Family tree of Ernest SHACKLETON

Explorer - 20th century

IrishBorn Ernest Henry SHACKLETON

Anglo-Irish explorer

Born on February 15, 1874 in Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland

Died on January 5, 1922 in South Georgia Island

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Shackleton's father, Henry, and mother, born Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan, were of Anglo-Irish ancestry. Ernest was the second of their ten children and the first of two sons; the second, Frank, would achieve notoriety as a suspect, later exonerated, in the 1907 theft of Ireland's Crown Jewels. In 1880, when Ernest was six, Henry Shackleton gave up his life as a landowner to study medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, moving his family into the city. Four years later, the family moved again, from Ireland to Sydenham in suburban London. Partly this was in search of better professional prospects for the newly qualified doctor, but another factor may have been unease about their Anglo-Irish ancestry, following the assassination by Irish nationalists of Lord Frederick Cavendish, the British Chief Secretary for Ireland, in 1882.

From early childhood Shackleton was a voracious reader, which sparked a passion for adventure. He was schooled by a governess until the age of eleven, when he began at Fir Lodge Preparatory School in West Hill, Dulwich in south east London. At the age of thirteen, he entered Dulwich College, also in Dulwich, a leading independent school for boys. The young Shackleton did not distinguish himself as a scholar, and was reputedly said to be "bored" by his studies. He was quoted later as saying: "I never learned much geography at school....Literature, too, consisted in the dissection, the parsing, the analysing of certain passages from our great poets and prose-writers...teachers should be very careful not to spoil [their pupils'] taste for poetry for all time by making it a task and an imposition." In his final term at the school, however, he was able to achieve fifth place in his class of thirty-one.


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Geographical origins

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