On April 14, 1912, about 11:40 pm the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg and by 2:20 am of the early Monday morning, April 15th, the great luxury ship on its maiden voyage did sink into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic. There were 1,576 people from all walks of life who died that night. Only 710 survivors made it alive to New York City three days later on the Carpathia. The old standard of ‘women and children first’ on the two few lifeboats did not always apply since there were 54 children and 106 women on the ship who did die.
This historical event has fascinated people for decades. With the 100th anniversary there are countless newspaper articles, books, television shows and movies retelling the story from all different angles. Over the years numerous museums have been built in memorial to those lost on the ship along with providing an education to the public on the events and people.
Of the 710 who did survive, many were celebrities of their times, but others were ordinary people traveling in the third-class section for a new life in America. If you have not checked the list of passengers and crew on the Titanic, this might be a good time to investigate if you had an ancestor on the ship and whether they survived.
I‘m always surprised how many travelers continued on these large ships in the months following the Titanic’s sinking. My own great grandmother traveled with her son and young granddaughter on the SS Franconia from England to Boston on October 23, 1912, only six months after the tragedy. It just shows the determination people had to live in America. This could be a point to see if your ancestors traveled in the months following April 14-15th disaster.
One person, Violet Jessop, who was not afraid, was one of the first-class stewardesses on the Titanic. She not only survived this tragedy, but two others, all while working the White Star ships over a period of about five years. Her life story is told in the April 2012 issue of the History Magazine, published by Moorshead Publishers. Their special Titanic issue also includes a feature article on the work of newspaper reporters of 1912 to get the interviews of surviving passengers.
Take advantage of this anniversary month while there is plenty of programs and material to learn more about the Titanic along with its crew and passengers.