Objectives of The Butler Society

The objectives of the Society, as defined in 1967, are:

  • To bring together the diverse and scattered branches of the Butler family, its allied families, and its friends, to nurture old ties and develop new connections.
  • To preserve family records, the history, manuscripts and memorabilia, and maintain the traditions.
  • To establish in Kilkenny a focal point for friendliness and family lore and to sponsor periodic reunions at that location, during which the ties of blood, marriage and inter-family relationships may be strengthened and preserved.

The Crest      


The Butler Society crest is described officially as being a ducal coronet, with a plume of five ostrich feathers issuing from it, and surmounted by a falcon rising.  The ducal coronet refers to the Dukes of Ormonde, whose family name was Butler.  The falcon was the personal heraldic badge of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII.  Anne’s grandmother, Lady Margaret Butler, was the daughter of Thomas Butler, the 7th Earl of Ormonde, so the crest recognises this link. 

International Rallies

International Rallies are held every three years, when members of the Society gather in Ireland from all over the world, to attend a number of functions in and around Kilkenny and its Castle.  In 2017, in addition to the Triennial Rallies, a special “Jubilee Rally” was held to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Butler Society. 

The scheduled Triennial Rally for 2018 was then held in and around London, with a focus on the life of Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII, and granddaughter of Lady Margaret Butler, whose father was Thomas Butler, the 7th Earl of Ormonde.

2021 Triennial Rally

The next Triennial Rally will be held in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 2021.

Southern Cross Region

The Southern Cross Region was established as a branch of The Butler Society in 1972, and represents members in Australia and New Zealand.  Meetings are usually held in and around Melbourne, as the core Committee is based in Victoria.  However, members from other locations can participate by contacting either the President or the Secretary and passing on their comments, concerns, etc, which will then be tabled at the meetings on their behalf.  Or they can use technology such as Skype, or other forms of video/audio conferencing to link-up. 

Southern Cross Butler Gatherings

Southern Cross Butler Gatherings are held at three year intervals in Australia, each time in a different State, when we learn about Butler individuals or families who have contributed to the early history of our host State.  In 2013, the Gathering was in Victoria.  Another Gathering was held in October 2016 in South Australia, and was attended by people from Australia, New Zealand and England.  The Gatherings provide a great opportunity for people to meet, learn about Butler family histories, exchange hints and information on genealogy research, and possibly discover a previously unknown cousin.

The next Southern Cross Gathering will be held from 30th August to 2nd September 2019 in Queensland.  Events will include an opening reception; a trip to the country town of Kilcoy; talks on pioneer Butler families in Queensland; a genealogy forum and dinner; and visits to some historic homesteads.


The Committee is always looking for ways to maintain contact with our extended “family” of members.  Our Newsletters are issued at regular intervals throughout the year, and contain items of general interest, news of member’s activities, and articles that members have submitted on their family histories.  If a member is seeking assistance with their research, a paragraph in the Newsletter may provide the answer!

The Journal

A Butler Journal is published and distributed every three years from Ireland.  The Journals contain many well-researched articles submitted by members from all over the world, concerning individual Butlers or their family histories.

The Archive

Over the years, Southern Cross members have donated photographs, memorabilia, booklets, and various documents to the Society.  These have now been collected in to a central Archive in Melbourne, and an index is being prepared.  The next stage will be to decide how the various items can be scanned and recorded digitally, so members can readily access the information.

Database of Genealogies

Almost all of our members have researched their family histories, and the Archive contains copies of a number of genealogies.  The Southern Cross Region is currently investigating how the various sources of information can be combined and cross-referenced, so that possible links between members are highlighted. 

Butlers of Note

Over the years, many Butlers have made a significant contribution in the fields of business, politics, arts or sports.  Or they have invented something or established an essential service.  Some of these Butlers have become rich or famous, but a number have been quiet achievers and unsung heroes.  We believe that these people also deserve recognition, and we are therefore compiling our own “Hall of Fame”, to record their achievements.


Australian Gathering

The Southern Cross Region hosted a Butler Gathering in Adelaide in October 2016. The Gathering showcased a number of Butlers who have contributed to the history and development of South Australia. Events included a Reception; tour of historic Port Adelaide; a trip to the town of Mallala; family history displays and forums; a dinner cruise; and a day trip to the town of Minlaton. The next Southern Cross Gathering will be in 2019

General Meetings

Meetings of the Southern Cross Region are usually held in and around Victoria, Australia, as the core Committee is based in Victoria. However, members from other States in Australia, and also New Zealand and other parts of the Region, can participate in the meetings by contacting either the President or the Secretary, and passing on their comments or concerns, which will then be tabled at a meeting on their behalf. The dates and locations of these meetings are listed in the “Events” Section


The Committee is aware that our country is a large one, and we are always looking for ways to overcome some of the disadvantages of distance, and to maintain contact with our extended “family’ of members.

We like to think that contact can be maintained through our Newsletters, which are issued at regular intervals throughout the year, and contain items of general interest, news of members activities, and articles that members have submitted on their family histories. If a member is seeking information or assistance on a specific item in their research, a paragraph in the Newsletter can often provide the answer! 


Butler DNA Project

For people interested in tracing their ancestry, our genetic make-up, that is, our DNA, can add another dimension to our research. Within each living cell is a nucleus which contains pairs of chromosomes. One pair determines the sex of the child. A male child receives a Y chromosome from his father and an X chromosome from his mother. A female child has two X chromosomes. If you are a man, the DNA which is tested is referred to as “Y-DNA”. The female DNA is referred to as “mitochondrial DNA” or “mtDNA”. 
There are a number of companies which do DNA testing for family research purposes, but obviously, if we all use the same firm for our tests, and pool our results, there is more chance of finding someone with the same genetic background, and therefore a relative. 
A Butler Project has been established with “Family Tree DNA”, an organisation based in the USA. When applying, ensure that you click on the Butler Project, so your test results will be combined with those of other Butler-related people, making it easier to find a possible family link. 


Originally the Butler Project focussed on the male DNA, (the Y-DNA), as the surname is passed on through the male line. The cheapest test is Y-DNA 12, but this only measures 12 Markers, and the results are not very accurate. The more Markers that are measured and compared, the greater the level of accuracy there will be with any matches to other men taking the test. It is recommended that you take Y-DNA 111 Markers, but of course this depends on your budget. However, remember that all male descendants from a common male ancestor share the same Y-DNA, so only one man need do the test, but several could share the cost, and the results, e.g two or more brothers, or a father and his sons.


The Butler Project also accepts applications from Butler women who wish to discover their maternal, (that is, their mtDNA), ancestry. Obviously, with each generation, the surname of the mother changes, so the focus is on the personal history of each generation, and not the name. It is an older form of history, as surnames only began to be used in the 13th Century. DNA genealogy goes back to the beginning of human history, and can therefore add a much broader perspective to the origins of a family. Note that sons as well as daughters carry their mother’s DNA, so men can also request the mtDNA test, to trace their maternal ancestry. If a man has a Butler mother, or his mother’s mother was a Butler, this Project may assist with his researches. It is recommended that the mtFull Sequence test be taken by both women and men. Again, remember that brothers and sisters with the same mother share the same mtDNA, so only one person need do the test, but several family members can share the cost. .


• Open up the website
• Click on the “Projects” tab at the top left of the page.
• Type in “Butler” in “Project Search“, top right hand corner, and click on “Search”.
• Under the list of Projects click on “Butler”.
• If wanting “Male Line Testing”, choose Y-DNA67 or, if possible, Y-DNA111, and click on “Order Now”. NOTE: Prices are quoted in American dollars.
• For “Female Line Testing”, choose mtFull Sequence, and “Order Now”.
• A picture of an in-tray appears. Nominate your gender (male or female) in the line
-2- above, and then click on the green “Proceed to Checkout” button, lower right. • Fill in your contact address and credit card details. .


If you do not wish to apply on-line: • Send an application to Family Tree DNA, 1445 North Loop West, Suite 820 Houston, Texas, 77008, USA. • You will need to check the current price on their website, before applying, as prices vary over time. NOTE: Prices are quoted in American dollars. • Payment can be made by an International Bank Draft.


Once you have placed your order, you will be sent a test kit with instructions. The test involves taking two swabs from the lining inside your cheek, and putting these in the sterile containers provided in the kit. These are then posted back to the firm, using the envelope they provide. NOTE: It is best to pay a little extra and post the envelope as a package rather than a letter, as it then arrives at the destination much quicker. You will be notified when your test results are ready. The process should take about 4-6 weeks. 
You are provided with a Kit Number and a Password. You are also asked to provide a contact address for possible matches, which is usually an email address. If you do not have email, ask a friend or relative who is interested in genealogy, whether you can use theirs. 


“Family Tree DNA” will advise you when your results are ready, and you will also receive notice whenever another person’s test results match yours. This is a continuous process as more and more people take part in the Project. 
In the chart which lists your matches, there is a column labelled “Genetic Distance”. The number can vary from 0 to 4, with 0 indicating a very close match, and 4 being the most distant. Concentrate on the 0 matches. DNA evolves very slowly, and even a very close match may mean that the common ancestor to you both is quite a few generations back. 

The results of the Project to date have varied. A man in Australia and a man in America suddenly discovered that they shared common great-great-grandparents from England, but neither man, for all their extensive family researches, had previously known that there was a large branch of the family on the other side of the world! Others have found a match, but it has needed research back to records for the 1700s and 1600s before the common ancestor was discovered. Some people have not yet found a match, but this is likely to change as the number of participants in the Project increases. 

Even without a match, the results are still very interesting. Other information you learn concerns your “Ancestral Origins”, or the countries which feature in your genetic make-up. And there are “Migration Maps” which show how humans have spread out over the world over thousands of years, and which locate the geographic region, or Haplogroup, where your particular ancestor originated. 

Please be aware that DNA does not do your research for you. (Unless you are lucky enough to make a match with someone who has already prepared an extensive family chart!) You still need to have the names and dates of at least some of your ancestors, so that you have records to compare with any matches you make. The further back you research your own genealogy, the more chance there is of you finding the link on another person’s family chart. Finally, if you have had your DNA tested with another firm, you do not have to repeat this test, if you do not want to. Just contact “Family Tree DNA” and ask for your previous results to be transferred to the Butler Project. There is a fee. From the Southern Cross Region, December 2017 –