Henry / Hendrik Zaple (Zapple)

You will see I have made a lot of progress on the early ZAPLE family. I am a member of the Society of Genealogists in London and got all the early register entries from a Devon F.H.S. CD-ROM there. I too have the earliest male ancestor as Henry ZAPLE who died in March 1815 aged 78 years.

We wouldn’t know more than that he was born around 1737 from this, but I put ZAPLE into the Catalogue search for the National Archives and it give one entry for a Hendrik ZAPLE on 4.10.1783 applying, with others, to be an in pensioner at Greenwich Hospital after service in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines [sic – they weren’t “Royal” until 1802] or the Naval Dockyards (ref. ADM 6/225/74). I went to the National Archives and got the page of the minute book which gives his details an Hendrick ZAPLE o.p. (out pensioner) aged 45, with 23 years service, discharged in June 1783 having been a Marine, with the comment that he “has the Palsey” and the application minuted on 4th October 1783. There is no result shown.

So we have a Marine with the same name, albeit in a German form, and with dates very close to Henry who died in Plymouth in 1815 and was rumoured to be German. Given the extreme rarity of the surname in the U.K. coupled with the same Christian name; a year of birth that is very close for HZ who died in 1815 and from the ages/dates for the Marine HZ; and his living in the town where HZ enlisted, I am satisfied they are the same person.

I went back to the National Archives in recent days and started going through the Marines early service records. After several hours I found Henrick ZAPLE named in the Description Books 1763-1789 (TNA ref. ADM158/283) This is an index for nos. 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36 & 39 Marine Companies only from the Plymouth Division –all surnames from A-Z mixed, unlike rest of part 158 for Plymouth, which is by letter and year.

Page 135 - Description pages for 39th Company
Corporal Henrick ZAPLE from 156th Company on 7.1.1773. aged 33, 5’ 9”, born Germany (In “County” Column) Morpeth in both Town and Parish Columns. He enlisted at Plymouth and he was a labourer by trade. His description is LB (Light Brown) hair, pale complexion, grey eyes with a large cut on right cheek. On 14.9.1773 he was reduced to Private (no reason stated) and was transcribed onto p. 118 below.

Page 118 - Description pages for 39th Company
(Private) Henrick ZAPLE from Corporal on 15.9.1773, rest of the columns dashed through (- - - - - - ) to “reason for removal from roll” column where it is states discharged - dated 26.6.1783

Aged 33 in 1773 makes him born 1739-40 –other evidence suggests 1738. He cannot have started in the 156th Company as there weren’t that many in 1759-60 when he enlisted – probably he was moved there on promotion to Corporal. There are, as far as I’m aware no extant papers for this Company, and no description books for Plymouth Division as early as 1759-60.

“Morpeth” doesn’t make sense. I haven’t found anywhere in Germany with this name, although I haven’t got to a really detailed gazetteer yet. I suppose it is possible that the book states he was born in Germany, but gives the town and parish where he first arrived/lived in England (Morpeth, Northumberland is close to the ports around Newcastle, which would be a natural landfall for ships from Germany. I’m not keen on that theory, however, and suspect that the clerk has mangled the name of his home town in Germany. I wonder if it might be Mo(o)rbek, which is now part on Norderstedt, in Holstein, north of Hamberg. This is the closest name I’ve found, but there is Morweg, Moorbach, Morsbach, etc., etc. The IGI has nothing at all for ZAPLE, but your surname extract suggests this is only an anglicized form. There isn’t anything in the eighteenth century to speak of for ZAP(P)EL(L) on the IGI for Germany and no Hen(d)ricks at all.

I also went through the establishment lists in ADM 151-153. This has only a couple of sample years of what are essentially pay returns for the Marines who happen to be ashore from the various companies which make up the administrative elements of the three divisions - Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham, into which the Marines were divided from 1755-1783+. The 1763 ones had no trace of Hendrick, so I assume he was on a ship or stationed overseas then. This was the end of the Seven Years War so quite a few Marines were ashore. The box covering 1772-1784 (ADM/153) does have him, with the 39th Company (as he was to his discharge from 1773) billeted in Plymouth between 1.7.1778 and 30.9.1778, receiving £2 6/- (92 days at 6d per day). Sadly, he is not marked out as going to a ship in the period, as many of his colleagues were. Any Ship’s books would have more personal details and, I hope, a better rendition of his home town. They are in ADM 36-39 and will be a long hard search to find him mustered on a particular ship. This box ADM/153, incidentally, has the pay returns for the Grenadier, Light and 4 line companies forming the “American Battalion” of Marines which went ashore to fight in the American Revolutionary War. Hendrick wasn’t among these, although a Corporal and several Marines from the 39th Company were.

I trust this is of interest to you and can be used to add to your Zaple family web-site. I’ll keep you posted on any further work I do on Ships Musters, etc. and particularly my next priority, which is to find his (second) marriage to Phillippa and any children he might have had with 1st wife Elizabeth TOTHILL. Getting the original marriage entry from the Devon Record Office or the Devon & Cornwall Record Society's Library in Exeter would be useful – The CD-ROM shows there is “additional information” on the entry – hopefully it says he is a Marine! Any earlier children presumably died or are all daughters who married as they don’t appear in the record by 1790+ when he started the family we know of.


Richard Rossington