2003, accessed 17 January 2024.
  41. "West Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 9087 #547140 : accessed 17 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Moses Rawlings of Hampshire, Virginia, probated on 20 June 1809; citing Wills; Author: West Virginia. County Court (Hampshire County); Probate Place: Hampshire, West Virginia.
  42. G Washington, From George Washington to Lieutenant Colonel Moses Rawlings, 7 March 1779, National Archives, Washington, 7 March 1775, accessed 17 January 2024.
  43. BC Steiner, 'Maryland's adoption of the Federal Constitution', The Americal Historical Review, 1899, 5(2):207–224, p 207.
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858", database with images, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61333 #114577 : accessed 17 January 2024) [requires subscription], will of Daniel Butler of Bromham Wiltshire, England, probated in 1760; citing Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Wills and Probates; Reference Number: P3/B/1533.
  45. Sarum Marriage Licence Bonds, FindMyPast, 1754. First name(s): Joseph; Last name: Butler; Bond day: 21; Bond month: Mar; Bond year: 1754; Marriage year: 1754; Place: Devizes; Marriage place: Rowde; Groom's first name(s): Joseph; Groom's last name: BUTLER; Groom's parish: Devizes; Groom's county: Wiltshire, England; Bride's first name(s): Jane; Bride's last name: TAYLOR; Bride's parish: Chippenham; Bride's county: Wiltshire, England; Bondsman 1: BUTLER Daniel jun, Bromham, Wilts; Jurisdiction: The Bishop of Salisbury in Wiltshire and Berkshire; County: Wiltshire; Country: England.
  46. "Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812", database, Ancestry (Ancestry Record 61187 #2131108 : accessed 17 January 2024) [requires subscription], Charles Butler, son of Robt Butler and Sarah Butler, baptised on 18 March 1781 in Colerne, Wiltshire, England.
  47. 'Paper hawkers', Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 14 December 1818, p 4, accessed 17 January 2024.




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