Descendants of 'unknown' BUTLER (to contribute information, please email

Second Generation

2. George James BUTLER ('unknown' ) was born about 1795 in Dublin. He died on 8 Apr 1870 in 29a Haymarket, London. He was buried on 11 Apr 1870 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.

George was a musical instrument maker in Dublin and later in London, with a manufacturing company that would be run by several generations of his descendants. According to William Waterhouse's 'The New Langwill Index: A Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors' (London, T. Bingham, 1993), "flourished in Dublin from 1826 as a successor to a Mr. Dollard, maker of flute, Kent-bugle, serpent and bass-horn". "The New Langwill Index" lists Algernon Rose's 'Talk with Bandsmen' (London, 1894; reprint ed., London: T. Bingham, 1996) as a secondary source for George. According to Mr. Rose, George "succeeded Mr. Dollard, who set up in Dublin about the year 1810." From the above it would appear that George took over Mr. Dollard's musical instrument business in 1926. However it appears there was already a Butler family musical instrument business in operation in Dublin prior to this if a statement made in a newspaper advertisement in the 1920s is true:

(Successor to G. BUTLER & SONS)
Being the 5th generation in direct line trading in Dublin since the rebellion of 1798.

The "J. Butler" menioned here could only have been Jennie Butler, daughter of William J. Butler who was a son of George Patrick Butler who was a son of George James Butler above. George James would therefore have been the second generation in the business, indicating that his father was also a musical instrument maker

It appears George James moved to London between 1832 and 1834 while continuing to maintain the business in Dublin. There was a branch of the business located at 34 Sackville St. (now O'Connell St.), Dublin in 1832, with a move to 59 Mary St., Dublin in 1833. Our estimated time of George's move to London is based on the fact that his eldest three children were born in Dublin between about 1828 and 1932, while the fourth, born in 1834, and subsequent children were all born in London. At that time there was a large and tight-knit Irish community in the Strand area of London where the Butlers settled.

It seems George worked for others in London for a number of years (the 1851 census of England shows that George, along with his son George, was working as a "journeyman trumpet maker"), but in 1859 it is believed that he set up his first London shop at 17 Brydge's St. in Covent Garden. According to Algernon Rose, "Mr. Butler's business was established in the Haymarket in 1826" but it seems more likely that this may have been the year he started working in London; according to the "The New Langwill Index", the Haymarket business wasn't set up until 1865.

In Dublin it is possible that George's workshop was located in the mid-1850s on Capel St. because the only Griffith's Valuation entries for a George Butler in the entire city of Dublin are for (i) 155 and 156 Capel St (warehouse, house, warerooms and small yard) and (ii) an address on what seems to be a lane between 13 and 14 Strand St. Little (just off Capel St.) where an office was rented. Part of Strand St. Little runs behind shops on the river end of Capel St. where numbers 155 and 156 are located. Griffith's Valuation was undertaken for the Capel St. area in May of 1854. However, there was a George Butler who han an ironmongery business at 16 Capel St. in the 1860s so perhaps the George Butler listed in Griffith's Valuation is the ironmonger.

According to his death certificate, our George died of "debility from age". He is buried, along with his wife, Margaret, in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London. Unfortunately, their grave was public (a cheaper option than private) and when the cemetery needed to create new private graves in 1980 public graves had their headstones removed and the public area was covered over with a new mound of earth. Although George and Margaret's grave was undisturbed no trace of it is now visible, but we do know that they were buried in plot no. 145 in section NP.

There was a musical instrument maker by the name of Thomas Butler who was born in Dublin about 15 years after George and who may have been related to him. Thomas lived in London and we have established a connection between him and George's family in that it appears that George's mother was the informant named on Thomas's death certificate. However, we have no evidence that Thomas and George were in fact related. Thomas's father's name was James and, according to Thomas's marriage certificate, James was a hatter, suggesting that Thomas and George were not brothers (based on the newspaper advert mentioned above). Then again there are indications that George's father's name was James: George's middle name, for instance, and the fact that George appears to have named his eldest son James, which ties in with the tradition at the time of naming one's eldest son after the child's paternal grandfather. However, we have no proof whatsoever that there was any blood connection between Thomas and George.

George married Margaret Lucy MEADE on 30 Dec 1827 in parish of St. Paul, Arran Quay, Dublin. Margaret was born about 1802 in Dublin. She died on 19 Nov 1868 in 29 Haymarket, London. She was buried on 21 Nov 1868 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.

We know that Margaret was born in Dublin from the 1851 census of England, and we discovered her surname from the birth certificate of her daughter Mary Ann, where it is written as 'Made'. I think it likely that Made may have been a pronunciation of the relatively common Irish name Meade (back then it wasn't unusual for names to be spelled as they were locally pronounced, such as Clary for Clery, Lahy for Leahy, etc.). Meade and Made seem to be interchangeable.

It is possible that Margaret's father's first name was Robert and her mother's Lucy because a baptismal record has been found on the Irish Genealogy website,, for a Margaritta (first names were registered in Latin at the time) Meade, daughter of Roberti and Lucia Meade, who was baptised in the parish of St. Nicholas in Dublin on 15 May 1803 (which ties in with our Margaret's age given in census returns). There was another Margaret Meade baptised around the same time in Dublin but I think it is less likely that she is our Margaret. This Margaret Meade was a daughter of Thomas and Ellen Meade and was baptised in the parish of St. Audoen in Dublin on 25 July 1803. Because our Margaret's middle name was Lucy I think it more likely that our Margaret was a daughter of Robert and Lucy's rather than Thomas and Ellen's.

Baptismal records of three other children of Robert and Lucy Meade have also been located on www.irishgenealogy,ie. All three were baptised in the parish of St. Andrew in Dublin and the baptismal day and month have not been provided for any of the three: Luisa Mead (sic) was baptised in 1809, Robert Meade was baptised in 1810 and Robert Made (sic) who was baptised in 1811 (perhaps the first Robert had died). Interestingly the name of the first Robert's sponsors include Mary Ann Butler (our Margaret would marry a George Butler). Although the above is no proper evidence of a connection between our Margaret and the family of Robert and Lucy Mead, the information from is nevertheless worth noting.  

It seems our Margaret and her husband, George, moved from Dublin to London around 1832. According to both the 1841 and 1851 censuses of England, Margaret, George and their family were living at 1 Francis Court in the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden in Westminster. In 1854 Margaret was named as the informant on the death certificate of her husband's possible relative Thomas Butler (c.1810-1854). Her address on the death certificate was 28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, which appears to have been the address at the time of her daughter Eliza and her family. By the time of the 1861 census, the Margaret and George were living at 57 Greek St. (where their musical instrument business was located) in the parish of St. Anne in Westminster and at the time of Margaret's death in 1868 they were living at 29 Haymarket (again, the address of their business). Margaret died of 'dropsy', an old term for the 'swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water, often due to congestive heart failure').

The Meade/Mead surname appears to be associated mainly with Co. Cork.

Marriage Notes:

Witnesses were James Butler and Susan Butler.

George and Margaret had the following children.

+ 3 F i Elizabeth (Eliza) Mary BUTLER was born about 1828. She died on 24 Oct 1864.
  4 M ii
James Bernard John Edward BUTLER was born about 13 Aug 1830 in Dublin. He was christened on 15 Aug 1830 in St. Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin. He died on 15 Oct 1892 in 314 Fulham Road, Kensington, London. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.

James's baptismal sponsors were John Bernard McKernan and Susana Butler.

James, who never married, was a musical instrument maker. He was living at 29 Haymarket at the time of the deaths of his father on 8 April 1870 and his brother Thomas on 24 March 1885 (James's name and address are given on the the death certificates as he was the informant). He was at the same address in September 1888 when he was appointed administrator of his brother William's estate. By the time of his death in 1892 at the age of 62 James was living at 314 Fulham Road, London.
  5 F iii
Susan BUTLER was born about 30 Dec 1831 in Dublin. She was christened on 2 Jan 1832 in St. Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin. She died after 1850.

Susan's baptismal sponsors were James Butler and Susan Butler (perhaps the same people who were witnesses to Susan's parents' marriage four years earlier).

According to the 1851 census Susan, aged 19, was working as a servant. Unfortunately we have been unable to find any documented trace of Susan after this point. At the funeral service of her brother Robert, who died in 1902, it was mentioned that he was survived by one of his two sisters. Robert actually had four sisters, Eliza, Susan, Margaret and Mary Ann. We know that Eliza had died in 1864, 38 years earlier, and therefore the speaker may not have been aware of her existence. It is likely that Margaret had died in 1889, just 13 years earlier, and it appears that Mary Ann was still living in 1881. It is a pure hunch but it seems to me that the two sisters referred to in the sermon were most probably Margaret and Mary Ann, with Mary Ann being the sister surviving Robert, Susan - like Eliza - having died a very long time beforehand.
+ 6 M iv George Patrick BUTLER was born on 2 Mar 1834. He died on 18 Apr 1911.
  7 M v
Robert BUTLER was born on 16 Jan 1836 in London. He was christened on 7 Feb 1836 in St. Patrick's Church, Westminster, London. He died on 1 Nov 1902 in St. Charles College, Bayswater, London. He was buried on 6 Nov 1902 in Lady Chapel, St. Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire.

Robert's baptismal sponsors were Isaac Joseph Fairbrother and Helena Fairbrother.

Robert studied for either one year or two at Sedgley Park School in Wolverhampton until the age of about 14 when he began studies for the priesthood at St. Edmund's College in Ware, Hertfordshire, starting in 1850. He received the Tonsure (cutting or shaving of all or part of the hair as a ritual of induction into religious life) in 1854 and the Minor Orders the following year. He was ordained Sub-deacon in St. Edmund's College Chapel on 7 March 1857 and Deacon on 27 February 1858. He then joined the newly formed Congregation of Oblates of St. Charles, based in Bayswater, London, and in September 1858 he left for Rome where he was ordained in 1860. He then returned to Bayswater where he served for about 17 years in the parish of St. Mary and All Angels.

In 1877 Robert was present at the death of Pope Pius IX. From the sermon given by Monsignor Ward at Robert's funeral we are told that "Cardinal Manning happened to come to Rome just at the time, and he brought his friend, Father Butler, with him. It was the end of December in the year 1877. I was myself in Rome, then a young layman, when he came; and together we went to the great Basilica of St. Peter, which was filled to overflowing, for a solemn Novena was going on for the dying Pontiff. It was his great ambition to assist at his death: and his wish was granted. He has often described to me the scene. There were praying round that death-bed dignitaries of the Church, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. He obtained admission in order to act if necessary as messenger, and he joined in the prayers."

Robert moved into education in 1878, becoming rector of St. Charles College, Bayswater, succeeding Cardinal Manning who had recently died. Robert held this position until his death in 1902. At the time of his death he was also President of the Conference of Catholic Colleges of England.

Robert died of 'Heart failure, Pneumonia and Pleurisy (about 3 days) and Influenza (8 days)' at St. Charles College. He was brought back to St. Edmund's to be buried on the north side of the altar of St. Edmund's College Chapel.
  8 M vi
William Isaac BUTLER was born on 10 Jan 1838 in Covent Garden, London. He was christened on 4 Feb 1838 in St. Patrick's Church, Westminster, London. He died on 23 Aug 1888 in Ordnance House, North Hyde, Heston, Middlesex. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave 7197).

William's baptismal sponsors were Isaac Joseph Fairbrother and Ellena Fairbrother. I think it likely that Ellena Fairbrother, Helena Fairbrother and Eleanor Fairbrother (the latter two being sponsors of siblings of William) are the same person.

A William Butler listed as a student at Sedgley Park School in Staffordshire in the 1851 census is likely to be our William as our William's elder brother Robert had earlier attended the school. Like Robert, William went on to become a priest. The 1861 census tells us he was an ecclesiastical student at St. Mary's College, Aston, Warwickshire; and, according to the 1871 census where he is listed as a member of the household of his brother George in Brompton Square in London, he was a Roman Catholic clergyman and vice-president of the College of Wolverhampton. By the time of the 1881 census he was ministering in Alton, Staffordshire and at the time of his death in 1888 he was living at Ordnance House, North Hyde (near Heston), Middlesex. Probate records from 1888 show that William left £121 10s 9d on his death and that his brother James had been appointed executor of the estate. According to his death certificate William died at the age of 50 of "malignant disease of stomach" at St. Mary's Orphanage (presumably attached to Ordnance House), North Hyde.
  9 F vii
Margaret BUTLER was born on 25 Jan 1840 in 1 Francis Court, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London. She was christened in St. Patrick's Church, Westminster, London. She died in probably 30 May 1889 in the convent of the Poor Clares, Cornwall Road, Kensington, London.

Margaret and Thomas were twins. Margaret's baptismal sponsors were Isaac Fairbrother and Elizabeth Fairbrother.

At the time of the 1861 census, Margaret was working as an embroideress.

The 1871 census has a 31-year-old London-born Margaret Butler, listed as a religious sister at the Poor Clares convent on Cornwall Road in Kensington. I believe this Margaret is our Margaret above. The same Margaret Butler is listed again at the convent in the 1881 census and it appears she died at the age of 49 at the same convent on 30 May 1889. Her death ertificate tells us she died of 'Cancer of Breast' and 'Exhaustion' and, surprisingly, describes her as a 'Gentle-Woman' rather than a nun or similar.

Jennie Hannigan (née Butler), a granddaughter of Margaret's brother George, has recalled hearing of a relative (identity unknown) who was a sister in an enclosed order in London. Apparently this nun became seriously ill but the order could not or would not pay for the medical treatment necessary, and when George - or his son who was also named George - learned of this  he offered to pay for the medical treatment but this was refused by the convent. George (whichever one it was) somehow managed to collect her from the convent, place her in his carriage and drive her to his home where she received the medical attention she needed and she made a good recovery. According to Jennie she never returned to the convent and became George's housekeeper instead.

Jennie's story suggests that her relative was indeed the Margaret Butler of the Poor Clares convent and also would explain why Margaret died as a 'Gentle-woman" rather than a nun. She must have returned to the convent during her final illness to be cared for by the sisters there.
  10 M viii
Thomas Aloysius BUTLER was born on 25 Jan 1840 in 1 Francis Court, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London. He was christened on 9 Feb 1840 in St. Patrick's Church, Westminster, London. He died on 24 Mar 1885 in 29 Haymarket, London. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave 7197).

Thomas and Margaret were twins. Thomas's baptismal sponsors were John Doyle and Eleanor Fairbrother.

Thomas was working as a musical instrument maker and living at 57 Greek St. at the time of the 1861 census. By 1871 he was a commercial clerk in the family business and living at 29 Haymarket with his elder brother James. According to the 1881 census he was still a commercial clerk and living at 29 Haymarket but this time he is listed as a 'lodger. Thomas's death certificate tells us that James was present at Thomas's death in 1885 at 29 Haymarket.

Thomas's cause of death was 'Congestion of liver', the duration of which was one month, and 'Enteritis' from which he had suffered for 21 days. He was only 45 years of age.
  11 F ix
Mary Ann BUTLER was born on 8 Feb 1844 in 1 Francis Court, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London. She was christened on 13 Feb 1844 in the Sardinian Church (later the Church of St. Anselm and St. Cecilia), Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, London. She died in probably after 1 Nov 1902.

On Mary Ann's birth certificate, her mother's name is written as 'Made'. This spelling was probably based on the pronunciation of the name by the family. Surnames like Meade, Regan, Whelan, etc. were often pronounced by Irish people at that time as Made, Ragan, Whalan, etc. There are no sponsors recorded on Mary Ann's baptismal record.

According to the 1861 census, Mary Ann was an embroideress. The 1881 census has a Mary Ann Butler, unmarried, aged 37 and Westminster-born, lodging at 705 Wandsworth Road, Clapham. This Mary Ann is a "gold embroidress" and so could be our Mary Ann above, daughter of George Butler and Margaret Meade. We know that only one of Mary Ann's brother Robert's sisters survived him - he died in November 1902 - and I think this sister could have been Mary Ann.

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