Mr David Vartanian was born on 15 April 1890. He was an ethnic-Armenian and lived in Oror, Kiği, near Erzurum in eastern Turkey. He was the son of Azadia Vartanian and Sierma Apigian.
David worked as a labourer and was married in 1911 to Mary Baidzar (b. 15 April 1895 in Dzermag, Kiği). Life for David as a Christian and an Armenian was a difficult one and he and his like were relegated to second class citizenship and harsh persecution under Turkey's Muslim Ottoman regime. The political and religious unrest culminating at the time prompted David and several of his compatriots; Neshan Krekorian, Arsen Siraganian, Haroutioun Zakarian and Mampré Zakarian, to flee the country and emigrate to Canada. His wife Mary was left behind in Kiği.
Vartanian boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a third class passenger (ticket number 2658 which cost £7, 4s, 6d). He was rescued, he claimed in Collapsible A, but it is more likely that he escaped in a standard lifeboat, possibly boat 13 but more likely 15. 15 April 1912 was his 22nd birthday.
In Canada he went with Krekorian to Mr Paul Martin, 108 Princess Street, Hamilton, Ontario. He lived there for several years before eventually settling in the USA and was of the understanding that his wife had fallen victim to the Armenian Genocide when Kiği was decimated but, however, continued to write home in the hope of tracing her. Following years of perseverance he managed to ascertain that his wife was still alive and he sent money for her to meet him. The couple were reunited after an eleven year hiatus which took place at Niagara Falls.
David and his wife settled in Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania and he was employed by the WPA. The couple went on to have three children: Jack "Jackie" (1924-1986), Rose (1926-2012, later Mrs George Vartanian) and Alice (b. 1931, later Mrs Dan Wojdylack). The family were still residing in Meadville at the time of the 1940 census but they later relocated and settled in Detroit, Michigan.
David Vartanian died in Detroit on 3 August 1966 aged 76 and is buried in Woodmere Cemetery in that city.
References and Sources
Michigan Department Of Health Certificate Of Death
Detroit News, 4 August 1966, Death Notice
Detroit Press, 4 August 1966, Obituary
Alan Hustak (1999) Titanic: The Canadian Story. Véhicule Press. ISBN 1 55065 113 7
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB-85-T715-Vol 4183
Marriages, Births, Deaths and Injuries, White Star 1912 and Board of Trade 1912, PRO London - BT 100/260
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Gavin Bell, UK
Phillip Gowan, USA
Alan Hustak, Canada
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Articles and Stories
The Times (1912)