Butters History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Butters was first used as a surname by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The ancestors of the Butters family lived in the counties of Perth and Fife (now in the modern regions of Tayside and Fife, respectively), and is likely from the village of Buttergask in the parish of Ardoch.

Researchers have mixed feelings about the origin of the name. One source notes "Boterus and Botorus are found as personal names in Domesday Book." [1] Another found in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae, a listing of "Ralph and Sylvester Butor in Normandy in 1198." [2] And another claims the name is from "the Old Norse, Buttr; from the Danish, Butho; from the Dutch, Boot, Buter, Butti; from the French, Buteau." [3]

Early Origins of the Butters family

The surname Butters was first found in Fife and Perthshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Further to the south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: John le Butur, Cambridgeshire; John le Botur, Cambridgeshire; and John Botere, Huntingdonshire. [4]

Early History of the Butters family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Butters research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1672, 1767, 1664 and 1608 are included under the topic Early Butters History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Butters Spelling Variations

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Butters has appeared Buttar, Butter, Butters, Buttars and others.

Early Notables of the Butters family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Butters Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Butters migration to the United States +

Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Butters:

Butters Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • P H Butters, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • G S Butters, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • John Butters, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [5]
  • Ada Butters, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from England, in 1892
  • Ethel A. Butters, aged 12, who immigrated to the United States from London, in 1892
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Butters Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Fergus Butters, aged 38, who landed in America from England, in 1901
  • Charles Butters, aged 45, who settled in America, in 1904
  • George Butters, aged 24, who immigrated to America from Sydney, Australia, in 1908
  • Archibald Butters, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Fife, Scotland, in 1910
  • Charles M. Butters, aged 34, who landed in America, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Butters migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Butters Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • George Price Butters, aged 41, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1908
  • Henry Butters, aged 30, who settled in Hamilton, Canada, in 1914

Australia Butters migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Butters Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Butters, (b. 1813), aged 26 born in Morval, Cornwall, UK convicted in Cornwall on 15th October 1839, sentenced for 15 years for housebreaking, transported aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1840 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Thomas Butters, (b. 1789), aged 50 born in Morval, Cornwall, UK convicted in Cornwall on 31st December 1839, sentenced for 10 years for stealing potatoes, transported aboard the ship "Lord Lyndoch" in 1840 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Richard Butters, (b. 1813), aged 26, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 13th October 1839, sentenced for 15 years for housebreaking, transported aboard the ship "Mandarin" on 24th February 1840 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Thomas Butters, (b. 1789), aged 50, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 31st December 1839, sentenced for 10 years for stealing 4 gallons of potatoes from John Orr, transported aboard the ship "Lord Lyndoch" on 7th September 1840 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [7]
  • John Butters, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1848 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Butters migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Butters Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Butters, (b. 1833), aged 27, British farm labourer travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1860 [9]
  • Mrs. Martha Butters, (b. 1835), aged 25, British settler travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1860 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Butters (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Arden Butters (1939-2016), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1962 to 1965)
  • William Joseph Butters (b. 1951), retired American professional ice hockey player
  • MaryJane Butters (b. 1953), American internationally recognized organic farmer, book author, environmental activist, and food manufacturer
  • Shirley S. Butters, American Democrat politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Missouri, 1968-71 [10]
  • Reuben Butters, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives, 1857-58, 1863-64; Member of Minnesota State Senate, 1866-68 [10]
  • George W. Butters, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for Minnesota, 1908 [10]
  • Thomas H. "Tom" Butters CM (1925-2015), Canadian politician from Northwest Territories, MLA Western Arctic (1970-1975), MLA Inuvik (1975-1991)
  • Adrian Butters (b. 1988), Canadian-born, Guyanese international soccer player
  • Frederick "Fred" A. Butters, English former professional rugby league footballer
  • Frank Joseph Arthur Butters (1878-1957), English racehorse trainer
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Margaret Butters, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [11]


The Butters Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Diriget Deus
Motto Translation: God will direct it.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM - EMIGRANT SHIP - 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848DavidMalcolm.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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