The Butler Society

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The Butler Society
Established 1967
Contact Info
Address 2 Evans Houses, Harbour Road, Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
Society Officers
President Sir Richard Butler, Bart.

The Butler Society is a one-name society. The name Butler is an occupational name, but it used to have a slightly different meaning. In large medieval households the Butler was the person in charge of the wine. Since many powerful nobles lived in fear of being poisoned, this was a position of considerable trust. There are a number of different families called Butler, some of which can be traced back to origins in different medieval households in the British Isles. On starting research, few will know from which group of Butler families their own particular family originates. For this reason, The Butler Society deliberately sets out to be a one-name society.


On 29 August 1965, the late Patrick Butler, 28th Lord Dunboyne, gave an address on "Butler Family History" in Kilkenny Castle, for hundreds of years the seat of the main branch of the Butler family in Ireland. The lecture was given to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, at the invitation of the late Hubert Butler, the well-known man of letters of Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

The lecture was so well attended that Lord Dunboyne, Hubert Butler and the late George Butler decided to found The Butler Society. The first meeting was originally planned for 1966 but the three men learned that the late Arthur Butler, 6th Marquess of Ormonde and 30th Chief Butler of Ireland, was planning to give Kilkenny Castle, his ancestral home since 1391, to the people of Kilkenny in 1967. The two occasions were combined. Butlers from many countries gathered at Kilkenny to witness the handing over of the Castle and The Butler Society was founded in August 1967.

Originally founded as strictly a society of descendants of the Chief Butlers of Ireland, the society evolved into a one-name society. It has grown into a truly international society since that time.

Research Facilities

     Their research centre is located at 179-181 Princes Street, Dundee, Scotland. Their centre is filled with a wonderful collection of reference materials as well as genealogical and local history records to aid anyone researching their roots in the Tay Valley. There are also computers to access the records that are available online.

     The Tay Valley encompasses the former counties of Dundee, Angus, Fife, Kinross and Perthshire. They are a membership society and research is free to members of the society. The society has very knowledgeable volunteer staff who provide excellent research guidance and assistance to all who come doing family historical research.


     Volunteers have donated countless hours to recording local graveyard inscriptions that are put on CD. In addition they have created census indexes and many other valuable records to aid the genealogical researcher. Their store is available online here.

     Their website has a page set up just for 'Useful Links'. The links have been divided into groups along with some helpful 'General Links' along with many other valuable links to help both the family historian and the genealogist with ancestors in Tay Valley.