Butler Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Butler Boteler Ormonde
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This profile is part of the Butler Name Study.

This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about one surname and the variants of that name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect. Please contact the project leader, add categories to your profiles, add your questions to the bulletin board, add details of your name research, etc.

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NOTE: The Butler Name Study is new and still under construction. If you would like to add anything or become a part of this project, click the link to requesting trusted status as you would on any other profile.


Butler Surname

Butler, Boteler, Botilier, etc.

The surname Butler or Bouteillier, preceeds 1215 when the Magna Carta was created. Butler is an aristocratic surname of Norman-French origins. It is one of the very few surnames to be recognized as being pre-1066 in origin and recording in England, and more rarely in France.

It is in an occupational name derived from Olde French: 'bouteillier'. It's meaning is "one who supplies the bottles," (of wine). The surname, "Bouteillier," defines the status of an individual in a royal or noble, household. The Bouteillier or Butler surname's meaning, "Master of the Pantry."

The original "Butlers" were much more than servants, as borne by the example of Theodore Fitzwalter, who accompanied King Henry II on his conquest of Ireland in 1171. He was not only appointed "Chief Butler of Ireland," but he subsequently adopted "Butler" as his surname.

In England and Ireland, no less than ninety four Coats of Arms have been granted to Boteler and Butler, the first belonging to Robert de Pincerna, butler to Randolf, Earl of Chester, in 1158, and the first of the Butlers of Cheshire.

The Butler's were also amongst the first into the new American Colonies, Francis Butler, aged 18, is recorded as a settler at 'Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea' in January 1624. He arrived on the ship 'Bonaventure' and was a member of the governors guard.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of Hugo Buteiller, dated 1055. The calendar of preserved ancient documents of France, during the reign of King Henry I of France, 1031 - 1060. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.[1]

The name is like many others from the medieval time period, spelled differently on every document. It's also common in cases of earlier ancestors that the spelling of a name was not standardized and that the person would have used more than one.

The Butler name came to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman invasion of the 12th century with the forces of Strongbow. With the acceptance of a Papal Bull by Pope Adrian IV, their descendants came to be known as the Dukes of Ormonde, taking government control of Ireland on the behalf of England.[2]

The Butler-Rawlings Family Project

Around the 1600s, a few individuals, residing in the villages of Bromham and Corsham, began signing birth, marriage and death records with either ‘Butler alias Rawlings’ or ‘Rawlings alias Butler.’ The living descendants of these individuals have now bare the surnames Butler, Rawlings and Rawlins.

In August of 2012, one such descendant, the late Thomas Butler, traced his ancestry to Richard Butler-Rawlings of Corsham, born around 1640. Thomas also took a Y-DNA test, uploading his results to FamilyTreeDNA.

7 years later, in August of 2019, Omar Butler traced his ancestry to a John Butler-Rawlings of Bromham, born around 1580. Having also taken a Y-DNA test, Thomas was identified as a relative of Omar.

The matching of Omar and Thomas provided evidence that the Butler-Rawlings family of Bromham was related to the Butler-Rawlings family of Corsham.

Relying on such evidence, in September of 2019, Omar Butler, S.D. and S.C., formed the Butler-Rawlings family project. The goal of the project would be to uncover the origins, history and current distribution of the Butler-Rawlings family.

Using DNA testing, and source-based research, project members are working to identify living descendants of the family, and discover exactly how they are related to those original ‘Butler alias Rawlings’/’Rawlings alias Butler’ ancestors. Updates on such research will be shared through the project’s website and social media.


Samuel Butler - British Author
Octavia E. Butler - Science Fiction Author

Butler Coat of Arms

Butler/Ormonde Coat of Arms

This original and ancient arms has the blazon of a red field, a bend between three goblets, all gold.

Sources for Butler Research

  1. Source: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2015
  • The Butler Society [1]

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Comments: 3

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Would it not be useful to divide this study into regional studies, then perhaps branch studies like the Butler-Rawlings Study? It's quite a common and well-populated surname. I'm currently working on two other One Name Studies so will not begin another but I've joined this one and would happily work on profiles of Butlers in New York State, if someone would begin that Study as part of this one.
posted by Lorraine O'Dell M.L.S.
Barnabus "Barney" Butler Butler-2258 (NYS) is a brick wall for me. I will add this project's sticker and the category to my Butler profiles and check in from time to time.
posted by Lorraine O'Dell M.L.S.
My g-g-grandfather Daniel P. Butler's father Samuel Butler is as far back as I can get on my maiden name Butler line. Samuel must have been born abt 1780 (one son says b. VA, one says SC in census rec); married Mary "Polly" Moore (desc of Quaker families who moved to Wrightsborough, GA) from the Taliaferro/Greene Co., GA area (near line of SC) abt 1812 (b of oldest child). Some researchers think he lived in Jones Co, GA 1820 census. He bought 202 1/2 ac in Monroe co., GA from Matthew Pass (who won in Lottery) and moved with farm instruments and animals and slaves. Where'd he get the $? He d. Feb 1825 Monroe co., GA.

Samuel's 5 children's names are clues: Isaac H. Butler, James M Butler (desc say Milton but could be Moore for his maternal grandfather), Jane J(ackson) Butler named for her maternal grandmother, Daniel P. Butler and Elizabeth "Betsy" Butler.

My Daniel P. Butler's children are: Samuel Lee Butler, Nathaniel Daniel Butler, Aaron A. Butler, Mary Lou Butler. His wife's name was Mary Elizabeth Boswell. I don't know who her parents were.

My Butler father has done the Big Y DNA test with Family Tree DNA, kit #46694, GedMatch is A556897. He joined the Butler Surname Project. The Ireland YDNA and Z253 Y Haplogroup (in the Z18128 subgroup) Projects have done additional testing on Daddy's Y and it goes straight to Tipperary/Kilkenney Ireland.

Please help me connect Samuel Butler of Georgia to his father and his Butler ancestors! WikiTree profile: Samuel Butler: Butler-25978

posted by Janet (Butler) Walker
edited by Janet (Butler) Walker