2019 Updates on Butler DNA

I recently posted an update on Butler genealogy. Here is an update on Butler DNA. I have found that DNA matches work well to get good genealogical results. For the Butler project, the two main relevant test are YDNA and the autosomal DNA tests. I have discovered new relatives through both the YDNA tests and the autosomal DNA test results.

Butler YDNA and the BigY Test – I-Y128364

The two major YDNA tests are the Big Y and the STR testing. Two Butlers have taken the Big Y test. One is my late father-in-law. The other is Peter from England. This has placed my wife’s Butler family (and Peter’s) on the YDNA tree. That Place is called I-Y128364. This is actually an I2 Group. This is further broken down to I-M223 (or I2-M223). One way to show I-Y128364 is on FTDNA’s Block Tree:

The discovery of I-Y128364 is important as it describes the specific branch of Butlers that Peter, my father-in-law Richard’s family and other related Butlers belong to.

I-M223 was formed about 15,000 years ago. There is more branching that goes on, but this just shows the direct line from I-M223 to I-A427. At that point it shows additional branching. One way to get a rough date for the common ancestor is to take their average number of private variants (shown in the green boxes above) and multiply those by 144 years. This results in a common ancestor for Peter and Richard of about 288 years. Richard was born in the 1930’s, but we’ll use 1940 as a starting date. That would give a rough date of 1650 for a common ancestor between Peter and Richard. The average man has his middle child at age 34, so 288 years turns out to be about 8.5 generations.

Here is a migration map for the I Haplogroup:

The question is how the Butler’s got to Ireland. One possibility is through the Normans. These were Norse men who lived in France and invaded England. Some of those would have ended up in Ireland also. Other routes are possible.

Here is a more detailed look from SNP Tracker:

The Butler ancestors were in Southern Germany from the later Paleolithic to the early Neolithic. The one Bronze Age SNP is shown in the water. I take this to mean that these people could have been in Scandinavia or around the North Sea where the blue dot is. Iron and Roman Ages are missing and then we end up in Ireland in the Medieval period. The Medieval period was from 476 to 1450 AD. So between the blue dot and orange dot above, a lot of time goes by. The light dot in the North Sea represents a tester by the last name of Batt. The common ancestor between Batt and Butler was about 700 years ago.

Butler YDNA and the STR Test

Here is how Peter and Richard match on their STR test:

Peter and Richard match on all but 6 STRs out of the 111 tested. Plus they match on all but 6 STRs on the 412 STRs identified by the BigY results. Here is the TIP Report for Richard and Peter:

Richard and Peter have a 60% chance of having a common ancestor within 8 generations.

Neil – the Newest STR Match

Neil, who has Butler ancestors from Wexford has taken the 37 STR test. His results came back in July 2019. He matches my father-in-law Richard exactly at the 37 STR level. Here is the TIP Report between Neil and Richard:

I put in the report that Richard and Neil did not share an ancestor within the last three generations. The 37 STR test is not as accurate as the 111 STR test, so more variation may be expected in the results. Neil, Richard and Peter are all in the Butler YDNA Project at FTDNA:

Neil’s ancestor is Richard Butler born 1817 in Wexford. Neil and my father-in-law Richard share at value of 32 for a STR called DYS389ii. None of the other Butler testers share this value, so this value likely defines the specific branch of Butlers that Neil and Richard are in. Likewise, Peter and the descendant of Laurence Butler born 1830 Wexford share a value of 23 for a STR called DYS570. That STR likely defines their Butler Branch.

Neil is very likely a closer match to my father-in-law Richard than Peter is. He may also be a family finder match by autosomal DNA. Peter suggests that the older Butler line was from Wexford and branched out from there. It appears that the limited DNA matches would support that also. Based on the closeness of Neil’s DNA test to my wife’s Butler family, renewed effort is being made to make a genealogical connection.

Butler STR Overview

There are 576 members in the FTDNA Butler YDNA Project. These represent most of the Butlers and related families who have had STRs tested. Of those 576, most of the Butlers and associated families are R1b. These are probably what are considered traditionally as the more Celtic or native people to the British Isles. Of those 576, about 49 or 8.5% are I1. According to FTDNA, I1 has a common ancestor of about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. 25 Butlers or associated families are listed as I2 in the Butler YDNA Project. This represents 4.3% of the people in the Butler YDNA project. Of those 25 I2’s, all but three are I-M223. According to FTDNA, the I-M223 Tree is about 17,400 years old. That means that the Block tree I showed earlier in this Blog represents well over 17,000 years of “Butler” history. Of course, the Butler name was only attached to this history since some time in the last 1,000 years.

How does this compare to Ireland in general? Here is part of a Eupedia.com Chart:

From what I can tell, this represents percentages of Haplogroups. Above, I found that 4.3% of the Butlers were I2. From the above chart, it appears that about 6% of Irish are I2 (adding I2a and I2b). A review of the Butler YDNA Project results shows that the Butler’s in general were from many different Counties in Ireland and had many different Haplotypes. That means that no one Haplotype can be associated with the Butler name. However, different branches of Butlers can be associated with specific haplotypes.

Butler Autosomal DNA

In general, it could be said that the YDNA tests take over at the point that the autosomal DNA tests fade away. What that means is that autosomal DNA matches may be found with this probability:

The hope is that once these matches are found that there would be a genealogical connection or possible connection. Around the point where the autosomal results fade out, say about the 5th cousin level, the YDNA tests are helpful for establishing relationships going back hundreds and thousands of years. With the BigY tests, and closest matches for the STR tests, these results may overlap.

Finding New Butler Relatives Through DNA

I have found new Butler relatives through DNA matches in the following three categories:

  • Relatives who have common Butler ancestors that we already knew about
  • Relatives who have Butler ancestors that we hadn’t known about previously. Right now, the main Butler ancestor that we found out about is George Butler born in Wexford, Ireland and died in Cincinnati. It is clear that he was related to my wife’s ancestor Edward Henry Butler. But we don’t know exactly how. They may have been first cousins.
  • Relatives who have common ancestors with Butlers, but those ancestors perhaps go back beyond the time when there were good records kept – or the connection has not yet been discovered. Therefore, the connection to a comman ancestor┬ámay not be clear, but the connection to an area may be guessed at – such as Weford, Ireland. A good example of this category would be with Peter who is a YDNA match, but we don’t know who the exact common ancestor is.

Here are some lines that were discovered by autosomal DNA Matches:

This tree represents two branches that are real branches. Some of the descendants of the Henry Branch on the left match some of the descendants of Michael Butler Branch on the right. I have put the two together as potential brothers to explain the DNA matches.

Brian and Nathan (Butler/Whitty LIne)

Brian and Nathan descend from George Butler and his first wife Mary Whitty. This couple moved from Ireland to Cincinnati where they had Mary Ann. Mary Ann moved to St John, New Brunswick where she married and had descendants including Brian and Nathan who have had their autosomal DNA tested.

Nathan is in green because he has uploaded his DNA results to Gedmatch. Here is how Nathan matches my father-in-law, Richard:

A MRCA of 4.5 suggests a third cousin, once removed. By the tree above, Richard and Nathan would be fourth cousins, twice removed.

Brian tested at AncestryDNA and has a large match with my wife’s Aunt Lorraine:

The Problem with Brian and Lorraine

Ancestry predicts that Lorraine and Brian should be third cousins by the amount of DNA they share. By my proposed chart they would be fourth cousins, once removed. It seems like Lorraine and Brian share too much DNA to be 4th cousins, once removed. Here is part of a 2017 chart showing reported ranges of DNA matching for different relationships:

The highest reported DNA match for a 4C1R is 117 cM. That seems to rule out the chart I have above unless Brian and Lorraine match on another line such as the Crowley line. If Lorraine and Brian are actually third cousins, once removed, that leads to some strange conclusions. That would mean that Henry Butler is actually Michael Butler and that Ann Russel is actually Margaret Croke. Or that Henry/Michael Butler had two wives and that Lorraine and Brian are half third cousins once removed. I don’t know of DNA statistics for 1/2 3C1R, but 147 cM seems like it would be high for that relationship also. Another possibility is that Edward Henry Butler was the son of Henry Butler and Ann Russel but adopted by Michael Butler and Margaret Croke.

Here is how Brian matches my wife’s Aunt Virginia:

Ancestry suggests a 4th cousin match which is more in line with the proposed tree that I have showing that Lorraine and Brian could be fourth cousins, once removed.

Patty and Kim (Butler/Sinnett or Sinnott Line)

Patty matches Lorraine at 39 cM and Virginia at 30 cM which is more in line with my proposed chart. My proposed chart showed Lorraine and Virginia as 4th cousins. 35 cM is an average match for a 4th cousin.

Here is Patty’s tree:

Patty has a shared match with Terri. Here is Terri’s tree:

My guess is that Elmer could be a brother of George. Based on this 1920 Marriage record, that was the case:

That means that I can expand the Butler DNA match/genealogy tree:

Terri matches Virginia by 26 cM and doesn’t match Lorraine.

Kim at gedmatch

Kim’s DNA results are at Gedmatch. Here are three of her DNA matches with people on my larger chart:

Summary and Conclusions

  • In this Blog, I tried to give an overview of all the different types of applicable DNA matching results to my wife’s Butler Line
  • These DNA matches have resulted in finding new Butler relatives and a renewed effort to find genealogical connections.
  • One surprising result is that Brian and Lorraine match by too much DNA for them to be fourth cousins, once removed. If Brian and Lorraine don’t match on other family lines, then it would appear that their ancestors George and Edward Henry would have been brothers rather than 1st cousins. One scenario would have Edward Henry as the son of Henry Butler and Ann Russel and adopted by Michael Butler and Margaret Croke. This would explain why no birth record has been found for Edward H as the son of Michael Butler and Margaret Croke.Although this explanation answers some questions, it also raises other questions. If Edward was the son of Henry Butler, then why does family tradition say that he was the son of Michael Butler?


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