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The crew kept the ship running smoothly and it took a cast of thousands to keep this huge vessel running smoothly.

The 322 stewards and twenty-three female crew aboard performing more than fifty-seven different functions in the dining saloon’s of each class, public rooms, cabins and recreational facilities. Today we would refer to these men and women as a waiter, waitress, maid, or attendant.

Each class had their own bath and bedroom stewards. These included keeping the areas were supplied, assisting passengers with dressing and serve passengers that desire to eat in their room. These poorly paid crew members were responsible for anywhere from three to twenty five rooms depending on their clientele. Separate stewards were responsible for maintaining clean bed sheets, bathroom towels and table linens.

There were sixty-two individuals working in the galley and kitchen. These consisted of chefs, cooks, bakers, butchers, and scullions {dishwashers}. Thirteen of these crew members survived.

The Purser’s Office employed four clerks to deal with the passenger’s needs and requests.

Below ship the engineers and coal men worked to keep the engines running smoothly. Their sleeping conditions were cramped bunk rooms.

Above deck Captain Smith and his officers were on duty to steer and navigate the vessel.

Below is just a few of the crew that worked on this beautiful ship:

Captain Edward John Smith had been working for the White Star Line since 1880. He quickly rose through the ranks to become the favorite Captain of many first class passengers. He was known as the “Millionaire’s Captain” and some passengers would only sail with him. He was regarded as a “safe captain” in 1903. He captained such ships as the Majestic, Baltic and Adriatic, all the largest ships of their days. When Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, launched in 1911, Captain Smith was put in charge. He had a reputation as the one of the world’s most experienced sea captain. He was in charge of the Olympic when it collided with the HMS Hawke on September 20, 1911. The repairs on Olympic pushed back Titanic’s maiden voyage almost three weeks. Most reports stated that Captain Smith planned to retire after Titanic’s maiden voyage. However according to Wikipedia the Halifax Morning Chronicle reported on April 9, 1912 that “Smith would remain in charge of Titanic “until the Company (White Star Line) completed a larger and finer steamer.” On the night of April 14, 1912 he attended a dinner party in honor of George Widener. Stories vary as to how Captain Smith spent his final moments, but he went down with his ship. His body was never recovered. Edward J. Smith left behind a wife and young daughter. A monument was erected to him in Lichfield, England.

Violet Jessop was the oldest of nine children. She began working on the Olympic in October 1910 as a stewardess. She was aboard when the vessel collided with the HMS Hawke. She was on the Titanic’s maiden voyage in the same capacity. She was ordered into lifeboat 16, where she cared for an infant. She said the next morning on the Carpathia a woman grabbed the child without saying a word. After the Titanic sinking, she served on the Olympic and Britannic. She was aboard the Britannic in 1916 when the ship hit a mine and sunk in the Aegean Sea. She said she was sucked under and later pulled into a lifeboat. She continued working for the White Star Line and later the Red Star Line, where she took two around the world cruises. At some point she wrote her memoir which were not published until after her 1971 death.

Harold Bride and Jack Phillips were the two British wireless telegraphists that worked tirelessly after the Titanic collided with an iceberg. Phillips was from Surrey, England. He began work for the Marconi Company in 1906 and worked on several ships for both the White Star Line and Cunard Line. Bride was the youngest of five children from London, England. He began working for the Marconi Company in 1911. On April 11, the day the ship sailed, the duo celebrated Philips 25th birthday. On Saturday there was equipment failure and it took all day for them to get it back up and running properly. Reports show Philips delayed in transmitting an iceberg warning to the bridge, at 9:30pm, that could have prevented this disaster. Philips sent out CQD and SOS messages while Bride ran messages back and forth to the Captain. Bride reported that Phillips continued working after Captain Smith released them at 2am. Both men were swept overboard and swam to overturned lifeboat B. Phillips did not survive, and Bride said he’d most likely exhausted himself earlier. Bride survived and assisted the wireless operator on the Carpathia. He had to be carried off of the Carpathia due to injuries to his feet. He continued to work as a Marconi officer aboard ship vessels and died in 1956.

William Murdock was on the bridge during the collision. He worked diligently to help load the lifeboats. He had sixteen years maritime experience behind him. He served as First Officer on the Maiden Voyage. The body of the Scotsman was never found.

Harold Lowe was from Wales. He claimed to run away at fourteen and begin a life at sea. The Titanic was his first trip on the North Atlantic. He was put in lifeboat 14 to help row. He later gathered five lifeboats together and tied them to one another, as he redistributed the passengers. He took the only lifeboat that returned to look for survivors in the water. He picked up four survivors, one of which died in the lifeboat. He remained at sea and joined the Royal Naval Reserve during WWI. He died in 1944.

Charles Lightoller was from Lancashire, England. He went to sea at the age of thirteen and by 1895 survived a cyclone, shipwreck and fire at sea. He briefly left the sea life for other pursuits but soon returned. He served as Second Officer on the Maiden Voyage. He helped load the lifeboats. Once in the water he saw for Collapsible Boat B and stayed upon it all night. He was the most senior surviving officer to survive. He served in both WWI and WWII British Navy. He died in 1952.

Frederick Fleet was a lookout for the Titanic when she hit the iceberg. He’d been at sea for nine years by the time of the Titanic disaster. He reported “Iceberg Right Ahead” to the bridge. He helped load the boats, survived and continued working on the sea until 1936. He died in 1964.

Charles Joughin was the chief baker that survived the cold 28 degrees of the Atlantic because of his alcohol level. At the time of the sinking he and some other chefs were filling the lifeboats with food and supplies. By all accounts he refused a lifeboat for himself, although he helped others board and threw deck chairs overboard. At some point he found time to consume a considerable amount of spirits. By all reports he stepped off the bow as the ship went down and into the water where he remained for over three hours. His testimony said he swam and treaded water until he was pulled into a lifeboat after daylight. He died in 1956.

Musicianssee my article on these heroes

There were five postal clerks, two American and three British. The five clerks worked to save the 200 bags of registered mail as the hauled the to the upper decks. None of these men survived.

There were twenty five engineers and ten electricians and boilermakers aboard ship. These men were the highest paid of the crew and none of them survived. These men worked feverishly after the collision to keep the ship afloat as long as possible. These men had also been battling a fire in Boiler Room 6 for most of the voyage. There were apparently 163 stokers to keep the boilers running. Only a handful of the stokers, trimmers and greasers survived. A memorial was erected to these men in Liverpool, England. PBS is currently running a very interesting special about these men and the work called “Saving the Titanic.

First Class, Second Class, Third Class information

Third class passengers were in the steerage. They were primarily immigrants moving to the United States and Canada for a better life. Third class consisted of diverse groups of nationalities and ethnic groups, although the largest number of passengers were British, Irish or Scandinavian. Other countries represented included Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Lebanon, Syria and Hong Kong. Passengers ranged from those traveling alone, to single moms traveling with their children {most were going to join their husbands who were already settled in their new homeland} to large family groups.

A third class ticket ranged from seven to forty pounds, which would be approximately $700 today. Children’s tickets were three pounds {about $300 today}. Depending on their port of departure, some tickets also included the price for rail travel.

I was surprised in my research to discover that third class had automatic flushing toilets, while first class did not. The reason being most “third class passengers were unfamiliar with indoor plumbing and may not remember {or understand} the need to flush the toilets themselves”.


Third class life was a lot simpler than what the first and second class passengers were enjoying. Third class passengers had a simple berth which was shared with other passengers, along with a smoking room and general room.

Third class passengers had to make their own fun. Children would have played on deck and as represented in the popular 1997 film, it is very possible that an impromptu dance took place.

Meals on the Titanic were very simple for the Third Class, but succulent compared to what these passengers might be familiar with on land. Third class only had one course that was served. The menu found for the night of the sinking consisted of soup, roasted pork, two or three vegetables, pudding and biscuits. Looking at the menu it seems this is the noontime meal {compared to the large meals being in the evening for the First Class and Second Class}. Third class would enjoy tea in the midafternoon with beef and biscuits. Later in the evening coffee was served with a soup and some biscuits.

Before boarding the vessel Third Class Passengers were given a health inspection to check for disease, lice and other infectious infections. The gates were present but they were there to prevent the third class from spreading disease to the upper classes.

Third class was the group hardest hit by the disaster and experiencing the greatest loss of life. The reasons for this are numerous, including but not limited to: first and second class given more importance, many did not understand the true magnitude of the disaster right after the collision with the Titanic, at least some of the third class gates remained locked, and many of the passengers that were non-English speaking did not understand.

Sadly there were some families that were completely lost in the sinking. I am including more information about a few of these below:

The Goodwin Family were from Fulham, England. Frederick was an electrician, and married to Augusta. They had six children. The family were moving to New York, where Frederick’s brother procured him a job in a power station. The entire family was lost.

The Sage Family were from London, England. John George Sage married Annie Elizabeth Cazaly and had nine surviving children by the time they sailed on the Titanic. The family was relocating to Jacksonville, Florida where John planned to grow pecan nuts. Some reports say that daughter, Stella, reached a lifeboat but got out when the rest of her family could not join her. The entire family of eleven perished. Only the body of son, Will, was recovered.

The Andersson Family was from Sweden. Johan and Alfrida had five children. Traveling to Stanton, Iowa. The family was traveling with Alfrida’s sister, Anna Danbom and her family. A traveling companion, Anna Nysten, was the only survivor of the group of eleven.

Milvina Dean was the last survivor of the Titanic upon her death on May 31, 2009. She was only nine weeks old at the time of the sinking. She was traveling with her parents, Frank and Georgette, and brother, Bertram. The family was immigrating to Wichita, Kansas where her father had a cousin. Bertram was separated from his mother and sister and not reunited until they were on the Carpathia. Her father perished in the disaster and the family returned to England in May. Milvina did not know she’d been on the Titanic until her mother told her when she was eight years old. She worked for the British Government during WWII. Her brother, Bert, died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in 1992.

Frank Goldsmith was traveling with his parents, Frank and Emily Alice. The family was from Kent, England and immigrating to Detroit, Michigan. Emily was the only one of nine children that had not moved her family across the Atlantic. The father, Frank, went down with the Titanic. Frank lived near Tiger Stadium, where the crowds were so loud they reminded him of the sounds made as people perished in the water. He never took his children to a baseball game because of this. Emily died in 1955. Frank died in 1982.

Rhoda Abbott, better known as Rosa, was the only woman to be plucked out of the cold Atlantic waters that survived. She was travelling with her two sons, Roosmore Edward {age 16} and Eugene Joseph {age 13}, and they were returning from a trip to England. The family had just retired on the night of April 14 when they were awakened by the scraping sound on the side of the ship. The seriousness of the situation was not realized until a steward came around thirty minutes later. The group reached deck as the last of the distress rockets were fired and the last lifeboat was being loaded. Rhoda refused to enter the lifeboat, realizing her sons would not be allowed. All three of them were swept off of the deck and her motherly instinct fought to keep her sons near her. Rhoda resurfaced but her sons did not. Someone reached out and pulled her into Collapsible boat A from the water. Rhoda and the other occupants stayed in the swamped, water filled boat until Officer Lowe arrived later with Lifeboat 14. Rhoda struggled to comprehend her loss and suffered with health problems due to the cold water for the rest of her life. She later remarried but was unable to have more children. She died in 1946.

The second class passengers on the Titanic were what we would consider today to be the middle class. The travelers in second class consisted of professors, authors, clergymen, and tourist. Many of these passengers would have traveled as first class on other vessels. A second class ticket at that time cost approximately 13 to 79 pounds, which would be the equivalent of $1800 today.

The entrance to the Second Class dining room was nowhere as beautiful and magnificent as the well know First Class Grand Staircase. The second class passengers did have a library and smoke room in addition to their dining hall.

In contrast to the Ten Courses First Class Passengers had for dinner, Second Class Passengers only enjoyed three courses. The first course would consist of soup, the second course was the main meal, and the third course were the desserts which were followed by coffee.

The following are a sampling of 2nd class passengers:

Father Thomas Byles was on his way to New York to officiate at his brother’s wedding. On Sunday morning he said mass in both the second and third class lounges. He was walking the upper deck when the Titanic struck the iceberg. He helped third class passengers to the boat deck and lifeboats. Near the end he is reported to hear confessions, recite the rosary and give absolution. He went down with the ship and his body was never identified. There was one other priest in second class, Father Joseph Peruschitz, who also perished. Lawrence Beesley reported both men were together hearing confessions.

Rev. John Harper was a Baptist minister. He was born in Scotland in 1872 and began preaching by the age of 18. In 1912 he was serving a church in London. He was traveling with his daughter and sister-in-law to preach at the Moody Church in America. By the time he boarded the Titanic the thirty-nine year old was a widower. His daughter and niece were safely placed in a lifeboat. Survivors reported Rev. Harper preached the gospel until the very end, “converting those in the freezing water before dying in it himself.”

Lawrence Beesley was a teacher and wrote the first published account of the Titanic disaster just nine weeks after the event. He was reading in his cabin when the collision occurred. He died in 1967.

Joseph Laroche was the only black passenger on the doomed liner. He was travelling with his French wife and their two daughters. He held an engineering degree and was returning to his native Haiti for work. The family boarded the Titanic after discovering that aboard the La France their daughters would not be allowed to dine with them. Joseph perished with the ship. His wife and daughters returned to Paris, where his wife gave birth to a son.

Michel Navratil had kidnapped his two children, three and a half year old Michel Jr and two year old Edmond, when he boarded the Titanic. He was travelling under the name Louis M. Hoffman. He placed his sons in Collapsible D, the last lifeboat launched. His body was recovered and buried in Halifax. Articles ran on “Titanic Orphans” in hopes of finding information on their family. Until their mother was located they stayed with first class passenger, Margaret Hays. Their mother, Marcelle, sailed to New York and reunited with her sons on May 16, 1912 before taking her sons back to France. Edmond joined the French Army during WWII where he was captured as a prisoner of war. He escaped, but it affected his health and he died in 1953 at the age of 43. Michel received his doctorate and became a professor of philosophy before he died at the age of 92 in 2001.

Benjamin Hart was traveling with his wife, Esther, and daughter, Eva. The family was traveling to Winnipeg, Canada. Esther felt that to call the ship unsinkable was to “fly in the face of God” and felt uneasy about the voyage. Benjamin did not survive. His wife died in 1928. Eva was haunted by nightmares, which she confronted head on after her mother’s death. She worked as a singer and magistrate in England. She was one of the most outspoken survivor’s and remained active in Titanic related activities until her death in 1996. She said: “If a ship is torpedoed, that’s war,” she once said. “If it strikes a rock in a storm, that’s nature. But just to die because there weren’t enough lifeboats, that’s ridiculous.”

Kate Phillips was nineteen and traveling with her married employer, Henry Samuel Morley, under the assumed name Mrs. Marshall. Her daughter, Ellen, is believed to have been conceived on the Titanic. Morley perished and Kate Phillips returned to her home in England. Their daughter was born in January of the following year and raised by Kate’s parents.

Annie Clemmer Funk was a missionary in India, returning to her home in Bally, Pennsylvania. She’d been away for over six years and was returning because of her mother’s ill health. The ship was an incredible contrast to her life and work in Janjgir, India. Annie was boarding a lifeboat when a woman rushed past shouting for her children. She gave up her seat for this woman. Her family didn’t know she was on Titanic, because she’d been moved from another ship due to the coal strike. Six years earlier on her journey to India she wrote “Our heavenly Father is as near to us on sea as on land”.

Edwina Troutt was scheduled to travel on the Oceanic, but transferred to the Titanic because of the coal strike going on at the time. While boarding the lifeboat, she was handed a five month old child, which she held all night. She died in 1984, six months after her 100th birthday.

The first class passengers on the Titanic were living in the lap of luxury. Some of the richest people in the world were traveling on the Titanic for her maiden voyage. This included prominent members of the upper-class that included politicians, businessmen, bankers, professional athletes, industrialists and high-ranking military personnel. Most of those on in first class were traveling with an entourage which might include one or all of the following: a nurse for the children, a maid, valet, cook, and chauffer. A first class ticket ranged anywhere from thirty pounds to 870 pounds. In today’s money you could expect to pay an average of $70,000 per first class ticket. The more expensive rooms were a parlor suite and usually had a private promenade deck.

Everyone is familiar with the breathtaking Grand Staircase with the glass dome over it, but the Titanic had many other amenities, including electricity and the wireless Marconi system. Other amenities found on the First Class deck included a Parisian Café, A La Carte Restaurant, tea gardens, reception room, verandah café, heated swimming pool, gymnasium, library, squash court, barbershop, kennel, elevators, smoking room, Turkish bath, dining saloon, reading and writing rooms, and enclosed promenade decks to walk and sit on. Many first class passengers had their pets with them on the voyage {two dogs were saved}.

The Titanic sailed during the Edwardian Age where the food and wine flowed freely and people still dressed for dinner. On deck a bugler will signal the dinner hour had arrived. A meal was an experience and not something to be rushed through. All first class meals provided numerous options to choose from. Lunch seemed to be more laid back with either a buffet or a special request from the grill. In the book “Last Dinner on the Titanic” the author provides menus for meals that consist of ten to fourteen courses. A first class menu was found after the sinking for Sunday, April 14, 1912 {the night of the disaster}. The menu for that evening consisted of the following: the first course consisted of an hors d’oeuvres; second course had a selection of soups; third course was a poached salmon; fourth course consisted of filet mignon with vegetables; fifth course gave you a choice of lamb, duck or beef with more vegetables; sixth course was a punch to clean the palate; seventh course was a roast squab, ninth course was a pate and the tenth course consisted of deserts such as pudding, fruit, ice cream, etc. Different wines were served with each course and following the last course fresh fruit and cheeses were available. The men would then excuse themselves to retire to the smoking room for coffee, cigars and their desired spirits.

People of this era knew nothing but a life of opulence and grandeur. There were those few that had planned to be on the Titanic but had to cancel at the last minute for various reasons. A few of these were J.P Morgan and Milton Hershey. Ironically Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt I cancelled his trip on the Titanic at the last minute, but died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 {the ship Titanic was built to rival}.

Listed below is a small sampling of some of the First Class Passengers traveling on the Titanic for her maiden voyage:

John Jacob Astor IV was the richest man on the ship. He inherited millions and made millions more in real estate, but also had other business interest. One of these other interest was a novel he published in 1894. He built the Astoria Hotel, labeled “the world’s most luxurious hotel.” He divorced his first wife in 1909 and at the age of 47 married 18 year old, Madeleine Force, in 1911. His new wife was a year younger than his son, Vincent. Their marriage caused a scandal and the couple decided to honeymoon Europe and Egypt. Margaret Brown also accompanied the couple on their travels abroad. The couple decided to return home to New York when they discovered Madeleine was expecting. John Jacob put Madeleine in a lifeboat on the Titanic. His body was recovered and there are conflicting reports on the condition of the body. {Most I read say he was badly mangled, but I have seen a few that say his body was in perfect condition.} The belief is that one of the funnels fell on him. Madeline gave birth to John Jacob Astor VI on August 14, 1912. Madeline married two more times and died in 1940.


Margaret Brown was coined The Unsinkable Molly Brown by Hollywood. She was never called Molly in real life, though. Her friends would have called her Maggie. She was born in Missouri to Irish immigrants. In 1886 she married James Joseph {JJ} Brown and had two children. JJ Brown eventually became one of the most successful mining men in the United States and the family became very rich. Margaret became very involved with politics and women’s suffrage. She was spending time with John Jacob Astor and his wife in Egypt, when word reached her that her grandson was ill. Titanic was the next ship to reach New York, so she booked passage. Due to the haste of these decisions few knew she was even on the Titanic. Upon the Carpathia, Margaret worked nonstop to help the other survivors. She was the last Titanic survivor to disembarked from the Carpathia at 3am. While aboard the Carpathia she’d helped establish the Survivor’s Committee. She continued to travel and help the less fortunate before her death in 1932.


Isidor Strauss was co-owner of Macy’s department store. He’d also served in the US House of Representatives. In 1871 he married Rosalie Ida Blun and the couple had seven children. After the Titanic hit the iceberg, Ida refused to leave her husband, reportedly saying “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” They were last seen sitting on the deck holding hands. His body was recovered, but hers was never found.


Dorothy Gibson was born in 1889 and a silent film actress. She was also a singer and dancer, appearing on Broadway. She was artist Harrison Fisher’s favorite model. After being rescued from the Titanic, she went on to make a film about the ordeal a month later. Saved from the Titanic is her best known performance, although the film no longer survives. In the film she played herself and wore the same clothes she had on the night of the disaster. It is reported that she was playing bridge at the time of the disaster. She died in France in 1946.


Archibald Butt was an influential military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. He was returning home from a six week vacation. When the ship hit the iceberg, he was playing cards in the first class smoking lounge. He went down with the ship and his body was never recovered. It is reported that both President Roosevelt and President Taft took the loss very hard.


Bruce Ismay conceived of the Titanic at a dinner with Lord Pirrie {Harland and Wolff Shipyard} in 1907. The duo decided to build three ships {Olympic, Titanic, Britannic} to rival Cunard Line’s Lusitania and Mauretania. He entered a lifeboat and was saved. Reports differ as to when in the evacuation he entered the lifeboat. He was shunned and heralded a coward by many because he allowed himself to be rescued. He testified in the hearings that he turned away in the final moments and could not watch the Titanic make its final plunge. He stayed out of the public eye until his death in 1937.


Thomas Andrews was the designer and oversaw the building of RMS Titanic and her sister ship, RMS Olympic. He was familiar with every detail of these two vessels. After the collision, Captain Smith summoned him to survey the damage. He had the overwhelming job of informing the Captain of the ship’s imminent sinking. As the evacuation began, Andrews searched for passengers and encouraged them to put their lifebelts on. He went down with the ship he helped create and his body was never found.


The story of the Allison Family is a very sad story. Hudson was born a farmer’s son in 1881. He made his wealth as an insurance agent. “Hud” married Bessie Waldo Daniels in 1907 after meeting on a train. The couple were devout Methodist and had two children, Lorraine and Trevor. Trevor was baptized at the church John Wesley preached at in Lincolnshire, England. In December 1911 the family went to Europe on a pleasure/business trip. They rearranged their plans to return home with friends aboard the Titanic. At the last minute the couple hired, Alice Cleaver, to care for their son Trevor. After the ship collided with the iceberg, Alice took Trevor and boarded a lifeboat. Bess and Hud had no idea what happened to their son and searched everywhere. At one point it seems Alison and Bess had a chance to get in a lifeboat, but not knowing where her husband was Bess took her daughter and went in search of her missing husband. What is known is that Trevor was the only survivor from this family. Hud’s body was the only one in the family recovered. Two-year-old Loraine was the only child in first or second class to perish.


Benjamin Guggenheim inherited his riches. He was traveling on the Titanic with his mistress, a French singer. Also in his party were his valet, chauffeur and a maid for his mistress. He slept right through the collision with the iceberg and had to be awakened and forced to put on a lifebelt. Realizing there was no hope for survival after putting his mistress in a lifeboat, he and his valet dressed in evening wear and was seen heading down the Grand staircase. It is reported he said “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” He also sent a message for his wife. Guggenheim, his valet and his chauffeur all went down with the Titanic.


Edith Louise Rosenbaum Russell was born in Ohio in 1879. She worked as a fashion writer, consultant, importer, buyer and stylist. By 1912 she was running her own service in Paris. She spent Easter reporting on the Paris races and decided to return to the states. After the impact she could see the berg glide by her window. She boarded the Titanic as a first class passenger. She had a musical toy pig, named Maxxie, her mother gave her. The night of the sinking she wrapped the pig in a blanket and the officers believed the bundle was a baby and placed the bundle in a lifeboat. Having refused to enter a boat previously, Edith jumped in after Maxxie. Throughout the long night she would wind his tail and allow him to sing the maxixe {a French dance} to entertain and calm the children. At least for a short time it helped everyone forget the cold, fear of the unknown and cheer up the occupants in the boat during that long, uncertain evening. She died in 1975. Her story is now a children’s book, Pig on the Titanic: A True Story.


John Thayer was Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He is also well known as a first class cricketer. He was married to Marian Longstreth Morris and they had four children. His son Jack III was on board the ship with him. He safely put his wife and her maid into a lifeboat. John Thayer went down with the ship shortly before his 50th birthday and his body was never identified. His son, Jack, was able to swim to an overturned collapsible boat “B” where he was later rescued. He died in 1945. Robert Ballard used information from his 1940 memoir to find the Titanic’s final resting place.

Archibald Gracie IV was a writer, historian and real estate investor. He spent much of his time aboard ship reading in the library and serving as a dining companion for the ship’s unaccompanied women. He spent much time recounting his research and interest in the Civil War and Chickamauga Campaign. As the ship went down, Gracie jumped and was able to make it to the overturned Collapsible “B” boat. He and many others hung on to this boat throughout the night. He immediately started on his book about the sinking when he reached New York. His health was severely affected by the ordeal and he died eight months later on December 4.


Lady Lucy Gordon was a leading fashion designer of the early 20th Century. She held the precursor to the modern day fashion show and was one of the first designers to use a mannequin. She was famous for designing lingerie. She was known as Lucile and travelling with her husband, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon. The couple was traveling under the names Mr. and Mrs. Morgan. They were two of only twelve people in their lifeboat. Accusations were later thrown at them of bribing the crew not to return to pick up people in the water for fear of being swamped. Lucile became a fashion columnists and critic later in life. She was scheduled to be aboard the final voyage of the RMS Lusitania but cancelled due to illness. The couple died four years to the day apart. He in 1931 and she in 1935.

Happy Easter! We know Easter Sunday is the celebration of Christ resurrection. The tomb did not keep Him, but he rose again. This celebration is Christianity’s most celebrated holiday.

As a child, I remember always getting a new dress each year for Easter. There were also eggs to dye and hunt, an Easter basket, and a picture taken with the Easter bunny.

So how did the holiday we know as Easter come about?

We always know Christmas will fall on December 25, but the date of Easter varies. I never really understood how they knew when Easter Sunday would fall. Apparently it is the second Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21.

Easter is the end of Lent, which is the forty days before, used as a time of reflection and penance. This time is representative of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before beginning His ministry. We should be reflective of our own lives and shortcomings during this time. During the week before Easter we remember several important events: Palm Sunday {Jesus arrival into Jerusalem}, Maundy Thursday {the Last Supper}, Good Friday {Jesus crucifixion and death}, and Holy Saturday {the day Jesus was dead}.

After Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, Christian converts had to be careful how they greeted one another and of their celebrations. They were closely watched and many of the apostles died horrible death.

The pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. The festival was altered around the Second Century to make it a Christian celebration. This made it easier for converts as they were slowly won over.

Eastre celebrated the return of spring. The name came from Ēostre, an pagan fertility goddess of spring of the Anglo-Saxons. Eventually over the centuries Eastre was changed to Easter.

The rabbit was Eastre’s sacred animal, due to the animals fertility and ability to rapidly reproduce. Eggs were used as a symbol of fertility and new chicks were a representation of new growth. It would be easy to think that brightly colored eggs are a modern invention, however they date back to these early pagan rituals when brightly colored eggs, chicks and bunnies were an expression of Eastre’s gift of abundance. The German’s brought the symbol of the Easter bunny to America. The first edible bunnies were made of pastry and sugar, not chocolate. In America, Easter was not widely celebrated until after the Civil War.

In the Christian tradition the forty days following Easter mark the time Jesus spent with his disciples until Ascension Day.

We often think of the cross as a symbol of the crucifixion; however it has since become a year round symbol of the Christian faith. The Council of Nicaea decreed the cross as the official symbol of Christianity in 325AD.

So as you celebrate this beautiful Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, you can better understand the way this wonderful celebration came to be the Easter we know today.

The musicians on the RMS Titanic are considered heroes. They played under the worst circumstances and continued until the last possible moments.

All of the band members on board were considered Second Class Passengers. They were employed by Messrs C. W. & F. N. Black of Liverpool and not on the White Star Line payroll. The White Star Line had their own songbook and the musicians were expected to know all of these tunes by memory.

In total there were eight musicians on board. There were two groups that performed at different times and places. A quintet played at teatime, for after dinner parties and for Sunday Services. The trio consisted of a violin, cello and piano that played in the reception room outside the A la Carte Restaurant and the Café Parisian. When they gathered together as the Titanic began to sink, it was probably the first time they’d all played together. Dancing was not encouraged in this era, so the music served as a background to good conversation or a game of cards.

Wallace Hartley was the leader of the Titanic band. He’d been on the Cunard line, most notably Lusitania and Mauretania, which Olympic and Titanic were built to rival. The opportunity to play on Titanic with the riches and most distinguished passengers was too great of a lure for him, as it would be for almost any musician of the day.
As the first lifeboats loaded, these men gathered in the 1st Class Lounge where 1st class passengers were assembling to play. As the seriousness of the situation became apparent the band moved with passengers to the Boat Deck near the Grand Staircase.

Wallace Harley

We don’t know exactly what was played, but we do know the music was cheerful and gay. The selections were mostly ragtime selections and waltzes that gave the impression to the passengers on deck that all was under control; there was no need to panic. Many of the survivors expressed their gratitude to the Titanic band for helping to maintain an air of decorum during the scramble for the lifeboats. Others have criticized the band for playing. Some felt that having the band on deck gave people a false impression that things weren’t that bad and it caused many to take the situation lightly, thus preventing more from entering the life boats. This argument is left to conjecture, but what is known is that the band’s music did help to soothe the passengers and most likely prevented panic as the last of the boats were leaving.

At 2:00 A.M. the last boat, Collapsible D, left the ship. It was now 2:05 A.M. more than 1,500 people were still aboard. The Titanic sank lower and lower at the bow, and the stern began to rise out of the water. There was little time now. The band continued to play. The deck became so steep that bandmaster Hartley released the musicians from duty. Alone, he began the first notes of a simple hymn. One by one the bandsmen, choosing not to leave joined in. It was the last song the band would play and the last song survivors heard before the boat broke into two pieces. Minutes later the entire band was washed away by a sudden wave as the Titanic made its final plunge.

Titanic Musicians Memorial

We know from a report to the Trade Union of Musicians of Britain that none of these men were wearing life jackets. One can only imagine how difficult it was to continue to play as the ship began to tilt and slowly moved upright. These men knew that they were in the last minutes to their lives. The Trade Union also reported that the musicians were ordered to play in order to avoid panic. Almost all of the survivor reports talk about how calm everyone was, and this due to the band playing.

On May 18, 1912, the body of bandmaster Wallace Hartley was laid to rest in what some called “pageantry beyond belief.” 30,000 mourners packed the streets of Colne, Hartley’s birthplace in the hills of Lancashire, England. Seven bands played as his rosewood casket was carried throughout the streets. Musicians, Aldermen, police, clergy, miners and the curious were all there to pay their respects to this Titanic hero. The world came to thank Hartley for his courage and for the courage of the other band members for their willingness to stay on deck and play, even while the Titanic was taking her last dive. Their courage and bravery was not in vain. The world that day said thank you.

One second class passenger said: “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.”

A newspaper at the time reported “the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea.” Neither White Star Line nor the C.W. & F.N. Black agency had any insurance on the musicians. Each company blamed the other. This sad occurrence caused much heartache and hardship for the families of these musicians.

Wallace Hartley’s body was only one of three of the musicians found and identified. His instrument was still strapped to his body. When a colleague, Lewis Cross, asked Harley about a shipwreck while serving on the Celtic. Hartley smiled and said, “Well, I don’t suppose it will ever happen, but you know music is a bigger weapon than a gun in a big emergency, and I think that a band could do more to calm passengers than all the officers.” Elwane Moody reported that when asked about a sinking, Hartley replied, “I don’t think I could do better than play “O God, Our Help In Ages Past” or “Nearer My God, To Thee.”

As we all know, it’s believed the last song the band played before the Titanic went under was “Nearer My God, To Thee.

Next week check out Singingthesonginmyheart for more on the musicians and songs of the Titanic.

Today is an exciting day! The 1940 census is finally available!

So why does it take so long? The census is taken in the United States once every ten year. However, it is not available to the public until 72 years after the census has been enumerated. The 1940 census was taken in April and most areas were finished by May. So if a person was born after May, you probably will not find them on this census. If an individual died after May, you most likely will find them on this census.

The 1940 Woman

Federal census takers went out for the first time in 1790. Since then the census has been taken every ten years.

Why are census records so important? For genealogist and people searching their family history, it is a great resource. There are so many things you can learn about your family. The early census records give numbers. From 1790-1840 only the head of the household is listed. From there you will find out the number of boys, girls, women and slaves by age groups.

From 1850 onward every person in the household was listed, along with their ages.

Each census year gives different information. Most census records since 1850 list occupation, color, sex, real estate value, and where the individual, their mother and father were born. The 1900 census list the month of birth, if a man was a Civil War veteran and number of children a woman has had.

The 1850-1880 census records include specialty censuses such as: mortality, manufacturing and agricultural.

What happened to the 1890 census? It was destroyed in a fire, leaving a twenty year gap. City directories is one good way to try and fill in some of those missing pieces.

When I began my genealogical pursuit, it was still in the old days where I had to use a soundex and manually turn the microfilm machine. Today the census records are available online on sites such as Ancestry.com, Footnote, FamilySearch.org and Heritage Quest. Before you dismiss the Census, I’ve been able to learn a lot about my great-grandparents and backward through these records. If nothing else you get a small glimpse into their lives every 10 years.

The 1940 census is also available on the National Archives website. The National Archives, along with Ancestry.com, Fold3 {formerly Footnote}, FamilySearch.org and Heritage Quest will make the 1940 census available for free for the next eighteen months. All three sites have stated they will be working together to index the census records as quickly as possible. If you don’t want to wait and know where your family lived, you can go through each page until you find them. Otherwise, keep checking their websites for updates on the indexing process. The majority of Americans should be able to find their parents and/or grandparents in these records.

According to the Census Bureau Questions on the 1940 census include: Location of Household, Name, Age, Owned or Rent, Live on Farm, Residence on April 1, 1935, occupation and employment information, Income in 1939, Birth place of mother and father, mother tongue, Veteran, receiving Social Security, age at first marriage, number of marriages and children.

If you’re researching abroad: The United Kingdom began taking the census in 1801 and takes it every 10 years. 1941 was skipped due to WWII. There records are released 100 years after they were taken.

First National Census taken in Canada in 1871 and taken every 10 years. There census records are released 92 years after collection.

Australia takes their census every 5 years, and began regularly in 1961 {they were taken sporadically before then}. Most information prior to 2001 was destroyed. The National Archives will not release their records for 99 years.

If you’re anxious for the US 1950 census, you’ve got a ten year wait. It will be released to the public in April 2022.

Sports were just as important a hundred years ago, as they are today. The difference is you couldn’t turn on the TV or Internet to watch the game or find a score. If you wanted to know how a team did you either went to the game or waited for the newspaper to report the scores. Remember this was even before radio was available to listen to a game.

It was easier in larger cities that hosted a team, but if you lived in a rural area the only games you may ever see would be the local scrimmages the young people might put together.

1912 Red Sox Team

So let’s look at some newsworthy sports news from 1912:

–the 1st world record in men’s 100 metres recognized by International Association of Athletics Federation {IAAF} Donald Lippincott {USA} ran 10.6 at Stockholm during the Summer Olympics
–the 1st world record of men’s 1500 meters ran by Abel Kiviat in Cambridge, MA in a time of 3:55.8
–Quebec Bulldogs win the National Hockey Association and the Stanley Cup
–Odile Defraye of Belgium wins the 10th Tour de France
–Feb 22–Johnny Kilbane wins World Featherweight Championship; a record he holds until 1923
— April 20– Boston Red Sox opens Fenway Park w/ a win over New York Yankees
–April 20–Detroit Tigers open Navin Park after a remodel {later Tiger Stadium} with a win over Cleveland Indians.
–May 30–2nd running of Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; won by Joe Dawon and Don Herr driving a National Car
–October 5–David Bruce-Brown, American Grand Prize winner, killed during practice for the 4th race
–October 8-16– Boston Red Sox defeat New York Giants in 1912 World Series 4-3 games with one tie
–November 28–Willie Ritchie wins World Lightweight Championship; title he holds until 1914

1912 Football Team

The Summer Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden from May 5-July 27 {only full Olympics held in Sweden} with 102 events in 14 sports with 2,407 competitors.

–Sweden won the most medals with 65 total
–USA won most Gold medals with 25 total
–1st use of electronic timing and public address system
–women’s events in swimming and diving introduced {48 women competed in the Olympics}
–first art competition held; which lasted from 1912-1948
–Francisco Lazaro of Portugal, became the first athlete in modern Olympics to die during competition {died while running the marathon}
–Sweden’s Oscar Swahn, 64, oldest Olympic gold medalist for deer-shooting event {at that time}
–George S. Patton {future WWII General} participated in the first modern pentathlon competition
–a Japanese marathon runner went missing {he passed out from heat, was cared for by a farming family and returned to Japan without notifying officials. He finished the race 50 years later, giving him the “unofficial” longest running time}

If you lived in 1912, which of these would be of the most interest to you?

Women's Freestyle Swimming Team 1912 Olympics

Today we have a variety of jobs and careers, just like they did a hundred years ago. It is difficult to detail all of the jobs back then. I will discuss a few of the more prevalent ones that seem to have disappeared or diminished greatly with the passage of time.

There were still many professionals—such as lawyers and doctors—but not to the extent we have today. Fewer people went on to obtain a college degree.

Inside a Textile Mill

Textile Mills—these were very common in the south. During the industrial revolution in the late 19th Century textiles exploded. This was the ability to make clothes with a machine and not just by hand. Children would leave school at a young age {3rd, 4th, 5th grade} to work in the weaving room. It was also common to find many women working in the mills. My grandparents and great-grandparents did this work and I’ve heard many stories about their experiences through the years.

A normal day farming

Farming—was still very prevalent in the early 20th Century. Large families still existed and each child had their own chores each day. This was in the days before the local supermarket, when you had to rely on your land to supply most of your needs. This would include chickens for eggs and meat, cows for milk, and vegetables and grain planted and harvested throughout the year.

A Mine

Mining—this exploded in the late 19th Century and many prospectors moved out west for the California Gold Rush. Mining wasn’t just for gold, but for other items such as coal, silver, copper, and lead. It also just wasn’t in California, but took place through many areas of the United States. Occasionally we still hear about mine cave ins and have a sense of the danger these men faced on a daily basis. In 1912 they did not have all of the machinery used today.

Laying Railroad Track

Railroad—the first railroad was opened in America in 1830. It exploded from 1850-1890. Even in 1912, they were still laying tracks and the railroad was still a major source of transportation of both passengers and hauling materials. As the rail system increased more track had to be laid and engineers were needed. I had a great-uncle and great-grandfather that made their living working for the railroad.

Vaudeville—this was the earliest start of what we know of as the stage. Vaudeville consisted of animals, dancers, singers, comedians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, athletes and more. These groups traveled from town to town performing their shows. Vaudeville remained very popular until the 1930s. By the late 1890s, large houses had been established for the acts. It was said that if an act could succeed in Peoria, Illinois, then it could succeed anywhere. You’d hit the big time when you played at New York City’s Palace Theatre {The Palace}.

These are just a few of the occupations that have diminished with the passage of time. I’m sure there are many more, but at least this will give you an idea of how times have changed. What kind of work would you be doing 100 years ago?

A Vaudeville Advertisement

Today we are required to register all life events we experience with a government agency. The birth of a baby means a birth certificate, a loved one’s death requires a death certificate {insurance agencies and social security demand one before they will pay out}, if you want to get married then you have to obtain a marriage license, and a divorce means going before a judge to obtain a divorce decree.

Certificate of Birth
Time has changed considerably in the last century. A hundred years ago many of these documents either didn’t exist or in the infancy stages of existence.

So let’s take a closer look at these documents:
A birth certificate registers the birth of a child. A hundred years ago women seldom went to the hospital. Usually they would give birth at home with a midwife or town doctor. {These were the days when the doctor would come to you.} Before birth certificates a birth was recorded in the family bible. In doing genealogy research you may also find a record of the infant’s baptism in church records or if they were born in a census year you can sometime narrow it down to the month of the birth.

Today we have a social security number assigned to us shortly after birth. In 1912 they did not exist. The first social security numbers were assigned in November 1936.

A death certificate registers the death of an individual. People that were ill usually stayed home, although they may have gone to the hospital, if one was in the area. Nursing facilities did not exist in the abundance they do today. A death was recorded in the family Bible, church cemetery records, or in the mortality census for the years 1850, 1860 and 1870.

So when did birth and death certificates originate? It varies per state, although most states had them by the 1920s. You can find out for your state by searching vital records. However, here are the dates for five states to show you how broad the range is: North Carolina-1909; Virginia-1913; Tennessee—1914; South Carolina-1915; and Georgia-1919.

A Marriage Record in An Old Bible

A century ago to get married you did not have to obtain a marriage license. All you needed was a minister to marry you. Some states did have marriage bonds during the Nineteenth Century, which was a monetary guarantee that there was no impediment to the marriage. Again the dates of these records vary. North Carolina began in 1868 on a county level, but did not begin on a statewide level until the Twentieth Century. Let’s look at when some other states began: South Carolina-1911; Virginia-1936; Tennessee-1945; and Georgia-1952.

Although she had been married for fourteen years and had three children, my great-grandmother was unhappy in her marriage. I searched everywhere for divorce records and discovered that they did not exist in the early Twentieth century. My great-grandmother left her husband and returned to her family. When I obtained a copy of the marriage license to my great-grandfather, I was surprised to realize she listed herself as a widow {her first husband did not die for another 20 years and lived nearby}. This was often the way women handled a “divorce” and “remarriage” a century ago. Divorce was taboo then compared to today. Many women stayed in unhappy or abusive marriages because they had nowhere to go and no money to leave. Divorce was one in one thousand in 1912. I’ve not been able to find exact dates when a divorce decree was issued, but I have seen many references to it being in the 1950s, just to give you an idea.

In what ways would the lack of vital records affect your life today?

Vital Record Books

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