Ernest Shackleton was born on February 15, 1874, in Kilkea near Athy, County Kildare, Ireland, about 30 miles (48 km) from Dublin. 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.

Ernest Shackleton's Family Tree