This blog is not about all Butler YDNA, but about my father in law Richard’s YDNA. His results came in this week, so I thought I’d write a little about them. As he had 10 children, I thought that they might be interested.
The Butlers are Irish. They are believed to come from the Kilkenny area. However, the documentation for that is not the best. Michael Butler was b. in Ireland around 1810. His son, Edward was b. in the 1830’s and made his way to the New World. He likely arrived in St. John, New Brunswick where he married Mary Crowley in 1855. I mention more details in my Blog on the Butler Brick Wall.
Deep Roots of the Butlers and Family Lore
My wife says that Butler is a Norman French name. She says the Butler name came from the fact that they were wine tasters. According to Ancestry.com:
Butler Name Meaning
English and Irish: from a word that originally denoted a wine steward, usually the chief servant of a medieval household, from Norman French butuiller (Old French bouteillier, Latin buticularius, from buticula ‘bottle’). In the large households of royalty and the most powerful nobility, the title came to denote an officer of high rank and responsibility, only nominally concerned with the supply of wine, if at all.
I had been a little skeptical about the family lore and figured that the Butler YDNA would be typically Irish which is R1b. According to Family Tree DNA:
R1b, which originated in western Europe, is the most common Y-DNA haplogroup among Irish men, at a frequency of about 81.5%. I1 is the second most common with 6%, followed by I2b at 5%, R1a at 2.5%, and E1b1b at 2%. G2a is found in only about 1%. Also rare are I2a (1%) and J2 (1%).
So What Did the Results Show?
I was wrong. According to FTDNA my father in law is I-M223. According to FTDNA:
I-M223 was known as I2b1 and is now known as I2a2a by ISOGG
ISOGG is the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. I’m not sure if that means that our Butler is in the 5% or 1% group in Ireland. However, they are either quite rare or very rare there. So I signed up my father in law for the Butler YDNA project and also the I-M223 Project at FTDNA. At the I-M223 project, they put him in the group with others that are fairly close matches. Three have the name Butler and one has the name Whitson. That makes me feel like we are on the right track. It is not unusual to have other surnames match on the YDNA line. However, it is better to not be in the minority. The FTDNA group further put my father in law Richard into this curious category:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52- M223>…>L701>P78>S25733>A427: test I-M223 SNP Pack or I-M223 SNP Pack or S23612
This is a group with a lot of numbers. These first numbers probably went back to when someone could tell there was a certain signature in the YDNA results, but all the SNP tests weren’t developed yet. The second numbers are the SNP tests that the administrator thinks Richard would pass if he were to take them all. That is good, because it puts him several steps down the SNP tree. The last part is what the administrator wants the tester to do. One is to take a test that will test several SNPs. The other is to test for a specific SNP. In this case, the SNP is S23612.
Origins of the I-M223 Haplogroup
The I-M223 Haplogroup came into existence about around 17,600 years before present (ybp). Give or take a few thousand. The A427 branch is much more recent at 5,200 ybp. According to one YDNA Butler match to Richard, he feels that the origin of this branch of Butler that didn’t test positive for S23612 was in England and before that Germany. Some information from the Eupedia website also mentions that the L701 branch may have arisen from the Goths. I can imagine a stimulating dinner conversation with the Butler family: “So, I hear that the Butlers are descended from the Goths.” “What…???? I thought that we were descended from the Normans”. Who knows, maybe the Goths moved into France at some point and mixed with the Normans. Or they could’ve moved from Germany to England where the Normans were and then made their way to Ireland. I’m sure that there are many possible scenarios.
More Recent Connections
Two of the more recent Butler YDNA matches to Richard had roots in Ireland, so that makes sense. One had his earliest known Butler ancestor from the border of Laois and Kilkenny County. That is shown by a blue balloon below. That match had a GD or Genetic Distance of 4. The other was from Wexford and had a GD of 2 with Richard.
This shows some likelihood of having a common ancestor within a certain number of generations when your match has a GD of 4:
Here is a match with a GD of 2. Note the differences in Percentages.
Kilkenny or Wexford?
The 2 GD match who had a mariner Butler ancestor in Wexford is interesting for 2 reasons. When Edward H Butler, the son of Edward Butler, the immigrant ancestor died in 1925, he listed his father as being born in County Wexford, Ireland. The second reason is that the photo we have of the immigrant Edward Butler shows him in a sailor outfit.
Compare the above with the image of sailors our helpful YDNA Butler relative sent:
Perhaps Edward Butler had mariner background in Ireland or perhaps he was in the Navy in the American Civil War.
Two Death Certificates
Here is Edward Butler’s Death Certificate from 1915 showing that he and his two parents were born in Kilkenny
Ten years later in 1925, his son, Edward H Butler died and recorded that his father was born in County Wexford, Ireland. Why had his birthplace changed in 10 years?
So although the YDNA results don’t clarify the death certificates, they are consistent with where the death certificates say the Butlers were from!