Mary Shelley’s Family Tree Quiz

Mary Shelley’s Family Tree Quiz

A trivial look at Mary Shelley's family tree.

From ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties to things that go bump in the night, it’s one of our favorite times of year: Halloween.

In the laboratory spotlight is Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, better known as Mary Shelley. Although she penned other novels, Shelley’s best-known for her Gothic classic, Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. Her own life reads like a nightmare on Elm Street: Born Aug. 30, 1797, in London, Shelley grew up motherless (her mom died 11 days after giving birth to her), lost a sister to suicide and buried three children.

In 1822, her husband, Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned, leaving her a widow at 25. Shelley never remarried and died in 1851 at age 53. 

To pay homage to the Queen of Halloween, we unmask her family history with this quiz. How well do you know Mary Shelley?

1. Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote

a. Dark Shadows

b. Young Frankenstein

c. The Bride of Frankenstein

d. A Vindication of the Rights of Women

 2. Shelley’s only surviving child was named

a. Victor

b. Percy Florence

c. Igor

d. Casper

e. Wednesday

3. Shelley’s paternal ancestors were from

a. England

b. Transylvania

c. Amityville

d. Sleepy Hollow

4. Because Percy Bysshe Shelley was still married, he and Mary met secretly at

a. the grave of her mother

b. Manderley

c. Salem’s Lot

d. the Black Lagoon

5. Mary and Percy Shelley eloped

a. on Halloween night

b. to France, after his wife committed suicide

c. in a horse-drawn hearse

d. in a fit of enthusiastic madness

6. The Shelleys were advocates of

a. zombies

b. the women’s movement

c. donating their bodies to science

d. vegetarianism

7. Shelley’s grandfather John Goodwin

a. was a mad scientist

b. had a buffalo hump on his left shoulder

c. owned a costume shop

d. was a professional grave robber

e. was a Nonconformist Calvinist minister

8. Shelley wrote Frankenstein

a. on a challenge from Lord Byron

b. in a house on Haunted Hill

c. to complement her husband’s play Prometheus Unbound

d. to compete with Dracula

9. Upon Percy Bysshe Shelley’s death, his heart

a. grew three sizes

b. was used in a heart transplant

c. was snatched from the funeral pyre and given to Mary

d. was donated to the Smithsonian

10. Shelley was buried

a. on a dark and stormy night

b. in Grant’s Tomb

c. in the Pet Sematary

d. in St. Peter Churchyard, Bournemouth, Dorset, England


1. d. The British feminist’s seminal work argued that women weren’t inferior to men, but they lacked the education to gain equal footing in society.

2. b

3. a

4. a

5. b. He married 16-year-old Harriet Westbrook Aug. 28, 1811. She drowned herself Dec. 30, 1816.

6. d

7. e

8. a. Byron challenged the three writers – Percy, Mary and himself – to see who could write the best ghost story.

9. c. Edward Trelawny snatched Percy’s heart and gave it to Mary, who kept it the rest of her life. The heart was interred next to her grave.

10. d


Number of correct answers:

8-10 Celebrity Savvy

6-7 Notably Knowledgeable

4-5 Star Crossed

0-3 Infamously Ignorant

From the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine

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