YDNA is one of the most helpful tools for a surname project. This test traces the male line for hundreds and thousands of years. This Butler line has been tested for YDNA. The results were I-M223. I wrote a Blog on Butler YDNA here. The I Haplogroup is not the predominant YDNA type in Ireland and seems to fit with the Butler traditions that they go back to the Norman times. This Haplogroup seems to have some of its roots in the area of current Germany. Here is a distribution map of the I-M223 YDNA:
I-M223 is a very broad category and there a many branches of YDNA below this designation. One YDNA match has tested down to the level of I-A427. This is likely the branch of this Butler line also. It is thanks to the YDNA test that new contacts to YDNA cousins were made. One cousin has been especially helpful in helping find the very likely location of where the Butler family came from in Ireland. Previously this was unknown and only supposed to be Kilkenny which has been quite vague.
Up until recently there was only one record that gave the names of Michael Butler and Margaret Croke. This was the death certificate of Edward Butler their son who died in 1915 in Newton, Massachusetts. This certificate listed Edward Butler's birthplace as well as his parents as being in Kilkenny, Ireland. Ten years later, Edward Henry Butler, the grandson of Michael Butler died. On his death certificate, he gave a location of birth for his father as County Wexford.
Thanks to the new YDNA relative and newly published Roman Catholic records, there appears to be a breakthrough in establishing the Butler's Irish roots. Unfortunately, Edward Butler was not found in the Parish records, but a Mathias, or in English, Matthew Butler has been found. However, the names of the parents were correct:
Here is the right side of the page with the baptism date and sponsors who I assume would be the godparents:
Poulrone has many different spellings and is in the Parish of Windgap. The Butler YDNA relative tells me one from this Parish would be called a Gapper. Here is the Google map image of Poulrone, which is roughly between the words 'Polerone' and 'Polerone Road' on the map and down to the River. On the bottom left of the map is the River Suir which is the boundary between Counties Kilkenny and Waterford.
Zooming out, we can see Waterford and the boundary of County Wexford to the East. Poulrone is to the West of Mooncoin and not shown on the map below.
In 1833, Michael Butler was taxed on the use of his land. This was called the Tithe Applotment. I expect that this was an unpopular tax especially for the Roman Catholics, as it went to the support of the established Church of Ireland.
In 1933, Michael's neighbors were the Duggans and Crokes. Michael was likely living near his in-laws. The Duggan name is prominant also in batism records. Edward is likely the Ned mentioned in Mathias' baptimal record above. Below are rent records for the Poulrone area from about 1832 to October 1840.
Note that Margaret Butler became responsible for the rent around 1840. I assume that Michael Butler died sometime before October 1840. This certainly would have been a disaster for the family and perhaps set in motion his son Edward's move away from Ireland. At any rate, he was the youngest known son and as such, his economic prospects were not good to begin with. Speaking of Michael's children, I have that he had 3 sons. I don't have record of any daughters. I have his 1st son as James which is inferred from records which will be shown below. His only documented child is Mathias or Matthew. Edward appears to have been last and likely never knew his father as his father appeared to have died when Edward was an infant or toddler.
The evidence so far given is interesting, but not enough proof to link this Butler family to Poulrone. Much more proof will be given below.
I first came upon the name James Butler through researching Census records in the US. I found Edward Butler, my wife's 2nd great grandfather, living in the year 1910 at 11 Clinton St., Newton, Massachusetts.
Here, Edward, our immigrant Butler, was listed as the father-in-law to the head of the household, William Mellie. William was married to Mary. At first, this made me think that Mary was a child of Edward. That is, until I looked up the marriage record of William and Mary Mellie (or Mellia):
The above marriage record image gives the parents names of the bride as James Butler and Mary Quinn. This lead me to believe that this James Butler could be the brother of Edward Butler. Subsequent research on the other side of the Ocean showed that there was a Mary Butler baptized in Poulrone in 1856.
This was good confirmation of the research I had done in Massachusetts. The problem was that Mary fibbed a bit on her age. In 1898 when she married, she was not 22. She had just turned 40! At any rate, this closed the loop which centered on Poulrone. Perhaps her father James was the eldest and stayed to work the farm. He had other children whose baptisms were recorded in the Windgap Registers. Here is the Griffith's Valuation from about 1850.
The numbers on the left are supposed to refer to areas on a map, but I had trouble figuring those out. The families within the brackets would likely be related in some way. My best guess is that James Butler's house was the rightmost one in the cluster of houses below. There appears to be a 2 above the area and an 'a' in the area of the house on the right side of the cluster of houses in the map below.
Edward Butler has been the subject of much of my Butler research over the last 20 years. At times I had despaired of finding out where in Ireland the family was from. So it is nice to see some of the Butler family history fall into place. As I mentioned above, it appears that his father died when he was very young. He married in St. John, New Brunswick in 1 May 1855. . Here is the poorly written record of the Saint John, New Brunswick marriage :
The next record shows the Butler family in Cincinnati, Ward 17, in 1860. They stayed in New Brunswick long enough to have 2 girls. I wondered a while about Cincinnati and whether the family had actually been there as I had never heard of the current family talking about Butlers ever being there. However, this seemed to be confirmed through an autosomal DNA match. I wrote a Blog about it here.
The above Census has the last box checked for Edward. That indicates that Edward could not read or write. Note also that for his marriage certificate he made an X instead of signing. I'm sure this could have made Edward feel at a disadvantage in a country that had had an emphasis on education for a while. On the other hand, at that time many people would not have been able to read or write, so that would not have held the same stigma that it would today. The Butler family was in Cincinnati longer than they were in St. John. Here is their listing in Ward 3 for the year 1870:
Now, the younger daughter is missing. She must have died or was out of the house for some reason. Here is the first mention of Massachusetts. Did the Crowley family move there by this time? However, between 1860 and 1870, there was a war going on. The photo below had puzzled me for a while, but now I see it as Edward's Civil War Naval uniform. I have found other similar period uniforms - which by the way were not all that uniform.
I recently came upon a Civil War Pensioner Census for 1890 that mentions Edward H Butler. I believe that this is the only record I know of that refers to him as Edward H and not just plain Edwward Butler.
Whoever, was doing the survey or research wrote: "[papers?] inaccessible could not get any more particulars". The above record confirms family tradition that Edward served on an iron clad Monitor type ship in the Civil War. The web page that I got this photo of the US Milwaukee from draws attention to the mine rake in front of the ship and the awnings. The ship was 280 feet long. I don't know if that included the length of the mine rake.
After Cincinnati, the Butler family is believed to have gone to Chicago. We lose track of Julia Ann. Two sons were born in Chicago. This is based on Vital and Census records in Massachusetts. I have not found any Chicago records of the family. The first record of the Butlers being in Massachusetts was in the 1890 Pensioner record shown above. It appears that Edward H at least was in Newtonville, Massachusetts at that time. Sons George and Edward Henry showed up in the Boston area and married. The Butlers located in the Newton/Watertown area of Massachusetts. Edward Senior's wife Mary Crowley died in 1905. Note that the 1905 Newton Directory shows that Johanna, who was likely Edward's neice was boarding at his address of 24 Clinton Street at that time. Perhaps she was there to take care of him following the passing of his wife of 50 years.
Soon after that time, either the address changed, or Edward moved to 11 Clinton St. He was also there with the Mellie family during the 1910 Census mentioned above and at the time of his death in 1915.
Above the 'ST' it is difficult to make out but it says Edw Butler on the house.
Here is wider area around Clinton Street. I expect Edward went to the local Our Lady Roman Catholic Church.
Here is a more recent shot of 11 Clinton Street. The house should be the same as it was built around 1875.