86th (The Royal County of Down) Regiment of Foot

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By John O |

Hi, I'm trying to get as much information on my wife's gg grandfather, James Butler. He was in the above regiment, regimental number 728.

I have a record from Ancestry from the UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Soldier Service Records, 1760 - 1920, service start date 1831 when he was 18 and ended 1852. He was born according to that in Leighlin, Carlow about 1831.

I also have an Ancestry record from the British Army, Worldwide Index 1841 transcription when he was a Private in Dublin for the regiment. The final Ancestry record is when he was a Sergeant in 1852 and discharged by court martial. He completed 20 years service as well as UK, Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900 when he enlisted.

I am really trying to find out who his parents were. I nknow in 1952 his spouse was Elizabeth, but don't know her surname or anything about her. My wife's great grandmother, Johanna Butler, was born in Poona in Feb 1852 according to the baptismal record when James was still a Sergeant. 

There are a few more records on Fold3 and www.forces-war-records.co.uk but they are both subscription and wondering if anyone here can find out any further information on him.

Many thanks, John

 

John,

I can send you his regimental records, if you let me know your contact details. They consist of 8 pages covering details of his attestation, service, promotions (and reductions in rank), his description on enlistment and discharge, and details of his courts martial. Yes, there was more than one. These were regimental courts martial so not quite as serious as they sound. Offences included absence without leave (3 occasions), breaking arrest (once) and drunkeness. He wasn't discharged because of the courts martial, but on medical grounds. He was found unfit for further service due to rheumatism and the effects of serving in the tropics (ie India). his discharge was dated 2 December 1852.

Thanks for the offer Andy, I have PM'd you. As he was born in Carlow, some Facebook forum members thought that he may be related to the eminent Butler family from Carlow, going back to James Bulter. 1st and 2nd Duke of Ormonde in Ireland.

However, 'my' James was a labourer when he enlisted, and was only a Private and a Sergeant. I would have thought that if he were part of that family, he would have gone in as an NCO or similar. Maybe he is the black sheep of the family laugh. His daughter Johanna did marry into the White family of Waterford, who were chemists and well known in that region at the time, and for many years after. James was deceased when she married in 1885. I thought he might have dioed in service, but was invalided out and a record of Chelsea pensioner's service is on record.

Are the documents Andy is offering the ones that you have seen on Fold3 or are there more?  If there are more have you found the links to these via Ancestry?  Can you provide any of the searches that came up with these results?

Mary,

As far as I can tell based on the tiny thumbnails and partly obscured images on Fold3 and Forces War Records, the documents I have sent John are different. However I may be completely wrong. TNA did not refer to Ancestry, Fold 3 or FWR, only FMP as an alternative source of the records I've sent John. I don't currently have a subscription to Ancestry.

I think that I have most of the records from Ancestry and FMP relating to his period of military service. The documents that Andy kindly provided has him as a single man on joining service in 1831, and when he was discharged in 1852, had 2 daughters. As he served for 20 years, I'm not sure whether he would have come home in the period and been married to Elizabeth, but I cannot find a marriage entry on any site, be it Irish or Indian records. I could always make a note and wait for Fold3 to have another free weekend, or bite the bullet and subscribe to Forces War records. Now it is mainly his wife and his parents that I'm after, but obviously being born c1813 makes it more difficult. 

I think that I have most of the records from Ancestry and FMP relating to his period of military service. The documents that Andy kindly provided has him as a single man on joining service in 1831, and when he was discharged in 1852, had 2 daughters. As he served for 20 years, I'm not sure whether he would have come home in the period and been married to Elizabeth, but I cannot find a marriage entry on any site, be it Irish or Indian records. I could always make a note and wait for Fold3 to have another free weekend, or bite the bullet and subscribe to Forces War records. Now it is mainly his wife and his parents that I'm after, but obviously being born c1813 makes it more difficult. 

John,

The regiment was in the West Indies until May 1837.  However the periods of absence were in 1834, 1835 and 1838, and his regimental court martial on each occasion was held at Haslar Barracks near Gosport, so I don't think he was with the regiment in the West Indies. Haslar is likely to be where the regimental depot was based. Once the Regiment returned to the UK, the depot joined the rest of the regiment at Chatham before moving to Salford Barracks, Manchester. They then moved to Dublin in June 1840 where they remained until 1842 when they moved to India.

I suspect the periods of absence may indicate he was single at that point and was possibly spending time with his girlfriend; alternatively he was already married but his wife was living elsewhere, perhaps with her family, and he was going to see her. Since the first two occasions were when he was, presumably, at Haslar, that may also provide a clue to where he met his wife to be.

His record says that he had no further entries on his conduct sheet from October 1840 (ie when the regiment was in Ireland), which in my military experience, is the sign of a man settling down to married life and taking his responsibilities more seriously. 

I'm afraid Fold3 hold only the 3 Court Marshall records already sent by Andy.  No marriage or birth details.  

I have never known Forces War Records to have anything unique so don't waste your money if you think that there might be something available on either Ancestry or Fold3, always ask.

Thanks both for your help so far. Following on from Andy's comments, it seems I may have to widen my search to find the marriage and then hopefully the father's names at least. I have had a look at Irishgenealogy.ie for a marriage, but there is only one entry for a James Butler marrying an Elizabeth in County Kildare in 1848. His occupation is shown as labourer, which he was, but presumably if he married whilst in service would his occupation be shown as soldier or Sergeant? Andy has said that the regiment went to India in 1842 so it rules that out anyway.

The Chelsea pensioner soldier record has a link to Fold3 if anyone has a subscription. This is the Ancestry page with the link: 

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=dnv8165&_phstart=s…

https://www.fold3.com/image/585281815/?xid=1022

Off to FreeBMD now....

Or Ireland, given that the Regiment went there shortly after they were married. I wonder if the 1841 census will show up anything for Elizabeth Butler's family in Salford, and whether she is with them or not. Update: No nothing comes up for John Tully in Salford in 1841. Although there are 8 or 9 Elizabeth Butlers in Salford/Manchester, all are either the wrong age or living in a Butler household so are, presumably, unmarried.

Pigot and Slater's 1841 Directory of Manchester and Salford only has one entry for a John Tully, at 22 Wharf Street, Canal Street, with no occupation given. In the Trades section there's no hairdresser named John Tully.

The only John Tully I can find and a Hairdresser, 1826 Directory, Leeds.

Lever Street, 1841, has no numbers recorded, other records has James Petty at 33, if in order, 36 was occupied by Samuel Hallsworth, Surgeon, who had a Female Servent. Perhaps Elizabeth Tully's previous employer.

You beat me to it, Bert

1851 Census

Duke Street, Boston, Lincs

Thomas Tully Hd marr 26 Engine Fitter, born Birstle, Yorkshire [written Birstle, but probably should be Birstall which is in West Riding]

Rebecca Tully Wife marr 27 born Cork, Ireland

+lodger

Name Catharine Tully

Sex Female

Christening Date 2 Feb 1823

Christening Place Birstall, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom

Father's Name John Tully

Mother's Name Elizabeth

Wow surprise thank you all. I keep away for half a day and you wonderful people come up with all of this information. That is fantastic and can't wait to investigate further. yes

Forgot to mention, Catharine Butler and Johanna M Butler (my wife's g grandmother) were born in India in 1848 and 1852 repectively. 

Forgot to mention, Catharine Butler and Johanna M Butler (my wife's g grandmother) were born in India in 1848 and 1852 repectively. 

Not forgetting Thomas Butler, 1846, India?

Hi Bert, thanks for looking that one up. Not sure if it is the same family; it seemed that my James had continuous service in the 86th Foot from 1831 to 1852, whereas the James you mentioned is in the 80th in 1846. Good spot though.

OK John,

Haven't seen any records that mention the regiment.

John,

Have you seen this page from the GRO indexes? Quite a few Butler births in Bombay apart from Catherine and Johanna

Hi Andy, no, I have never thought about using GRO. I see Johanna and Catharine are both on the list, but many more for Bombay births as well between 1842 and 1852 when they were stationed at Poona. I must actually order copy birth certificates for them both and research the others. I found that India Office family history search website is quite useful also. Thanks for the screenshot. 

Poona is about 95 miles South East of Bombay (Mumbai). However I think the entries for the Register may have been centralised at the Residencies which is why the 3 main places in India which are mentiond in the GRO indexes are Bombay, Madras and Bengal. The individual garrisons such as Poona would have forwarded their registrations to their Residency. It might also be the case that the wives were moved to the military hospitals for the birth, in which case Bombay may have been the nearest. Prior to the Mutiny in 1857 the East India Company provided the British administrative infrastructure, and true British rule by the Crown was only established after the Mutiny when the EIC was abolished.

Hi Bert, my fault, I never mentioned his regimental number, which was 728. 

John, you're not at fault, you mentioned it in your opening post.

Between 1842-1852 only 3 births in India from the records I can see have the father, James or Jas and a mother Elizabeth.

Concerning Jas, father of Thomas, 1846, how do you know he was in the 80th?


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