Mrs Mara Osman

Mara Osman 1 was born in Vagovina, Croatia (Austrian Empire), on 17 March 1881.  Her parents were Mijo and Maria Osman of that village.

She bought her third class ticket from the agent Viktor Klaus-Wildi, Buchs for 299 Swiss francs (ticket number 349244 which cost £8, 13s, 8d) and boarded the Titanic in Southampton.

Mara survived the sinking and was rescued by the Carpathia, but in which boat is uncertain

After arriving in New York, she supposedly went to her 'sister' Mrs Rudolph Pavlović in Steelton, Pennsylvania.2

It is possible that Maria was acquainted with fellow third class passenger Stefo Pavlovic, also from Vagovina and also travelling to the Harrisburg/ Steelton area of Pennsylvania.  Perhaps Mrs Pavlovic was a relation by marriage to him?

Following her recuperation, it was reported that she lost much of her hair as a result of shock.

There is a lot of very conflicting and confusing information about Mara Osman.

Reports of the time suggest she had a husband who was in prison for murder. 3

Mrs. Mary Osman, a Titanic wreck survivor, arrived here [Steubenville,Ohio] and will go to Columbus to see her husband, Mele Osman, who is doing time in the penitentiary for murder. Mrs. Osman has not seen her husband since he left the old country to come to America.

Newspaper aricles from 1909 suggest that as well as killing a lodger Mele (or Meler Osman... [note: her surname]) had also shot and injured his 'wife'. But the 1912 article suggests Maria was coming to America to see her husband whom she had not seen since he left Croatia. Therefore, either the injured female victim was not Maria or, possibly, that the newspapers have confused two different couples and two, equally dramatic, stories!

According to the list of survivors on the Carpathia, Maria was an unmarried domestic, aged 30, born in Poland, her mother's name was Maria Osman and her place of origin was Vargovina, Poland.  The list of Austrian survivors has her as verheirated (married).

 The US Senate list and evidence relating to the supposed detained husband suggests she was bound instead for Steubenville, Ohio.  

The White Star Line listed her as 'Miss Maria Osman,' but did not give a destination in the USA.  The Red Cross files simply described her as a domestic, aged, 30, of Polish extraction.


It has been suggested that Mara married Miška Banski (b. 24 September 1875) in Croatia around 1898 and the couple had three sons; Antun/Anton in 1900, Ivan, 18 May 1902, and Franjo/Frank 14 November 1904.

Her husband Miška left Croatia around 1905 to settle in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the intention of saving enough money to eventually bring his family across and settle with him. When that time came only his wife Mara would make the trip with the boys to follow later.

Mara "Mary/Maria" and her husband Miška "Mike" eventually settled in Kenosha, Wisconsin, appearing on the 1920 census as Bouski.  By then they had been joined by their two younger sons Ivan "John" and Franjo "Frank". Maria had sent for all three of her sons shortly after arriving in America but her eldest son Antun elected to remain in Croatia. He was reportedly killed during the First World War.

Maria and Miska possibly later divorced, as it has been suggested that she later married a Croatian-American (possibly a Doctor) called Isaac Kolic/Kolich, but no marriage record has been found, nor has her husband been traced. 

Maria Osman/Banski/Kolich died on 13 January 1930 in Kenosha due to stomach cancer, aged 48 and was later buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee. Her simple headstone reads:

1882 ✝… 1930

Her son John later married and had two children, remaining in Kenosha where he died on 29 September 1995. Her son Frank died in Woodland, California on 27 October 1980. Her first husband Miška died in Kenosha on 12 April 1935.


Articles and Stories

Marysville Journal-Tribune (1912) 
New Castle Herald (1910) 
Pittsburgh Daily Post (1909) 
Hamilton County Ledger (1909) 


Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Homer Thiel, USA


  1. name alternately given assMaria, Marya, Marja.
  2. Her 'sister' was Justina Pavlovich (nee Golubic), b. 8 October 1893 in the former Yugoslavia, whose parents were Joseph and Katherine Golubic, both born about 1870, which does not seem to fit with Mrs. Osman's background, whose mother was stated to have been Maria Osman, and whose parents could not possibly have been 10 years old at the time of her birth.  The Pavlovic family later moved to Ohio and Justina (Mrs. Rudolph) Pavlovic died there in 1990.  
  3. The newspaper report gives his name as Meler Osman which was her maiden name.  It is unclear if this person and Miška Banski are one and the same.  Meli/Mele/Meler Osman, was born ca. 1876 in Austria, and in 1910 was an inmate at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. He had come to the USA in 1903 and was listed as a married foundry labourer.  In spite of the 1912 report, it is unclear that the man in prison was Maria's husband or that the woman he shot was his wife.

References and Sources

Günter Bäbler (1998) Reise auf der Titanic. Chronos, Zürich
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Marriages, Births, Deaths and Injuries. White Star Line 1912, Board of Trade 1912 (PRO London, BT 100/260).
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB-85-T715-Vol. 4183.

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Mara Osman Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #672, updated 14th February 2018 18:00:59 PM)

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