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 nuture old ties and develop new connections.
To presrve 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 ties of blood, marriage and inter-family relationships may be strengthened and preserved.
The Butler Society crest has a ducal coronet, with a plume of five ostrich feathers issuing from it, and is
surmounted by a falcon rising. The ducal coronet refers to the Dukes of Ormonde, a Butler family who
served many English royal households, and acquired a large number of manors and estates in England
and Ireland. For over 500 years their principal residence in Ireland was Kilkenny Castle, and this remains
the focal point of The Butler Society today. The falcon on the crest represents the personal heraldic device
of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn's grandmother was Lady Margaret Butler, a
daughter of Thomas Butler, the 7th Earl of Ormonde.
International Rallies are held every three years in Kilkenny, Ireland, and members of the Society from all over the world meet there to attend a number of functions.
The last Rally was held in August 2015, and events included a Reception in Kilkenny Castle; visits to stately homes connected to Butler families; several interestingtalks relating to Butler family histories; and a grand dinner in Kilkenny Castle.
Members attended from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The next International Rally will be held in August 2017, in Kilkenny, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Butler Society.
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
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!
A Journal is published and distributed every three years from Ireland. It contains many well-researched articles concerning individual Butlers or their family histories, submitted by Butler Society members from all over the world.
Register of First Butlers in Australia
Members are encouraged to provide details of their first Butlers to arrive in Australia — who they were, where they came from, where they landed, the date, etc. The stories behind what brought Butlers to Australia are many and varied, and make very interesting reading. Several members have uncovered a common ancestor through this register.By this means we have been able to put people in touch with branches of their family of which they previously had no knowledge!
Over the years, members have donated photographs, memorabilia, booklets, and various documents to the Society. These are now being collected in to a central Archive, and an index is being prepared. The next stage will be to decide how the various items can be scanned and recorded digitally, so interstate members can access the information.
Database of Australian Genealogies
Almost all of our members have researched their family histories. The Society is currently investigating how this information can be combined on a central database, so that all members can share the results of that work.
Butler DNA Project
If you are interested in adding another dimension to your genealogy researches, you may wish to participate
in a Butler DNA Project. Descendants from a common ancestor share the same genetic code, even
if the various branches of the family have dispersed around the world. This Project originally focussed on
the male DNA, that is the Y-DNA, because the surname of Butler traditionally passes down the male line.
However, the Project has now been extended to include female DNA – the mtDNA - and is called “The
Butler Group Project”.
Quite a few people, both men and women, who trace their genealogy through a
female Butler, and who therefore do not necessarily replicate the Butler surname, are still interested to
know the details of their genetic inheritance. Because the Butler Group Project also includes testing for
the mtDNA, this may assist with finding a connection to a previously unknown descendant of a greatgrandmother
or great-aunt, as well as connecting men through their male ancestry, with their inherited YDNA.
The Butler Group Project has been set up with “Family Tree DNA”, an American firm.
A number of firms
throughout the world undertake DNA tests, and it must be understand that we are not saying you must
use this one particular firm. However, there is obviously an advantage in concentrating as many test results
as possible in one location, as this will provide more chances of your results finding a match with
another participant. If you are interested, open up the website www.familytreedna.com, then click on
“Projects”, then “Surname Projects”, and open up “The Butler Group Project” under the initial “B”. Note
that the prices quoted are in American dollars. But remember that your DNA is shared by other members
of your family, so, for instance, brothers and their father and the sons of the brothers can share the cost
of the Y-DNA test because the results will apply to them all. Likewise, sisters and their mother, and the
daughters of the sisters, can share the cost of the mtDNA test because the results will apply to them all.
If you would like more information about this Project, please contact the Butler Society at email@example.com.
Butlers of Note
Over the years, many Butlers have made a significant contribution to the Australian community, in the fields of business, politics, arts or sports, or by providing leadership or introducing innovations in their locality.
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 the details of Butlers who have made a notable contribution to the Australian community.