Shapleigh Family Association

Shapleigh Name Derivations

Shapleigh Name Derivations
The Shapleigh Coat of Arms
The Shapleighs of England and America
Favorite Family Photos
Alexander Shapleigh's Family Tree - the first four generations in America
Shapleigh Hardware Company
Shapleigh Family Association History
Annual Family Reunion
The Shapleigh Song
Cemetery Restorations
Newsletter - The Shapleigh Chronicles
Membership Form
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Are You a Shapleigh, Shapley, Shipley, Sheppelegh??

    The derivation of the name Shapleigh is a matter of conjecture. The association of Shapleighs with the moors which fill the high center of Devon (England) is fascinating. There are today a half dozen names referring to Shapleigh or to places of families associated with the Shapleighs; there are scattered remains of modest stone houses and villages of the meanest sort.

     In the distant past names were taken and derived from the local origin -- from the names of towns, cities, and landed estates. Many variations of the same name are evident. It should be remembered that few, if any, of the early inhabitants were able to write their own name -- all records and instruments being written by scribes who wrote names as phonetically pronounced. One finds, in fact, in the same parish register names written as if referring to different individuals when they really meant the same person.

     Thus we find Shapleigh, Shapley, Shipley, de Shapels, de la Shapele, Chapelle, and finally Scapelie (as written in Domesday Book).

     Is the name Shapleigh Anglo-Saxon? Or is it Norman? A good case may be made for either one.

     The "Mayors" of the borough of Totnes (England) are listed on a wall of the Guild Hall -- and to this date are still there. Among those listed as serving are "Shapwicks" and "Shapleighs." One Devon record included a John "Shappelegh at Breton Manor in Exminster. Other records include: Shyppeley, Sheeley, Shipleye and Shipley.

     Our Shapleigh Family Association is made up of descendants of Alexander Shapleigh, specifically, so our lines pretty much exclude other surname spellings, even though we might all be the same family prior to our Alexander's generation. However, to assist in those searching for Shapley genealogy we recommend searching for various other spellings of Shapleigh, especially "Shapley". Wonderful sources of information regarding the Shapley lines include Dr. Brian Berry's books, including Westward the American Shapleys. In addition, we have provided some websites/places to search that may be of interest to the researcher:


The Shapley forum currently serves all variations that seem obvious. (Harlow Shapley was a famous American astronomer!)


U.S Gen Web Project


which includes a genealogy of the Thomas R. Shapley - Devon - family.


Site which includes Shapley Genealogy and Family History including databases which contain Shapley genealogy records.  

Shapley City Directories and Census

San Francisco, California 1922 City Directory - S

Seattle, Washington 1923 City Directory - S

El Paso, Texas 1927 City Directory - S

1930 Harrisburg City Directory - S

Utica, New York 1874 City Directory - S

Utica, New York 1867-8 City Directory - S

Auburn, New York 1906 City Directory - S

Auburn, NY 1897-98 City Directory - S

Omaha, Nebraska 1914 City Directory - S

Minneapolis, Minnesota 1909 City Directory - S

All Shapley surname in City Directories from the 1800s and early 1900s

Shapley Death Records


Social Security Records

Shapley Burial Records

Shapley Burial Records on

Shapley Military Records

Colorado Casualties in the Vietnam War - S

Shapley Surname in General Databases

Search Shapley on - the world's largest pedigree linked database  

Shapley search results at  

Search MyCinnamonToast for Shapley

Search through the Ancestral File, IGI, Pedigree resource File, SSDI, Vital records Index and Family History Web Sites at the Mormon Family Search site for Shapley records

Search ancestor guide for Shapley surname search resources.

Shapley Surname in Passenger Lists

Etc. Etc.  Good luck!

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