General Henry Fisher Shrapnel (1761-1842)

This name is incorrect!

A case of mistaken identity for North American researchers

This mythical name and several variants appear on many Family Trees featured on the internet sponsored by several major family history websites. It is a complete misnomer because it is a combination of the names of TWO men from different branches of the SHRAPNEL(L) family. Each of their sons went to North America in the mid-1800s and started their own lineage, both first in Canada, then spilling into U.S.A. Take the name Fisher out of the equation, replace it by Scrope you have the name of General HENRY (SCROPE) SHRAPNEL, whose son was one of the migrants. The other was WILLIAM FISHER SHRAPNELL (1788-1870), likewise whose son was a migrant. Also confusing is the fact that there were three WILLIAM FISHER SHRAPNELLs including the formers more famous uncle of the same name (see Edward Jenner link elsewhere on this site do NOT relate to this WILLIAM who had no North American descendants).


Unfortunately, many researchers have made the mistake of copying these basic errors and placing themselves on the wrong tree or a fictitious merging of two!


There are several separate SHRAPNEL(L) families historically in North America (Can/USA), i.e., those with the single 'l' and those with double 'l' both migrated from the UK'. Correctly the progenitors of the two of these branches relevant to this issue are:


1) Captain HENRY NEEDHAM SCROPE SHRAPNEL (1812-1896) who was the second son of General HENRY SHRAPNEL (1761-1842), both from Wiltshire, England. The Captain was appointed Barrack Master of Quebec. In the mid-1800s he took his wife and many of his 17 children and they settled in Orillia, Quebec and a massive tree in Canada evolved of whom there are now very many descendants through female lines. However, none remain with the name Shrapnel! Virtually all of this line spells the name SHRAPNEL with the single l and many have SCROPE as a middle name. This latter is a family name two generations away from a marriage in 1752 at Colerne in Wiltshire. Although it was correct the General did not use Scrope in his name though the family used it on his death memorial, albeit with the date incorrect by 7 years!



The other correct tree is:

2) ELIJAH SHRAPNELL, (1826-1906) a farmer, was the son of WILLIAM FISHER SHRAPNELL (1788-1870) from Wiltshire, England. Emigrating with his brother GEORGE and sister ELIZABETH to Ontario the brothers established the double l branch. GEORGE had 6 issue, but only one (SOPHIE) who married GEORGE died 1906 at Ingersoll. ELIJAH, however, had 5 issue of whom 2 sons produced many descendants today but only one group with the name remains. ELIJAH died at Bridgehampton in 1906.


On one internet tree there are two Generals mentioned, there has only ever been one, i.e.,

General Henry Shrapnell (1761-1842).


It has be said that there are many more glaring errors in online trees e.g., WILLIAM FISHER SHRAPNELL above, credited incorrectly as being the son of JOHN SHRAPNELL and MARY HILL, the latter couple were progenitors for a Bath, Somerset, UK branch of the tree, not this one. Someone has come up with the notion that General HENRY married a SUSANNA HASWELL in 1791, this was not so. She married WILLIAM ROWSON in 1791; this is confirmed by an account of their lives in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which match all the stated dates correctly.


So there in a nutshell are some of the unfortunate errors which have multiplied and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. Descendants of the above for the sake of future generations would be wise to check they have the correct link. There are, of course, more recent emigrations to North America but they come from UK links to other branches of the family.