Where did I find her baptism?
The Catholic Parish Registers were recently made available on the National Library of Ireland's website: http://www.nli.ie/en/parish-register.aspx.
Because these baptism records are not indexed, they need to be searched by reading through pages of handwriting, some of which is quite scribbled and very difficult to read. Some of the pages are also very damaged at the edges. However, in the last few months, a wonderful woman named Marie Crowley has been diligently transcribing these records. Thanks to Marie!
For a great account of how to systematically search these registers, see the following post on Lorine McGinnis Schulze's The Olive Tree Genealogy blog:
So, when was Margaret BUTLER born and baptised? 1853
My great-grandmother's name was Margaret BUTLER. Her parents were John BUTLER and Mary FITZPATRICK, also from County Clare.
The story in our family was that she was born on 25 or 26 August. However, we were never sure of the year of her birth. Based on later records of hers from when she was living in Australia (birth of her children, death records, etc.), I had guessed that she was born around 1855 or 1856. However, by looking through the Catholic Parish Registers (National Library of Ireland), I found her baptism record in the August 1853 - October 1853 records in Kilmurry Ibricken; County of Clare; Diocese of Killaloe (Microfilm 02486 / 01, Page 174). These records show that she was baptised on 11 September 1853 in the small town of Doolaugh. Her parents were John Butler and Mary Fitzpatrick and the sponsor or godparent at the baptism was Mary McMahon.
Sponsor: Mary McMahon
When were Margaret BUTLER's siblings baptised?
Firstly, for the record, here are a list of the Butler siblings and an indication of whether or not (as far as we currently know) they migrated to Australia:
- Michael BUTLER (arrived in Australia on 22 July 1878, on the Earl Dalhousie)
- Margaret BUTLER (arrived in Australia on 2 March 1880, on the Norval, sponsored by brother Michael)
- Bridget BUTLER (don't think she migrated to Australia)
- James BUTLER (arrived in Australia 16 January 1882, on the Forfarshire, with his sister Maria, sponsored by sister Margaret)
- Thomas BUTLER (arrived in Australia on 13 January 1884, on the Selkirkshire, with his brother, Patrick)
- Maria BUTLER (arrived in Australia 16 January 1882, on the Forfarshire, with her brother James, sponsored by sister Margaret)
- Patrick James BUTLER (arrived in Australia on 13 January 1884, on the Selkirkshire, with his brother, Thomas)
- Ellen Josephine BUTLER (arrived in Australia on 2 April 1885, on the Merkara)
Michael BUTLER (baptised 1852)
Sponsor: Mary McMahon
Bridget BUTLER (baptised 1856)
Sponsor: Mary Gallery
James BUTLER (baptised 1858)
Sponsor: Mary Malony
Patrick BUTLER (baptised 1860)
Thomas BUTLER (baptised 1862)
Mary/Maria BUTLER (baptised 1865)
Maria BUTLER was probably born in the first few months of 1865 or the last few months of 1864 since her baptism is recorded on 5 February 1865, at Doolough. Her baptism records were found in the Kilmurry Ibricken; County of Clare; Diocese of Killaloe Baptisms of December. 1864 to February 1865 (Microfilm 02486 / 01, Page 248, no. 1751).
Ellen BUTLER (baptised 1868)
Why couldn't I find records of Margaret Butler's baptism before this?
The main reason I was not able to find her baptism record was that the Catholic Parish Registers only became available online during the last few weeks.
Margaret had also reduced her age in some of the key documents about her life in Australia (migration, marriage and children's birth certificates), making me think that she was born in 1855 or 1856 instead of 1853.
The other reason that I think I was misled in my previous searches for her birth or baptism records is that my great-grandmother, Margaret BUTLER, always said she was from Kilmihil, County Clare, Ireland. However, she was actually born in Doolough, Doolough (meaning black lake, in Irish). Doolough and Kilmihil are about 10km apart.